Friday, February 21, 2014

Telecom Italia launches new € 4.5 million Corporate Venture Capital investment program to 'seed' the most promising Italian digital start-ups over the next three years

Rome, 20th February 2014 - Telecom Italia debuts in the ''seed'' investment space by announcing the launch of its new Corporate Venture Capital investment program with an endowment of € 4.5 million over the three years (2014-16, € 1.5 million annually starting this year) in the share capital or options of the most innovative startups in the digital, Internet, mobile and green ICT space, in keeping with its business strategy.
With this tool, Telecom Italia will be able to invest in options or directly enter in the share capital of start-ups, by acquiring minority stakes, with investment tickets of entities between 100,000 and 500,000 euros.

These so-called "seed" investments are intented to fund the launch of appropriately selected young technology companies, helping them grow and gain a foothold on the domestic and international markets.

'With this major new initiative, Telecom Italia is continuing to make the most of young digital talent and completing its Open Innovation strategy with the birth of its own Corporate Venture Capital instrument - says Marco Patuano , CEO of Telecom Italia. Having launched five years ago, first in Italy, the program in support of start-ups with the Working Capital project, Telecom Italia is strengthening its concrete commitment to build a digital ecosystem capable of stimulating - even at a time of economic downturn - the best and most innovative business ideas.''

The initiative is part of the broader program of activities aimed at supporting and developing the digital enterprise ecosystem that Telecom Italia has been promoting through the Working Capital (WCAP) project and its 4 business accelerators (Milan, Bologna, Rome and Catania), which it will continue to foster in 2014. 

Since 2009, Working Capital has assessed around 6,000 business ideas, incubated and funded 19 start-ups, pre-incubated 36 start-ups and assigned 109 grants. 
As of last year, Working Capital has also implemented tools to facilitate and support the marketing of products and services supplied by the selected start-ups, introducing a "fast-track registration process", allowing them to become Telecom Italia Group suppliers, and the "innovation basket", earmarking a budget of 1 million euros to cover part of the cost of the services commissioned by Telecom Italia Business Units from WCAP start-ups.

Finally, as of the next edition of WCAP 2014, further support for start-ups is planned with the introduction of Crowdfunding, a funding tool recently introduced by Italian legislators, via an appropriate platform connected to the Working Capital website.