Italy’s Banca Mediolanum launches sustainable challenger ‘Flowe’
Banca Mediolanum, an Italian incumbent, has launched its own challenger bank, ‘Flowe’. The new venture focuses on tools which facilitate a sustainable financial lifestyle for its users.
Its card, issued by Mastercard, is made of recycled wood – though users can set up a payment account with a virtual card too.
The fintech, which is a pending certified B-corporation, rests on top of Microsoft Azure. This has allowed Flowe to plug into third-party solutions like core banking system, Temenos Transact.
Ivan Mazzoleni heads up Flowe. Instead of taking the title ‘chief executive’, Mazzoleni is the bank’s ‘cultural energy orchestrator’ (CEO).
Flowe has many of the familiar features of a European challenger. These include an IBAN, free Eurozone ATM withdrawals, an account balance cap of €10,000, and integration with Apple Pay.
But the bank’s features go further with its partnerships. One is with reforestation start-up ZeroCO2, a company which has so far planted 144,822 trees in Guatemala to compensate for CO2 and support local families.
Flowe users can see where their tree is located through the app and follow its growth through photos sent by the bank.
Swedish sustainable banking service Doconomy is another of Flowe’s partners. It allows users to estimate the CO2 emissions emitted by each purchase made with their card. The calculation is based on the product category.
Doconomy also works with US-based Bank of the West, a subsidiary of French banking group BNP Paribas, and Nordea, to provide a similar service.
The challenger offers a group expenses feature to help users to split expenses in real-time. This suggests the bank is targeting both consumers and businesses with its offering.
Its ‘Arcadia’ – a gamified feature – allows users to play for ‘gems’ which can be redeemed for discounts and gift cards at retailers such as Amazon, Decathlon, and MediaWorld.
The bank currently employees a team of 56 according to LinkedIn. Oscar di Montigny, the bank’s president, says Banca Mediolanum travelled from Silicon Valley to the Far East for Flowe’s inspiration.
“We aim to expand in Italy and in view of scalability at a European level, closing the first year of activity with several tens of thousands of users,” di Montigny told TechCompany36 this month.