Curiosity is the foundation of innovation. Everything new that has been emerged in our world may it be from necessity or just accidental inventions; all have been derived from a curious mind.
In this exclusive interview, we are showcasing one such curious mind, Veronica Crisafulli – Co–founder of MO Tecnologías and KEO World. She is currently leading a FinTech company that is on its way to revolutionizing the credit space by empowering credit inclusion for businesses and customers. How is she doing that? Let us ask Veronica:
Describe your background and what did you do before you started, or came into this business?
‘An earthquake’, ‘the lady with a luggage’ or ‘the dreaming girl’ are some of the ways my family used to call me when I was younger. My willingness to know the world and to make it a better place never changed during the years. I have done my studies in Italy, at the University Bocconi of Milan, where I was born. During this period, I had the chance to do an exchange program for 3 months in Cuba at Universidad de la Habana, and a 6 months exchange in Madrid at Carlos III. Both opportunities opened my eyes and made me realize I wanted to discover the world, traveling as much as possible, to then find the way to start my own business somewhere. Then, I finalized my studies in Spain at ESADE and Denmark at CBS studying international management.
Describe your company and its cutting-edge services which address all the needs of your customers.
I co-founded MO: a fintech that revolutionizes the credit space empowering credit inclusion since 2016. MO is targeting the 3Bln users worldwide without access to traditional credit. Mo has a SaaS business model licensing the technology to partners of all verticals from the financial industry to fintech, as well as non-financial industries such as CPGs, GIGs, BPOs, and service companies. Mo generates revenues through a simple and scalable commercial model mainly based on a recurring fee per user or product scheme.
It also has a proprietary, complementary, alternative, and innovative credit scoring technology which uses non-traditional variables along with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models to evaluate the creditworthiness of a client. Additionally, MO has been focusing on creating a 360o credit solution for our partners: from the digital onboarding through a white label open-data platform to a credit management platform.
I co-founded KEO World: an innovative lending Fintech focusing on promoting financial inclusion by giving its clients, both consumers and small businesses, the possibility to access credit on fair terms and with an all-digital process, independently from their credit history (or lack of it).
What strategies do you undertake to make your employees resourceful?
I always try to find a good balance between work and fun moments. I know that if I do this well, I can maintain high motivation, high productivity, and efficiency. What I do is pretty simple but it’s a successful recipe. First of all, I believe each one of them is the best person for the job, so I help them to take responsibility without leaving them alone in the journey. Secondly, I share my experience and knowledge every time I can, or if they ask for it.
Thirdly, I think it is important to give recognition when a job is well done. And finally, I am always myself with my employees, I think being authentic is fundamental to be trusted. I believe in the magic of teamwork, so I push for it every day keeping alive a company culture of positivity and reliability.
What are some of the vital attributes, in your opinion, that every businesswoman should possess?
I love what I do, I am confident, and I am a risk-taker and I believe these are important traits for a businesswoman to have these days.
I have the courage and I am able to make decisions rapidly understanding the business and related risks.
Besides that, I have always looked for the human side, because it is a big and valued differentiator.
Being positive and enthusiastic it is also something that makes a big difference. I focus my attention on the positive ways of looking at a fact or problem and on how to solve it. That helps me cope with any type of situation on top of the fact that it makes the working environment more pleasant.
Last but not least, a businesswoman should never feel less than somebody else.
What is your greatest achievement in life?
My greatest life achievement is to still feel passionate, dedicated, and in love with my family and friends as when I was a teenager. I am still that positive, with the same willingness to do something for the good and to be an inspiration for all the people around me.
I am also very happy to have achieved and co-created two companies because it was a long-term goal. Being an entrepreneur is challenging but at the same time very rewarding. Today, I feel grateful for all the experiences and all the people I have met in my journey.
Where do you see your industry in five years?
The Fintech industry will keep growing fast over the next 5 years. First of all, a collaborative environment between financial institutions and fintech firms will be totally normal. Banks are finally changing their mindset to perceive fintech as competition, understanding the need to work with technology startups to succeed. Secondly, disruption will come from the following main fintech area: digital lending, payments, blockchain, insurance, and digital wealth management.
Additionally, disruption will definitely come from an increasing variety of business models across geographies, segments, and technologies. Thirdly, artificial intelligence, machine learning models, robotics, and big data will become the day-to-day solutions. As a focal point, we will start seeing more consolidation as larger players get involved in mergers and acquisitions to satisfy their expansion goals and this will lead to better fintech valuations.
What one thing, more than anything else, do you want to accomplish in your business before you get out?
The one thing I would like to accomplish is my vision to outlast me. I really hope to leave a mark, leaving behind a lasting innovation that improves people’s lives in a tangible way every day, giving access to credit in an easy and fairway.
In order to do that, I want my team to be empowered and able to move forward with the right principles whenever I’m out of the game. It’s a sort of entrepreneurial legacy concept that motivates me every day and drives the majority of my decisions more than the only financial and sustainable success.
What advice would you like to give to the emerging entrepreneurs?
My advice for emerging entrepreneurs are as following:
- Do not be afraid if your life feels like a roller coaster ride. I ensure you that you will enjoy the entire journey. Even if you will be moving up and down, you will learn so much.
- Have a concrete idea and take action. Do not start just to be a wantrepreneur.
- Make a plan (project plan and business projections) and focus on the plan but be flexible enough to change it at any moment and more than 1 or 2 times.
- Share your idea with a mentor or people in the ecosystem to avoid as many mistakes as possible.
- Start it with the best team. 3 people could be enough, but you need to be very aligned with the company’s norms and values.
How do you sustain your entrepreneurial spirit in this changing technological era?
We live in a dynamic world where the changes are constant and not the exception. For me, the key to maintain the entrepreneurial spirit alive has been to dedicate time to read about what is happening in the ecosystem of different countries and different sectors.
I always look around and think about consequences and future outlooks, supported by an internal dedicated team for innovation. I constantly organize brainstorming sessions, as well as challenges for new ideas. We definitely work to anticipate better and actively be a part of the change.