In a strategic move aimed at fostering innovation in financial services and bolstering Italy’s startup ecosystem, Italy’s largest investment bank, Mediobanca Group, has entered into a partnership with London-based global company builder and early-stage investor, Founders Factory.

The collaboration will see the establishment of a new fintech venture studio and accelerator, backed by an overall €12m investment from Mediobanca.

The joint venture’s primary goal is to support early-stage fintech startups on an international scale while also providing essential backing to Italy’s thriving startup community. Over the next five years, the Mediobanca/Founders Factory partnership plans to build and invest in a total of 35 fintech businesses.

The venture studio will focus on creating, financing, and launching new fintech ventures that harness cutting-edge technologies, including blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), to drive innovation in the financial services market. The initiative will align closely with Mediobanca’s existing strategy and capabilities.

Moreover, the joint venture will operate an accelerator programme designed to invest in and support more established early-stage fintech ventures both within Italy and abroad.

Selected entrepreneurs participating in the programme will gain access to crucial startup capital, Founders Factory’s expansive global network, top-notch operational support, and extensive fintech expertise. They will also tap into Mediobanca’s commercial reach and deep knowledge across various financial practices, spanning wealth management to consumer banking.

The partnership with Founders Factory forms an integral part of Mediobanca’s ambitious 2023-26 “ONE BRAND – ONE CULTURE” Strategic Plan, which centers around significantly strengthening the Group’s technology ecosystem.

Mediobanca CEO Alberto Nagel said: “In recent years we embraced the opportunities that technology has created in the financial sector.

“We have done so in Wealth Management with the launch of CheBanca!, in Consumer Banking with investments in Buy Now Pay Later as well as in Corporate and Investment Banking with the recent partnership signed with Arma Partners and we want to continue to serve the talent of our people and the user experience of our customers with the most advanced tech solutions.

“With this joint venture we will seize new opportunities, further strengthening the Group’s technology ecosystem, also through the adoption of innovative models that will allow us to respond effectively to market expectations.”

Key priorities of the digital agenda include enhancing digital channels for a more effective customer experience, adopting artificial intelligence solutions to support the sales force, and embarking on a digitalisation and automation path to optimise costs.

Founders Factory, a global fintech authority, has already forged a long-term relationship with UK financial services operator Aviva and successfully built and invested in nearly 50 financial technology ventures, including Acre, Qumata, and ClearGlass.

The collaboration with Mediobanca further solidifies the organisation’s commitment to the fintech sector and establishes it as a major player in Italy’s thriving startup landscape, which continues to show impressive growth.

Founders Factory CEO Henry Lane Fox said: “Mediobanca is one of Italy’s leading financial institutions with reach extending throughout Europe. It makes them the ideal partner for Founders Factory as they recognise the importance of technology’s role in the future of financial services and the systemic change it can bring.

“Combining our venture building capabilities and fintech experience with Mediobanca’s heritage, financial prowess and global ambition creates a powerful platform to back fintech founders.”

The partnership is subject to the necessary regulatory approvals before it can be finalised.