Thursday, July 4, 2013

United Ventures: just "20lin.es" to "LoveTheSign"

United Ventures, the investment company born from the union of Annapurna Ventures, of Massimiliano Magrini and JV Capital of Paolo Gesess, to "shake up digital entrepreneurship by spotting and promoting disruptive innovations" has recently invested € 250,000 in 20lin.es, a web platform for collaborative writing where each user has 20 lines of text and multimedia content to create the incipit of a story and/or to continue other user's stories. 

United Ventures, which is sponsored by the italian investment fund - Fondo Italiano d'Investimento - has decided to bet on the idea of the four founders of 20lin.es: Alessandro Biggi, Francesco Scalambrino, Marco Pugliese and Pietro Pollichieni, all of age between 24 and 26, who decided to leave their investment banking jobs at JP Morgan and Unicredit in order to convert their passion for writing and reading for an entrepreneurial project, seeing the crisis of the publishing sector as an opportunity of innovation, and "incubated" their idea at the startup incubator H-Farm Ventures

The company, which was founded in November 2012 has developed

a collaborative Content Management System (CMS) that allows simultaneous participation on the same text, creating thus an innovative approach to storytelling. The first hook of the Storytelling has been thrown by famous italian writers such as Giorgio Faletti, Carmine Abate, Paolo Calvetti and Mimmo Gangemi, than the virtual pen passes to other users registered to the site who contribute developing the story by following their own fantasy; all this by never exceeding "20 lines" of text. At the moment 20lin.es counts more than 6,500 writers and 30,000 readers each month. The United Ventures' investment will be used for the launch of the website in English by September 2013 as well as will allow 20lin.es to expand in US, UK, Spain, Germany and Brasil by March 2014. The "website applies the principles of collective intelligence to narrative: each story develops itself at steps of 20 lines each through the cooperation of more authors and each step subdues readers appreciation" explained Biggi, interviewed by Economia Web. The target is to become the leading platform for the promotion and sale of e-books for self-publishers. Therefore, United Ventures won't only back the company financially, but will also help theit in the development of the community at international level.

Just week after the investment in 20lin.es ,United Ventures announced its second investment of seed capital in LoveTheSign.com, e-retaier of original italian design, in which it invested  € 750,000 as lead-investor, while € 250,000 came from Novus Ventures and members of the family Barberis Canonico. 

According to Paolo Genesis, co-founder and managing partner of United Ventures "the appeal of interior design made in Italy represent a big opprtunity on foreign markets and the company has to seize this opportunity in order to achieve brilliant results". In just 8 months, LoveTheSign.com has reached 1 million of visitors and quickly became the online benchmark for those who enjoy furnishing their home with the best italian design. LoveTheSign.com offers an online catalogue with permanent collections and flash sales with 60% discount. From homemade works of young artists to exquisitely designed items of small manufactures, LoveTheSign.com offers 5,000 products from 220 partners as a result of "cool hunting" daily activity. This investment will allow the startup's founders, Simone Panfilo, Vincenzo Cannata and Laura Angius to consolidate its presence in the italian market and to grow in foreign markets by selling products and services that always that always satisfy even the most demanding tastes.


on United Ventures
United Ventures is the new VC fund specialized in digital technologies founded by Massimiliano Magrini and Paolo Gesess, founders of JV Capital and Annapurna Ventures respectively. Sponsor of the initiative was the Italian Fund of Investment which put 10 million at disposal of United Ventures in the first closing which reach €30 million of raised funds. The fund has a final target of €50 million.

The team of United Ventures is formed by professional who have a deep knowledge of the digital space, such as Mario Mariani (partner of Annapurna Ventures and founder of The Net Value) and Sergio Zocchi (partner of Jupiter Ventures). Starting from the vehicle JV2 Capital, the team has promoted the broadening of the investor base allowing the birth of United Ventures, which set itself as reference operator in the italian context. The investor base sees the participation, beyond the Italian Investment Fund, of other institutional funds - such as Fondazione Banco di Sardegna, Foundation Savings Bank of Lucca, Banca Sella and Banca Patrimoni) and of private investors at the side of the management team, such as Matteo Fago, co-founder of Venere, Marco Corradino co-founder of Volagratis, Edoardo Loewenthal of 6Sicuro, Valerio De Molli of the European House Ambrosetti and Davide Serra of Algebris Investments



The objective of the fund is to reach €50 million of raised capital by February 2014 . The company which is already operative with two investments from its previous portfolio, points to launch by the end of 2013 its own seed program called "seed revolution" which will be open to the cooperation of startup incubators and accelerators to help, said as the United Venture's way, to "shake up the (italian) digital entrepreneurship by spotting and promoting disruptive innovations".




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