Sunday, November 15, 2015

Italia Venture Fund I: €100M to back the Italian Startup Ecosystem

As innovative startups are engines to job creation, even the Italian government, in the wake of other European countries, has recently decided to deal with it and actively support innovative Italian tech-startups and SMEs by providing funding aimed to increase growth some of the most innovative and with a high growth potential startups. Just for this reason, the Italian growing startup scene has seen some help by government backing. Indeed, the Board of Invitalia Ventures, the asset management company called to implement this initiative, promoted by Invitalia, the National Agency for inward investment promotion and enterprise development owned by the Ministry of Economy, has recently launched a €100M venture capital fund named ITALIAN VENTURE FUND I, approving the fund regulations, officially launching the investment activities of the new fund to support Italian high-growth Startups and SMEs.

The ITALIAN VENTURE FUND Ia closed-end investment fund managed by Invitalia Ventures SGR SpAthe asset management company (Società di Gestione del Risparmio - SGR) called to implement this initiative, has an initial commitment of €50M coming from the Sustainable Growth Fund of the Ministry of Economic Development and entirely subscribed by the National Agency for Economic Development and inward investment attraction (Invitalia SpA). The ITALIAN VENTURE FUND I, which as already said has a funding target of €100M, will operate exclusively on a co-investment basis, with private investors, both national and international, with the aim of providing a significant financial support to the most innovative Italian startups and small and medium-sized companies, committing up to 70% of "Series A" investment rounds with a range of €0.5M and €1.5M commitment in the equity of innovative startups and SMEs, with a timescale of 5-7 years, and with one constraint: there must be at least one other investor, be it public or private.

The fund is headed by Salvo Mizzi, startup innovation expert, ex founder of Telecom Italia's Working Capital Accelerator, a program granting €20/25k to a some tens of would-be startuppers ,and later CEO of the Tim Ventures, the Telecom Italia vehicle for seed and early-stage investments in startups and eligible participation in successive funding stages.

The investment strategy will focus on high-growth sectors like: Internet & ICT, Logistics & Mechatronics, Biotech & Health, Clean Energy & Green Economy, Public Administration & Government, Social Impact and Sustainability, Food, Fashion & Life Style as well as FiTech.

On 4th September 2015 Invitalia Ventures launched, at the national and international level, the call to join its network of co-investors knows as Invitalia Ventures Investor Network, inviting qualified and professional investors to subscribe the ITALIAN VENTURE FUND I share for a total amount of €50M , in order to achieve the set target of €100Mtaking a first (but clear) shape since it recorded in just few days interesting adhesions by major players of the venture capital industry including French Truffle Capital, one among the largest investors in Europe,Keytone Ventures a China-focused venture capital firm and Evolution Equity Partners, a Switzerland- and USA-based venture capital fund. The international actors joined sixteen Italian seed and VC investors with have massively applied. Among the sethere are LVenture Group SpA; H-Farm SpA; TBD Srl – Nanabianca; Italian Angels for Growth (IAG) the largest business Angel group in Italy, Siamosoci Srl (Club Italia Investimenti, the first pree-seed investment vehicle alongside Italian accelerators, Club Digitale, the first investment club for startups, Club Acceleratori, a Club Deal whose investors are accelerator); Digital Magics SpA, listed on AIM Italia (symbol: DM), is an incubator of digital projects that provides consulting services and acceleration services to startups and enterprises, to facilitate the development of new technological businesses; Strowlers Ventures Srl; Panakès Partnersa Venture Capital investor that finances medical companies, early stage startup and SMEs, with extremely promising products and great ambition, in Europe and Israel, Vertis Sgr; United Ventures;, the investment company specialized in digital technologies born from the union of Annapurna Ventures of Massimiliano Magrini and JVCapital of Paolo Gesess, to shake up digital entrepreneurship by spotting and promoting disruptive innovations; Withfounders, the startup accelerator founded by Giulio Valiante; P101 SpA, an Italian venture capital firm focused on early-stage investment in the digital sector, Innogest Sgr SpA, the leading venture capital fund in Italy; DPixel Srl, the venture capital firm founded by Gianluca Dettori specializing in incubation, startup, seed and early-stage investment; Principia Sgr SpA an Italian venture capital firm with €80M under management (which exited Ethical Oncology Science EOS in 2013); and 360 Capital Partners Italia Srl which with €300M under management is a Venture Capital firm, investing in Innovation at full scale, in Europe and more particularly in France and Italy.

Positive feedback came also from major corporations like CLN Group, a world leader in steel processing and mechatronics, Gala, 4th largest Italian operator of the deregulated (free) energy market, but also Banzai, the leading Italian e-commerce operator and one of the most important digital publishers. At the same time, Invitalia Ventures, in order to ensure high deal flow quality, and to add value to these key partnerships essential for the development of the Italian Venture I Fund, entered into strategic agreements with leading Italian R&D centers like the Technological Pole of Navacchio, I3Pthe Innovative Enterprise Incubator of the Politecnico of Torino, the largest Italian university based incubator and one of the best at European level, and Pni Cube, the Italian association of university incubators and business plan competitions.