Saturday, October 15, 2011

Risparmio Super raises € 400,000 from Ingenium Catania and LVentures

Risparmio Super, a price-comparison web service, has raised recently raised € 400k in a financing round which will allow the company launching a further phase of its growth and expansion on foreign markets. 

The funding, announced in Catania during a press release held by the president of the province Giuseppe Castiglione, shows that to believe in the project of the thirty-five years old businesswoman Barbara Labate and of the ital-israeli web expert Zion Nahum, are the local institutions. The funds which will enable the company to start expanding abroad come from Zernike Meta Ventures, a Italian-Dutch joint venture that manages the Ingenium fund in the province of Catania dedicated to the most innovative companies in the region, and LVenture, venture capital fund managing the EnLabs incubator. 

So Risparmio Super, can now look to the States, retracing reversely the path that led Barbara to the Master of the Columbia University - during which the need to save time and money for the daily shopping brought her to the idea which gave birth to Risparmio Super - to go back to Italy, meet with Zion and launch their web company, which compares the prices of hyper- and supermarkets in Italy to help to save up to $ 1,000 a year on spending. Risparmio Super - with offices in Milan and Catania - is today the only Italian site that analyzes and compares 45 brands of the Italian GDO in a widespread manner, by monitoring more than 10,000 stores and comparing prices of daily food, hygiene products, consumer electronics and appliances. The idea is a winner and has been rewarded by the consumers to whom it provides a valuable service: the site's members rose from 30,000 to over 100,000 in the over the past two months. These numbers make it the absolute leader in the Italian market for online food prices comparison.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Atlante Ventures Invests in Yogitech

Atlante Ventures, venture capital fund of the group Intesa Sanpaolo which, as stated on the IMI Funds site, "invests in risk capital of innovative firms with high growth potential, with particular attention to those active in sectors with high technology," has announced to have invested € 1 Million to enter the Yogitech SpA capital, a Pisa-based company specializing in the development of hardware and software improving the safety of electronic devices.

The operation is part of an overall € 1.5 Million capital increase round, which has seen Toscana Ventures, a fund managed by Sici Sgr (asset management fund) as well as current financial shareholder in Yogitech SpA, subscribing the remaining half million euro of the capital increase. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

H-Farm launches the "Digital Academy"

In the venetian countryside a training center destined to raise the new Zuckenbergs. The project developed by H-Farm, is funded by a consortium of entrepreneurs from the North-East.

 Not all talents run away from Italy. Someone resists and makes the difference: some remains, develops ideas and puts them into practice. One of those ideas, project first, and reality finally, is under our eyes: is called, Digital Academy the school for the diffusion of digital born from the efforts of bright and creative, but at the same time pragmatic minds, raised in a place immersed in the nature, Tenuta Ca' Tron in Roncade, near Treviso. A renovated farmhouse has become the meeting place with three workrooms, two classrooms, a relaxation area, a park of over 12,000 square meters with WiFi coverage and 25 beds. It was dreamed, incubated and financed privately and now, after months of preparation, has officially opened its doors. 

A place where everyone

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kiver closes funding to boost its expansion plans

Kiver, an agency specializing in digital marketing services for businesses, announced a new strategic orientation and a capital increase. Strategic acquisitions and new financial resources for a growing market will be the main focus.

Founded in 2004 as an aggregator of independent digital music and reference agency for projects of music branding for companies, today Kiver is a group that has undertaken a thorough reorganization of its corporate structure. Functional to its growth objective were the choices of separating the business of music distribution, conferred today to the newly created Kiver Digital, as well as that of browser games (with oFootball), of renovating the set of services of digital marketing and realize significant investments to grow the business in terms of products and technology. An important step of this growth was the acquisition in 2010 of Boomer (an Italian Social Media and Performance Marketing Agency), whose entry has increased and strengthened the action range of Kiver, thus giving rise to a strategic combination of experience and expertise in different areas of branded entertainment, social media and performance marketing.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

GoWar goes mobile with its iOS app

GoWar, the location-based social strategy game winner of the May 2010 Venice Startup Weekend, has been recently launched in the Apple Store and last 23rd June it already hit the more than 3,000 players . With GoWar users can choose a strategy to conquer real places, manage troops and declare war on their favorite spots to build their personal empire.
Thanks to GoWar's proprietary algorithm, gamers are able to play socially with and against real people while roaming around their cities and interacting with other players. To get started, gamers have just to select a target, choose their armies and attack! Gamers can take their friends on Facebook by inviting them to join the battle by sharing their victories. In GoWar, players are able to use tanks and different special weapons to attack real places. The prestige of the places conquered is proportional to their popularity in the real life thanks to the integration with Facebook's "likes" and "check-ins"!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Iubenda receives seed financing

