Saturday, June 22, 2013

Programma 101: Azimut SGR and Fondo Italiano d'IInvestimento launch a new joint VC-fund to invest in the digital space

Programma 101, is the new VC-fund co-launched by Fondo Italiano di Investimento and Azimut. The new investment vehicle, which among others carries the same name of the first calculator of the IT history produced by Olivetti, will specialize in investments in start-ups in the digital space and will have a financial endowment of €35 million. The main target is of €50 millionFondo Italiano di Investimento will contribute to the fund with €10-15 million. This is the first of three VC funds, the other two being conceived for medical-biotech and mechatronics.

On initiative of Fondo Italiano di Investimento a new innovativ venture capital operator dedicated to investments in the digital space, called Programma 101 is born. The new project has found the full support of italian private investors, among which the Azimut Group -the biggest independent italian realty of asset management - will assume the principal role of investor along with Fondo Italiano di Investimento.

INVESTORS - Apart from Fondo Italiano di Investimento, Azimut invested 15 € million, the same amount invested by Fondo Italiano di Investimento. The team of Programma 101 will be headed by
Andrea di Camillo, a professional with important entrepreneurial and investment experiences as ex Manager at Olivetti, Kiwi, Cir ventures, and ex co-founder of Banzai and Vitaminic. He will lead the management team and the management company (P101) of the fund, the financial investment company in the form of a joint stock company with rules applicable to an asset management company (SGR).

To take care of the project was Luigi Tommasini of Fondo Italiano di Investimento, head of indirect investments (c.a. €280 million assigned sofar to other private equity funds). The fund - and this is the news - will operate in synergy with other startup incubators active in italy, such as H-Farm, the startup accelerator founded in 2005 by Riccardo Donadon. The role of these incubators will be that to introduce to the fund the "incubated" initiatives considered more worthy, leaving to the managers of Programma 101 the evaluation of the investment opportunity and the definition of the eventual details.

Objective of the new operator is that to step in as "accelerator" of the best initiatives incubated by the various startup incubators and to fund some of the italian technological excellences. The initiative stems from the will to satisfy the demand of venture capital for seed investments among €500k and €1.5 million,  by new startups, which even though worthy to invest in, have huge difficulties to attract the attention of existent seed funds. The presence of this new investment vehicle will have a strong impact on the capacity of italian startups to pass from their first live steps to the of further development. 

For Fondo Italiano di Investimento this is a very interesting project within the activity of fund of funds supporting the development of the italian venture capital industry. In particular, with this one, are four the initiatives of FII in this segment, for a total amount of €50 million. Moreover, as for Programma 101 the are two further inititiatives which are in an evaluation phase focusing in the fields of medical devices and that of robotics/mechatronics.

The choice of Azimut as investor in a venture capital initiative, as stressed by the "Il Sole 24 ore" could open new important perspectives for the whole asset management sector, with one of the most important strategic initiatives of the next years in favor of clients and investors. The objective is to let develop the company in the high segment of clientele and also to underpin the so-called "Sistema Italia" according to the founding values of the Group such as independence, innovation, dynamic and "italianity" which have permited Azimut to reach its current dimension with more than €21 billions of total assets.