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Restartitalia interview with Fabrizio

London, May 4th, 2020

by Giampaolo Colletti

Giampaolo: “But let’s carry on, let’s head on to London in the meantime, where Fabrizio Fantini is. There is this outstanding startup in London which we have spoken about several times; it emphasizes the importance of data, its value, its ability to provide useful services to the community, to relationships and also aids in the management of stores, stores that need to be remodeled in some way. We have Fabrizio Fantini here with us from Evo Pricing. Thank you Fabrizio for joining us, please tell us in 2 minutes what it is you do. Then, my second question is how are you assisting your numerous customers in this resumption period?”

Fabrizio: “Hi Giampaolo, thanks for having me. We actually transform company data and data from a database that we collect on the internet from over 1 billion people and from millions and millions of products, into useful information and signals to help companies manage moments of great transformation and change. We joke a bit bitterly about the fact that the virus has not only unfortunately killed people, it has also killed the historical series and supply chains in the sense that traditional systems used data from last year and previous years to determine patterns and then try to understand what to do in the future. Here in our increasingly dynamic, connected, fast-paced digital world, the future is different from the past and what we try to help companies do is accelerate their learning, then optimize their daily decisions regarding supply chain and pricing which are closely related issues. So we determine what products to have, how many of them to acquire, how to manage inventory and what prices, discounts and promotions to offer. Evidently, at this moment everyone has realized that historical data has a huge limit, right now it is practically zero; so what we help companies do is speed up their learning curve, thus adapting quickly to a future that is increasingly uncertain, unstable. We are currently working free of charge for our customers as a minimum contribution to a very difficult reality because we live in a world of reflex; from data we can see that unfortunately, there are companies in great difficulty, people losing their jobs, companies shutting down with difficulties. In this case we try to contribute by giving them free support in the crisis phase”.

Giampaolo: “Moreover, I forgot to mention that you’re one of the Italian talents abroad since you’re based in London, but you were born in Jesi some 39 or 40 years ago, you obtained a master’s degree at Harvard 10 years ago and have been working as a consultant in Italy, the United States, and England. As a matter of fact, your startup was born in Turin, Italy, and today you work between London and other countries of the world. I asked you how you’re experiencing the resumption of these companies and you said they’re in trouble, it’s a difficult situation to manage, it’s a new world we’re living in. But how are they facing the realities that are also linked to customers, welcoming them into stores, what are you noticing about this resumption?”

Fabrizio: “In fact there has been a forward acceleration of 5 or 10 years for which there was a boom in online sales, during which in Italy, we were perhaps a little bit behind. There has also been a boom in another type of consumption, many people have spoken about the explosion in sales of toilet paper. However, the truth is that as you eat less at the restaurant, and go to the office less, you buy more at the store near your home and you also use more toilet paper at home. So consumption habits have changed a bit, for the better for some companies and the worse for others. The other thing is the shopping experience: it will no longer be mass shopping as before. We help many fashion companies and those who, being in luxury, let’s say, already had little available traffic, are getting ready to make reservations, in order to have a quarter of an hour slot, or half an hour to go to the store to try things out. It is no longer a casual experience as it was before, but a structured one. Fast fashion brands, on the other hand, are the ones who are struggling the most, as they have to sustain a very high traffic rate, as well as airlines, which unfortunately have to fill their planes to be profitable, so the idea of leaving empty seats makes them structurally unprofitable. Then, you have insurance companies that are making booming profits because no one’s driving, and no driving means no accidents. Thus the crisis is affecting different people in different companies in different ways. Undoubtedly, the readjustment is likely to accelerate trends that were already happening anyway: more sustainability, more attention to the consumer experience and a greater offer customization.”

Giampaolo: “Thank you Fabrizio for presenting us a cross-section of the various product and service sectors, you also explained how they are preparing for this new world. When I was talking about you, I was actually asking for a flash contribution. I was talking about the brainiacs analyzing the data. You’re a data scientist. So where are you based today? How are the people who work with you, those in your team, where are they today, also do you work with a view of the safety of these people?”

Fabrizio: “We have about forty people – half in Turin at the Politecnico and half around the rest of the world – and it has been very interesting because it has been a reverse experiment in which all those in Turin have also become somewhat isolated in a certain sense. We have even exchanged words, so now we’re all distant. We found out that the people in Turin have increased their productivity. In fact, working with technology, developing software, we have a lot of work to do anyway. We are a bit privileged. In fact, we took advantage of this unintended calm moment in which customers have slowed down to devote ourselves to development work, to quality work on products and also to the scalability of the infrastructure and so we are all distantly happy I must say, that perhaps the idea of having an office will change. Meaning that maybe we’ll spend Fridays in the office for socializing, but then the truth is that when it comes to work, working from home takes away maybe an hour of commuting and adds focus and reduces distractions. That’ s why we’ve also adopted all the telework tools for the people in Turin.”

Giampaolo: “Thank you Fabrizio, thank you for your contribution, for telling us a little bit about how the other sectors are changing. Thank you very much and goodbye!”

Fabrizio: “Thank you Giampaolo.”

Transcript: English / Italiano


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