Tuesday, April 23, 2013

DoveConviene raises €3.5 million from Principia SGR

Do you like leaflets? I would say yes, and I bet that, on this days, before to go shopping you always throw an eye on the leaflet of your supermarket. After all, when it comes to an important purchase to do, such as a notebook or a smartphone it is always better to consult a leaflet, whether in paper or electronic format...you can't miss the opportunity, especially when you can save a bunch of money. Try to think about all the leaflets which are left into your postbox, the majority of which you end up throwing away because not interesting for you personal purchase decisions. What if there would be a digital platform just gathering together all these leaflets out there, which you could just find the best offers based on your ZIP code, being able to consult all the offers of the shops which are in your surroundings and, on top of that, you could even receive an e-mail alert which informs you about the best offers just based on your preferences. Even better if it is available via app directly on your Apple or Android device.

Well all the above described, is not an utopia, but just a smart idea, or better said, a good business model which has attracted the interest of one of Italy's leading VC funds.

Indeed DoveConviene, the digital platform which helps people to shop by saving money, thanks to the offers and leaflets presented in a "georeferenced" manner, has raised €3.5 million from  Principia II,
the closed-end fund manager by Principia SGR, representing the most important investment among those made by  Principia SGR, rendering more solid the development plan both in the italian as well as international markets. The company which founded three years ago - in Sardinia - with the clear objective to digitalize the national leaflets' market (market value estimate around one billion euro), has reached two million user and it is thinking to scale up its business model at international level.

Based on the new development plan, the company has decides to reinforce the management team by distributing the powers between its two CEOs: Alessandro Palmieri, CEO of the company since its foundation in 2010, will focus on marketing and technology while Stefano Portu - with a past at Gruppo Espresso, will focus on business and product.  

 Stefano Portu brings along with him 15 years of experience in the national (italian) and international digital market, having fulfilled different directive marketing roles in the multinational company Buongiorno Spa, - where he took part to its startup in the late 90s - and later at Gruppo Editoriale l'Espresso where since 2007 onwards he was Director of the Offer Digital Premium, Mobile & Tablet.

According to market information, the phenomenon of purchases in shops preceded by research and online information is worth 4 times the e-commerce in all principal western markets and DoveConviene represents an answer to the rising need of consumers to render cheaper and smarter the shopping in shops located around their houses. The retail sector is strategic, and is undergoing a deep transformation. The service is used by 17% of the families which regularly uses promotional leaflets (equal to 11.9 million households, source: Nielsen 2012") the company wants to double the audience by the end of 2013.

The board of directors, actually composed by Dr. Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffè, professor of strategy at the Bocconi University in Mila, by Mr. Pietro De Nardis, B2B Executive Director and Co-Founder of Buongiorno, and by Marco Magnacavallo, Venture Partner at Principia Sgr. From May on the president of the company will be Michele Costabile with, professor of Marketing and Management at LUISS University in Rome as well as vice president of Principia SGR. For over 25 years Mr. Costabile has advised several italian and international companies, by combining the intense academic activity to the professional one, and focusing on high-tech startups within the last 10 years. "DoveConviene represents an entrepreneurial initiative which we chose to invest in as part of our portfolio of 30 companies, both for the extraordinary growth achieved in short-time and for the track-record of prestigious and numerous clients obtained in Italy, but also for the great growth potential on international scale. Indeed, the company combines the technological innovation with an attractive value proposition for retailers, consumers and branding industries. We are sure - continues Mr. Costabile - that with our backing DoveConviene can become a reference player in many countries, contributing thus to the transformation of the whole sector of consumer promotions and in part to that of retail management".

The new governance will focus on reinforcing the geographic coverage of the business model on which is based the company success: indeed DoveConviene represents a communication tool of great attraction for retailers, which promote the skimming through of catalogues and leaflets by a profiled and georeferenced audience, made up for more the 90% by purchase responsibles. The average reading time for each leaflet is considered around three minutes e roughly 90% of readers decides to go to the sale point after having consulted the service, available on the web and on the go.

Principia SGR is today the market leader in the Italian venture capital space. The firm manages two closed-end funds, known as "Principia Fund" and "Principia II", with a focus on innovative technologies applied to the specific Italian market in terms of skills and creativity. The know-how acquired in the field of business innovation and the "digital world", along with the synergies developed in the field of research und university as well as the experiences gathered in the business and finance world, are defining elements of the managing formula of Principia funds. The shareholding structure of the SGR combines talented professionals of the venture capital industry and two major institutional shareholders: the CNR - National Research Council - and the Foundation BNC. The fundPrincipia II has already invested over 53 million Euros in 30 companies, including 21 start-ups.