Interview with Francesco De Donato, CBDO of Dinja

Interview with Francesco De Donato, CBDO of Dinja

May 19, 2022 By Rosy Chianese

Interview with Francesco De Donato, CBDO of Dinja, the innovative startup that deals with developing and marketing of technological solutions, hardware and software for the retail market.

New technologies have changed the way we deal with everyday life and commerce. Moreover, digital adoption has accelerated dramatically. Now it’s a trend you can’t go back from, so if you don’t adapt to innovation, you won’t be able to keep your place in business.

Here’s what you need to do: introduce new technologies, implement current technologies, change business models and processes and also promote a corporate culture of change shared by all. How? Thanks to your best ally: Dinja!

About Dinja

Dinja is an innovative startup composed of a team of young digital experts with the mission of developing and marketing technological, hardware and software solutions for the retail market. Thanks to Dinja, your company will be supported in the path of digital transformation, through strategies and technological strategies. 

Dinja can offer you so many solutions, such as electronic shelf labels for Industry 4.0 (Electronic Shelf Label), software for the management, automation and efficiency of processes, as well as commerce, but also Virtual Assistants equipped with Artificial Intelligence, designed to give support in the e-commerce and hospitality sectors. With Dinja you can finally make use of proven and successful technological solutions.

To learn more about this project, we interviewed Francesco De Donato, CBDO of Dinja.

Hello Francesco, nice to meet you and thank you for your time. Tell us more about Dinja.

My pleasure, thanks to you and to all the Germana’s team for the opportunity to make our reality known to the audience of Syrus Blog! In the presentation you summarized very well the message: Dinja is a technology start-up founded by four partners with ICT skills with many years of experience in multinational software. We deal with technological solutions for e-commerce, such as the SaaS Sellengine®‍ and Priceflow® but also with electronic shelf labels for Industry 4.0. Solutions for which there is an important help from the Ministry of Economic Development in the form of tax credits that can reach a percentage equal to 85% of the entire investment. And then there are the virtual assistants with artificial intelligence to support the e-commerce and hospitality sectors but also to realize complex procedures such as loading a digital inventory via voice commands. We can say that in the digital field we cover different sectors with various solutions.

How and when did Dinja’s idea come about?

Dinja is an innovative start-up born about 5 years ago from the idea of four founding members who had already shared together much of their academic and work experience. A close-knit team, in short, inside and outside the working environment, with continuous “invasions of the field” between work and private life and rare alchemy. Everything started from a chat that took place on a pre-Christmas evening in 2016 in a small house in the a famous southern village of Bari: Putignano. In this place, there was a discussion about possible problems and about the technological solutions to solve them. When we identified e-commerce as a sector on which we could do much more than others, we decided to focus on this concept.

From there, everything went faster: constitution, first contracts, first headquarters, new headquarters and now here we are to tell you about a start-up that had its pleasure… : )

How did you launch your startup? Did you use crowdfunding campaigns?

No, we haven’t used crowdfunding campaigns yet, but we don’t rule it out for the future. In fact, we used other types of tools made available mostly by Regione Puglia and Invitalia. I am talking about the measure TECNONIDI addressed to small businesses that intend to start or implement investment plans with technological content in the territory of the Puglia Region. But also to the Smart&Start Italia measure of Invitalia that supports the birth and growth of innovative high-tech startups in all Italian regions, with which we have accompanied most of these 5 years of start-up. There were also forms of self-financing of the founders, such as the development of cost-free software donated to the Start-up. A set of actions aimed at supporting the initial push and at having the right time to conquer the market. 

Among the various software you have developed, Priceflow was awarded by the Special Mention for TIM at the 15th Best Practices Award for Innovation. What is it?

It is an innovative system of Dynamic Pricing E-commerce that, relying on different information and exploiting algorithms of Artificial Intelligence, suggests and applies a candidate price for each individual item.

In particular, the system, based on:

  • the prices of competitors present on web and marketplaces
  • the degree of availability of items from other sellers
  • Amazon’s sales ranking
  • Google’s historical and current sales trends
  • the costs of supplying and/or production of the articles let alone all the costs of the supply chain

By exploiting algorithms of Artificial Intelligence, specifically Machine Learning, and collecting information on Big Data,  it suggests and applies a candidate price for each individual item with the aim of achieving in a given period of time:

  • a turnover (predictive)
  • a markup (predictive)

allowing also, for the specific temporal period, to optimize the supplies furnishing the products in the right quantity to contain costs. The system is currently used to automatically assign prices to inventory articles published on Amazon, eBay and on each e-commerce portal through competitors price monitoring on Google Merchant and It has also been applied to a system of electronic shelf labels for Industry 4.0, allowing physical outlets to dynamically and in real time change the prices of their items in the store according to web fluctuations.

How do your Virtual Assistants work?

We made two assistants.

Leonardo is a fully integrated Virtual Customer Care Assistant with customer communication channels: Site, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp.

It has been created for the Hospitality and E-commerce sectors and helps customers to get information about the structure and to complete the booking:

Here’s what you can do:

  • Automate the processing of recurring and concurrent requests, with relative reduction of the operating costs (for example for the management of the Frequently Asked Questions or for the scheduling of appointments);
  • Support communications with customers 24/7 (ubiquity);
  • Get leads of potential customers (name, email, phone number and need/desire);
  • Improve Overall User Experience (Customer Journey) and Satisfaction
  • Lead Generation: collection of user data during the conversation and useful information for the profiling’s process
  • Text to Speech
  • Multilingual
  • Report History and analysis of conversations
  • Knowledge Connector: ability to answer questions based on predetermined knowledge sources such as websites, FAQs or knowledge base articles
  • Sentiment Analysis: determine the user’s attitude as positive, negative or neutral in order to take the most appropriate action

Lisa is instead a Virtual Assistant for Back-Office projects.

In the retail sector, it facilitates the expensive operations of loading inventory and finding items through the use of a voice assistant with artificial intelligence:

  • «hands free» solution with headset and Google Assistant App
  • Possibility to communicate items to the assistant during unloading operations
  • Indication of the shelf in which the product has been deposited to facilitate its discovery (Inventory Skill)
  • Automatic loading of articles communicated to the server in the existing management software to the company
  • Elimination of manual data entry operations

What are your plans for the future?

We have a very challenging roadmap for Priceflow upgrade: it concerns both the ability to collect information and prices from other channels in addition to those already managed (Amazon, Google Merchant and In addition, the ability to provide sellers with an interface and new tools to make decisions more easily based on all the information (both current and historical) collected. This will be an important enhancement of the solution that aims to improve our market positioning, offering sellers an increasingly comprehensive solution.

Fun fact: could you tell us more about the final choice of the name?

Well, the name encompasses concepts that start from prehistory and, passing through the 80’s USA cartoonish, culminate in our contemporary history.

As good “geeks” we keep the secret and let curious people have the taste to solve the enigma … 😉


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