Iubenda the startup founded and led by Andrea Giannangelo (21 years old) has announced its first seed investment of €100,000. The investment that comes some of the most active investor in the italian web startup scene: Digital Investment SCA SICAR whose advisor is dpixel of Gianluca Dettori, and business angels Andrea di Camillo - who now works in Quantica (ex Vitaminic, Banzai) - and Marco Magnocavallo who has created several companies, the last one being which has been recently acquired by Populis. Among the inverstors debuts also Stefano Bernardi.

What is Iubenda?
Iubenda allows you to generate a Privacy Policy for your website. The aims is to be the Creative Commons of Privacy Policies. The Privacy Policy can be embedded on any website (after a bit customization) and the goal is to reach the footer of every website in the world.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

H-Farm Launches Seed Program Q3/2011

Last June 1, H-Farmventures - the first italian private incubator, halfway between an incubator and VC - launched its 90-day time window for would-be webpreneurs in search for their first round of investments in 2011. Participate is really easy: all what would-be webpreneurs have to do, in order to become the next Andrew Mason, is to send their breakthrough "internet-based" ideas between June and August using the online form.

Indeed H-Farmventures will evaluate only "internet-based" projects with particular interest in proposals in the medical field, environmental sustainability, social games and online payments. The team of H-Farmventures will pick up only 5 projects providing them with the initial financing for the first 3 months devoted to product development and business planning.

Monday, May 23, 2011

7 Italian Clean-Tech Startups to Watch in 2011

Italy is one of the sunniest countries in Europe when it comes to energy generation from renewable energies, such as photovoltaic. However, due to is strong dependence on energy imports - indeed, 80% of consumed energy in Italy is imported from abroad -, and the initial political uncertainty, raised at the beginning of 2011, on the country's environmental policy  after the fierce debate started by the Italian government on its intention to introduce new atomic power plants as solution to the problem of energy dependence from abroad, it seems that the government has changed position, maybe cooled down by the terrific disaster which hit Japan, by giving a long-waited answer, to a sector which was risking to be kneeled down, with the signature of the so-called IV Conto Energia, i.e. the regulatory framework that sets out the new feed-in tariffs' system for the PV sector, and which does not change the tariffs previously announced. This last event surely represents the first clear sign  of the government in supporting a sector which in my opinion will be a key driver in the economic growth of the country in the few years to come.

However, despite the recently raised political uncertainty and the current economic crisis, the country enjoys the presence far-sighted entrepreneurs who have since long time understood that renewable energies are one of the strategic areas in which one should invest in order to contribute to the economic growth of the country.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Apps-Builder receives financing from Annapurna Ventures

The do-it-yourself application for iPhone, iPad and Android devices is finally arrived. The idea is the brainchild of two developers (and students of the Polytechnic of Turin) - Daniele Pelleri and Luigi Giglio - supported by the graphic expert Martina Pelleri. The three young guys presented to the Italian public a novelty at European level. AppsBuilder is an amazing and innovative online platform that allows to create, in just three easy steps, customized applications for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones, tablets and web apps. The service is innovative, simple and immediate allowing to turn any website into a mobile application to people who have little or no computer skills.  

AppsBuilder is a service designed for internet users who want to create a mobile application. An innovative technology that can be used by anyone to transform any website into apps. The platform allows to publish and distribute apps on the main app stores (Apple, Android, and soon also Windows) and to optimize the visualization of the website content in the navigation on mobile devices.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Italian the Best European Business Angel 2011

The European Business Angels Association (EBAN) which on May 13, 2011 met in Warsaw for its Annual Meeting, awarded Francesco Marini Clarelli - president of Italian Angels for Growth (IAG) - as best European Business Angel of the Year, 2011
EBAN is the trade association that brings together at European level, supports and represents business angels, groups of angel investors, seed funds and other actors operating in the world of early-stage investments. Overall, with its presence in 26 countries where it operates, through direct and indirect membership, EBAN involves more than 300 groups, 20,000 business angels and 40,000 entrepreneurs. For the next few years the organization has set itself the ambitious goal of bringing the early-stage investment level from the current estimated value of € 4 billion to € 10 billion.

