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Startup Grind - Ioana Guiman, Allevo: Solutions from a 20 year old startup for Romanian banks and companies

Last week, Start-up.ro was there in Redwood City for Startup Grind Global Conference 2020 and was kind enough to shoot this interview with Ioana Guiman. Please see the interview and article, in Romanian, on their website.

 

Excerpt in English below:

I am Ioana Guiman, one of the partners of Allevo. Allevo is a startup with 20 years of experience, who started by connecting banks to the electronic payments system and by automating financial processes of banks. Then after, we started doing the same thing for corporate treasuries and for companies.

What does Allevo do?

We try to solve one of the issues small companies are confronted with, and Allevo is one of these, around financial processes. The complexity of a business generates very many custom processes. Most of the times, these processes are not automated, they are manual, generate errors and are very time consuming. We basically offer small companies the experience larger corporates have with their financial processes.

What types of customers does Allevo have?

We are happy to account within our customers the biggest banks in Romania. Recent projects of the past year include the project done with Banca Comerciala Romana (n.r. member of Erste Group), with whom we implemented the Instant Payments project. We offered our FinTP-Instant solution, which helped them connect to the Instant Payments service offered by TransFonD and offered their customers instant payments. Other projects we want to implement in the upcoming period are the finalization of a grant that is under implementation. This is the TOSS project, part of which we developed the FinTPc application, which automates financial flows for corporate treasuries and for SMEs. We also won a grant lead by Innovation Norway, which will help us build an application that offers financial services “as a service” to SMEs. And I am very enthused, because this is a beautiful sequel to the TOSS project, which will help manage companies in a different way.

Why did you come to Startup Grind in Silicon Valley?

We came with lots of expectations at Startup Grind. This is a new market for us, it is a very different environment. We came over to create visibility for our company and to conclude partnerships to help us grow. We want to grow. To grow even beyond Europe, where we enjoy good visibility in the banking space, but we want to grow beyond this region.

In which countries are Allevo customers based?

Most of our customers are based in Romania and in Moldova, due to similarities between the two countries. We do have customers in the Netherlands, Kenya and Uganda. Is is easy for us to serve any bank or company based in the European Union, because the legislation, even if not identical, is similar, so the regulation is similar across the EU. We can therefore implement and replicate the processes we automate. Attention, we do not do a robotic type of process automation, which copies the actions of a user without fixing the process and without interpreting what happens beyond the click. We do a semantic automation, which can lead to a standardization of processes.

Why would corporates want to work with startups?

I think we are in the privileged situation where we already have a pool of banking customers, who face a high level of regulation. The requirements are heavy. In the corporate environment, these requirements are more relaxed and offer more flexibility. Corporates are more agile and flexible than banks. And smaller companies are even more agile. The smaller the company, the faster it moves, with the speed of a startup. This is something we also try to do, including with our banking customers. We are the small ones that always push our customers to do, to implement, faster, better.

Why does an 20 year old company get to be part of an acceleration program?

InnovX has been an amazing experience. We initially applied without knowing too much about the program and we viewed it as a learning experience. One of the main questions we got from partners, customers is why would a company that is 20 years old need an acceleration program? Why would you go to a bootcamp? We said that this back to school experience helps us get out of the office, it helps us develop within our own company and allows us to use this accelerator as a sandbox to experiment and create new products. It is very difficult to innovate as long as you manage business as usual. For us, InnovX and the fact that we were kept captive 2 days a week for 3 months at Mindspace was an amazing experience. We had access to a set of very well prepared mentors, a lot of doors have been opened, we met new people – mentors, customers, consultants. I think this is a very good program and it shows that it is done with passion and dedication.

 

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The TOSS – Treasure Open Source Software project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Competitiveness Operational Programme 2014-2020, Priority Axis 2 “Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for a competitive digital economy”.

Pentru informatii detaliate despre celelalte programe cofinantate de Uniunea Europeana, va invitam sa vizitati www.fonduri-ue.ro. Continutul acestui material nu reprezinta in mod obligatoriu pozitia oficiala a Uniunii Europene sau a Guvernului Romaniei. Proiect finantat in cadrul POC, Axa prioritara 2, Acțiunea 2.1, Prioritate de investitii 2b. Cod MySMIS: 115724, Nr. Contract Finantare: 101/16.08.2017.

 

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With the support of a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms 2014-2021, in the frame of the Programme “SMEs Growth Romania”, Allevo kicks-off Thursday, 23 January 2020, the Whizzer project, as per the 2018/115906 contract.

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