Why This Private Equity Fund is Betting Big on Italian Fintech
By Alexis Christoforous
Since its launch in 2018, the Italian private equity firm FSI has invested over $600 million in the fintech space, and founder and CEO Maurizio Tamagnini tells The Voice of Business that more investments are to come.
“We like it simply because banks need to become much more effective in serving their clients and technology will revolutionize their business,” he said. “So we see for the next 10 to 15 years, a wonderful opportunity in these types of investments.”
Fintech refers to the integration of technology, such as blockchain, cloud computing, and big data, into offerings by financial services companies to deliver a better experience to their customers.
FSI recently bought a 60% stake in the digital payments arm of Iccrea Banca, creating a new company called BCC Pay, the third largest e-payment provider in Italy. It’s just the latest in a spate of acquisitions FSI has made in Italy’s payment sector.
The third largest growth fund in Europe recently reinvested in Italian banking software provider Cedacri, alongside financial data and technology firm ION Group. It also acquired a stake in Italian IT consulting firm Lynx.
Tamagnini considers FSI a medium to long term investor in BCC Pay, but is not planning to create a financial services hub with Lynx or Cedacri. He did, however, leave open the possibility of a public listing in the future.
Since BCC Pay is debt-free, Tamagnini said it is well-positioned to acquire companies in the banking sector to grow and diversify its customer base.
As Chairman of the Supervisory Board of STMicroelectronics, the largest semiconductor chip maker in terms of revenue in Europe, Tamagnini said, “I think that Italy is producing really very interesting niche companies in technology.” He pointed to the recent successful IPO of Italy-based Technoprobe, which went public on the Milan stock exchange with a market capitalization of nearly $4 billion dollars.
In addition to investing heavily in technology and fintech in particular, FSI is committed to supporting socially and environmentally responsible companies. It also has stakes in several high profile family-run Italian based companies including the luxury fashion brand Missoni and the cosmetic packaging company Lumson.