Is therefore understandable the satisfaction with which Marini Clarelli (53 years, angel investor since for more than 20 years) has welcomed the award:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mopapp: from Bologna the winner of Seedcamp Berlin 2011

Mopapp, which stands for Measures Of Performances (for apps) is the app born from an idea of the management team of AnguriaLab LLC, whose founders are Alessandro Rizzoli, Marco Bellinaso and Federico Sita. It is an amazing web-based service oriented to developers for mobile platforms to track, analyze and display the downloads, sales, revenues and profits of their applications by generating easy-to-understand reports. Mopapp is not only an amazing web-service but also the winner, along with Efficient Cloud, of Seedcamp Berlin 2011.  Mopapp automatically integrates with major stores such as iTunes App Store, Android Market, RIM App World, MobilHand and BlackBerry. It can then be used by those who publish applications (both free and fee-based) for iPhone/iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile.  The version launched last August 2010, was still the private Beta version, available only to the first 50 who had requested. Today, Mopapp finally  is availabl public beta.

While the version released last 6 August, 2010, was the "private" beta, available only to the first 50 persons that had requested it, today, Mopapp finally entered the public beta, allowing anyone to register for free and start using the service without any limit. But let's look what it does in more detail,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blomming, it's time for shopping: the italian social commerce platform

Blomming is the "social commerce" platform founded by Alberto D'Ottavi and Nicola Jr. Vitto which deserves to be known and used.

YES "social commerce" something that maybe you have been waiting for long time, is now available thanks to this new method of online shopping, the F-Commerce, i.e. purchases done directly on the Facebook social network. The application that allows all this is Blomming: it will create a shopping section within the facebook page of your blog/site which you can manage by inserting items for sale. Users will have the possibility to comment your products with the well-know "I like" and buy the exposed items. All fans of your page will display the items, and if they decide to buy only one item they will be redirected to the Blomming site to confirm the purchase.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cisco first venture capital round

Did you know that Cisco was financed by Sequoia after being refused 76 times by VCs and investors? Here you can find the evidence. Source

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why not invest in DotCloud

DotCloud is a simple platform for developers which allows, in a extremely simple way, to create scalable infrastructures by using the most common services (Ruby, Python, MongoDB, Node.js, MySQL and so on and so forth). The magic of its solution is the auto-scalability of the platform, where the developer releases the code for his app and dotcloud scales automatically: both on frontend with the load balancer and application server as well as on the backend by partitioning the data vertically or horizontally.  And is this flexibility given to developers allowing them to "mix and match" components and use of multiple languages and tools instead of focusing on one language and development stack, that differentiate from its competitor Heroku, which has been acquired by Salesforce for $212 million, and which represents the first generation of platform-as-a-service.

On DotCloud: Less than a month after its first seed round, an 800K angel funding injection from notable investors such as Ron Conway and Chris Sacca, the company announced, a week ago, its $10 million dollar Series A financing round from Benchmark Capital and Trinity Ventures. The company is located in San Francisco, California, United States.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Winds of change: building the Italy of the future based on innovation

All over its history Italy has been a land of ideas, innovations and inventors, who have made a precious contribution to the whole mankind. One of these innovators who changed Italy, and let me say it, perhaps has changed also the whole world, is surely Leonardo da Vinci, according to which:

"All Our Knowledge Has Its Origin in Our Perceptions".

And my perception is that a new wave of knowledge is starting to spread, once again, all over Italy as it was during the Italian Renaissance. While The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life, here the Renaissance I am talking about refers to a change which is finally taking place in Italy, but which this time is made by young entrepreneurs and innovative ideas.
Signs of this change which is taking place in Italy are

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beintoo, transforming apps passion into real benefits

Beintoo is a fast-growing community of apps lovers who want to share their apps experience with other users and friends as well as look for and find peers with same interests and close to them. By joining Beintoo, users can show other users how good they are at discovering new apps and at playing with them. As a reward for it,  users can increase their Bescore level from "Novice" up to "Master" and receive "Bedollars", the Beintoo virtual currency. The Bescore is the user level within the Beintoo community, which users can increase by:
  1. playing with mobile games and apps which are partners of the Beinto apps network,
  2.  sharing their interests on,
  3.  by engaging with apps and goods in, and
  4. by inviting friends to join the Beintoo community.
Users have a weekly salary depending on their Bescore level, which constitutes their reward for their apps passion. Therefore, the earned Bedollars can be used to get exceptional virtual goods as great prizes within their apps and convert them into coupons for real goods by visiting some sponsors stores in their town or on the Web. Everytime users convert a virtual good they won into a real coupon, their "bedollars richness" will be decreased according to the value of the real product. However, users get their weekly Bedollar salary, so they never run out of money. Indeed, the idea behind all this is, to create a "real economy where users are rewarded for their mobile passion".

