Many new ideas are born out of need and a grain of folly. At Oval Money, the story is not at all different.
Claudio and Benedetta met at the Italian Parliament in 2014, when they were both heading sharing economy companies in Italy. Claudio was founder of Starteed a B2B SaaS solution for equity and donation based crowdfunding and Benedetta headed the Uber efforts in Italy. If you are invited to the Italian Parliament, you need to be sure to wear a suit jacket and as you can see from the photos below I think we startuppers did a good job! :)
The story of Oval Money is one of coincidences but also one of food… It seems to be a recurring theme in many of our best moments together. In fact, Claudio and Edoardo would invite friends every year in November to Alba, to experience the incredible truffle season with delicious local food and wine. At one of these events Benedetta met also Edoardo, and from then on they all stayed in touch.
Yes because Benedetta, once an Investment Banker in Canary Wharf, London and then San Francisco, had always been keen to put together her understanding of finance and passion for new technologies and thus started to learn more about the market. When she left Uber after three years of rollercoaster experience with the fastest growing company of our time, she set to search her next role, and fintech companies were ones she was eyeing especially. She bumped into Claudio and Edoardo at a conference in Milan, Italy in december of 2015 and shared her plans.
Claudio, promptly took out his laptop with an excel file. He pitched Benedetta an early version of Oval Money, the idea was to get digital users to use an app to save small amounts of money every day so that they could have a constant stream of capital to invest into alternative financial solutions like crowdfunding and roboadvisors. He told her that if she really wanted to change things, this was where she should focus her time and energy.
Benedetta had been pitched over the past few months also other projects but none seemed to stick. Claudio and Edoardo’s was different, she finally felt that their vision was one she could stand behind and make her own. She called Claudio and asked if he was really serious about the idea and about moving on to this new project…
Move ahead two months and the three were on a plane to London to setup the company and open a bank account. The traditional banking system, in the fintech capital of the world seemed very slow, and opening an account as a small entrepreneur was not that easy. They did not let the challenge discourage them and on the 17th of February 2016 they were all set up. Now they just needed to understand how they wanted the product to look like and had to find the last element to the team, a top machine learning CTO.