Italy’s Leading Equity Crowdfunding Platform

How Katipult helped We Are Starting Srl become a leader in  Italy’s investment crowdfunding space

Thanks to Katipult, we are now one of the main equity crowdfunding platforms in Italy. Katipult’s state-of-the-art software allowed us to grow significantly in terms of deal flow and investors. Our users often praise our platform, most of that merit goes to Katipult. We are very proud to have them as our closest partner.
Carlo Allevi
Co-founder

Name: We Are Starting

Industry: Equity Crowdfunding

Country: Italy

Size: 2-10 employees

Challenge: Developing a sophisticated investment platform and staying compliant within the regulatory framework in Italy

Result: Leading, state-of-the-art crowdfunding platform in Italy

We spoke with Carlo Allevi, on of the co-founders of We Are Starting, a leading equity crowdfunding platform in Italy.

Katipult: What was your biggest challenge you were trying to solve?

We wanted to keep a flexible cost structure in order to adapt to the Italian regulatory framework, which was very uncertain at the time. Nevertheless, we wanted to have the opportunity to be a state -of -the -art system with limited investment. Katipult was the best option for us.

 

Katipult: Why did you choose Katipult?

In 2014-2015, we got in touch with many suppliers globally. We found that Katipult was the best option in terms of value for money and we loved their roadmap to implement new features in the following years. In addition, their focus on project management looked interesting to meet our requests.

 

Katipult: What was the biggest benefit you’ve seen from using Katipult’s investment management & crowdfunding software?

We are now one of the main equity crowdfunding platforms in Italy and we feel we have the potential to grow significantly. We have launched 11 fundraising campaigns for innovative startups and SMEs in our first two years of operations. The recent extension of equity crowdfunding to all SMEs in Italy will allow us to achieve exponential growth in terms of campaigns and investors.

 

Katipult: What did you like the most about Katipult?

We are always excited to be in line with the best international standards and to propose new features to our users.

 

Katipult: What is the most useful feature or application of Katipult software?

In general, the opportunity to exploit something that has been developed for another portal in another part of the world is very precious. For example, we would be ready to turn on debt-based offerings or turn on a different payment method in just hours.

 

Katipult: What is the feature you are looking forward to in the future  within the Katipult software?

We are enthusiastic about Katipult’s plan on the adoption of blockchain to track the property of shares in real time. This will open long term opportunities to extend the usefulness of the platform. Just think about secondary market, management of voting rights and of marketing actions directed to shareholders. It will be a real breakthrough.

 

The story of We Are Starting

Italy is a country where you can find amazing people with excellent entrepreneurial projects. Nevertheless, the financial sector is facing significant difficulties and it is not willing (maybe not even able) to fund innovative companies. Professional investment structures are almost absent.

On the other side, the average wealth of Italian people is very high, although concentrated in the hands of the eldest segments of the population.

Moreover, the recent regulatory updates introduce a favourable environment for innovative companies and investors.

WeAreStarting wants to bring Italian innovative companies to the attention of professional and non-professional investors, who could commit a small part of their savings to the most innovative part of the Italian economy. Hopefully, a new Leonardo Da Vinci will upload his company on the portal and many people will support it.

Their equity crowdfunding portal was launched in October 2015 and led to a significant increase in the number of registered users even without a single campaign online.

The success of the campaign for Media Vox Pop marked an important milestone for the company: it showed We Are Starting is triggering the right mechanisms and users feel comfortable and confident.

 

What’s different about We Are Starting platform than others in the space?

We Are Starting platform is the only Italian equity crowdfunding platform developed with the support of an internationally recognised technology provider (Katipult) and we believe that the platform is really user-friendly.

They developed a multi-stage procedure to select high-potential companies, with the involvement of professional investors before the launch online. So far, the companies they selected are doing really well and they have already attracted the interest of international groups.

Finally, We Are Starting supports their campaigns through communication and marketing strategies that obtained significant coverage nationally.

 

The founders

Carlo Allevi  is the one who had the idea and the determination to start WeAreStarting. He holds a M.Eng. in the field of energy engineering and his initial working experience was in a multinational technical advisory firm in the renewable energy sector. Despite his young age (29), he works with a lot of passion and he sees WeAreStarting as his mission.

The other founder is Simonetta Mangili, who holds a M.Sc. in Business. She has been partner at a large accountancy and advisory firm for more than 30 years assisting SMEs in Northern Italy. She recently gained relevant skills related to the regulatory and accountancy aspects associated with innovative start-ups and SMEs in Italy.

 

Katipult: How did you come up with the idea to start an online investment platform? Was there an "ah-ha" moment?

Carlo: I met a company that was developing an incredible product, one of those which can really improve the health of people. They had many good results from their tests, but they were about to give up: they were struggling to meet investors and some of them just turned out to be a waste of time. At the same time, they had many people willing to support them with a small amount of money, especially if they were offered some shares of the company in return.

It became clear to me that there are many opportunities to match the crowd of potential investors with brilliant ideas, in a world where new technologies and improved business models can provide the highest yields.

 

Katipult: How do you see the future of equity crowdfunding industry?

Carlo: We believe we will see a sharp increase in the frequency and size of deals, with new sectors being engaged, such as energy and real estate.

In addition, we really hope that equity crowdfunding will become a common tool for Italian users and we want to facilitate their active engagement in our community.