The intuition of the Beintoo team is as genial as straightforward at the same time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

MyoPlay: the first video social gaming platform made in Italy

MyoPlay is the first video social gaming platform in the world launched, at the end of November 2010, by Fabrizio Parzanese founder and CEO of MyoTV. As now-a-days, online video is seen as a mere repetition of a product made for other platforms (cinema/TV), MyoTV goes beyond this by creating and producing formats which are designed to take full advantage of the return of the new media channel. The clear aim is to stop treating people like “simple viewers” and ask them to become active participants. Indeed, if until yesterday the Tv host was asking a question and only a really lucky guy answered in a TV studio while all other participants where excluded from the very limits of the medium, now MyoPlay is the first social platform for video gaming in the world (now on Facebook and coming soon on iPhone and Android devices) offering many users different thematic formats, simple and funny to play and replay and with which one can directly challenge friends and colleagues.
The proposed thematic format is an attempt to intercept the passions of individuals, starting with Trolley Story (travel) Camera Car (cars and engines) Movie Rewind (cinema), Uhm Song (music), Gadget Quiz (technology) and GossVip (glam and gossip), and many more coming soon formats in the near future. MyoPlay is the first product launched by the Turin-based startup which is currently available only in Italian and for Facebook. However, imminent is the launch of the product on iPhone and Android devices as well as on the international market, Europe and US, by the end of 2011. 

On MyoTV:
MyoTV is an Italian startup which focuses on creating, producing and distributing Web, Mobile and IPTV formats, with the clear aim to "revolutionarize" the fruition of video contents. The company developed its business concept and model since the end of 2008 thanks to the meeting with Dpixel first and Working Capital after, till it became truly operative and productive in 2010. A long path, influenced by the economic crisis, the fast changing environment of the online video context as well as the mobile market which required and requires, constant updates and small changes of strategy. In this path, MyoTV, has been able to reach an agreement with Telecom Italia within the Working Capital project, whose main target is scouting and hunting the best and most interesting projects related to the web 2.0. 


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Italian Venture Capital Market: Past Evolution and Recent Developments

As the Italian venture capital has changed over the last decades and information on its evolution is rather fragmented in this post I try to put together the relevant information starting since the beginning of the Italian venture capital market till its more recent developments.

The Italian venture capital market has overcome different waves of growth and specialization trends in the past 25 years. The market has notably been affected by the economic cycles and by some major facts that have influenced the whole economy as well. The evolution of the Italian venture capital market can be focused in specific periods. In particular, from 1900 till 1986 (almost a century) venture capital has been present in the country, only in a form that we might call "Informal VC". Important entrepreneurs contributed, by way of private investments, to the foundation of new companies. In the 70s though the capital needed to finance the growth of new and consolidated businesses was primarily coming from the bank system; both the capital market and the Venture Capital were not broadly used by Italian entrepreneurs. 1986 represented an historical change of pattern. Indeed, A.I.F.I. (the Italian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association) was formed and 15 operators took off, starting to implement some pure venture capital investments. This first wave of Institutional venture capital players,decided to enter the Italian market also due to the great success that VC was having in the United States. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Venture Capitalists in the Italian Internet Startup Scene: Who They Are and How to Approach Them

As this is my first blog and first post, I would like to  provide those who are interested on venture capital and Internet startups with guidance about who invests (business angels, VCs) in Italian startups and on how to approach them in order to present an innovative idea when searching for a way of financing it. Enjoy it :)

As Internet has turned into a lucrative and successful marketplace for both web 2.0 entrepreneurs and venture capital firms, and as the latter are becoming more aggressive in seeking out disruptive technologies, it is probably fair to say that the internet start-up scene will be one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide for the years to come. This trend is already visible, since a decade, in the Italian Internet start-up scene where plenty of web 2.0 would-be entrepreneurs (or webpreneurs) are continuously hunting for fresh capital in order to transform their innovative ideas into successful startups. Likewise, more and more venture capital firms are investing in web 2.0 companies, therefore diversifying away from their traditional investment sectors (Financial services, Consumer products, Constructions, Telco, Chemistry etc.).

In Italy, as elsewhere, "before approaching and sending out business plans to a potential VC firm or business angel, it is very important - for (Internet) would-be entrepreneurs - to understand what VCs are looking for",