Friday, January 29, 2016

Smartika completes €4.52M capital increase led and structured by Hamilton Ventures

Milan, January 29, 2016 - The italian Social Lending platform Smartika has announced a capital increase of €4.52M. The deal, already approved by the Bank of Italy, has been coordinated and structured by London-based Hamilton Ventures, a merchant banking boutique focused on investment in Tech and FinTech sectors and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The new resources will be used for investments necessary for growth and to consolidate the leadership of
Smartika in the Peer to Peer Lending in Italy, the alternative way to borrow and lend money between individuals.
"New forms of economy and finance, based on the combination of Internet-sharing, are taking place in our country and, at a time where personal loans amount to €25 billion, of which €1.3 billion is granted online, thinking that the total throughput of the private loans will expand in the next 2-3 years to €300M is more than realistic" said Maurizio Sella, Chairman of
The capital increase was also the occasion for the definition and formalization of the new Governance of Smartika:
Maurizio Sella as Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Luciano Manzo as CEO.Directors: Tommaso Pompei, Gustavo Perrotta, Pierluigi Loy Donà, Stephen Andrew Fitch, Pierpaolo Guzzo.
"The new resources that Smartika will benefit from, thanks to this important capital increase" adds CEO Luciano Manzo "are intended to strengthen the leadership of our platform for
private loans thus strengthening its organizational structure, in particular by strengthening the IT, the Credit, Communications and Marketing departments. "
"A very interesting and certainly 'disruptive' reality in the financial sector, with a management team with proven experience. With great enthusiasm, we stand alongside a company in constant growth and with important perspectives, "said Gustavo Perrotta, CEO of
Hamilton Ventures. 
Smartika announces so the beginning of a new course, which aims to disseminate and promote in Italy the culture of Social Lending, i.e. a step towards abandoning traditional forms of intermediation and in pursuit of greater efficiency and convenience for all parties involved .
Smartika SpA Spa, a company founded in 2012 with headquarters in Milan, works in Social Lending as a Payment Institution regulated and supervised by the Bank of Italy, as financial operator authorized pursuant to Legislative Decree no. 11/2010 to provide payment services, disbursed on education of providers and the applicants.
Hamilton Venture Capital Ltd ("Hamilton Ventures"), founded in 2009 and based in London, is an independent merchant banking boutique active mainly in the Technology and FinTech space. The company, regulated by the FCA, is led by Gustavo Perrotta and Sir Peter Middleton and offers privileged access to investment opportunities internationally.More information about it on

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Faceit raises $15M in Series A Funding Round from Anthos Capital, Index Ventures and United Ventures.

Faceit, a British startup that operates an online multiplayer platform, has closed a  $15M Series A funding round and is now aiming to expand in the United States.

Backers include Anthos Capital (Menlo Park, CA), Index Ventures (San Francisco, CA) and United Ventures (Milan, Italy) arriving after Faceit raised $2M last year from United Ventures. The company said it will use the investment to expand its team and continue to improve the technology and platform.
Faceit this month has opened an office in Los Angeles, aiming to achieve partnerships with developers, publishers and other partners based in America.

Founded in London in 2012 and led by CEO Niccolò Maisto, COO Michele Attinasi and Alessandro AVallone Chief Gaming Officer, Faceit is an online gaming platform allowing players to participate in tournaments and leagues with prizes through match making and management of automated tournaments. Its active users compete in at least 3 or more games per day. For developers the company offers a software development kit (SDK) to integrate into matchmaking and tournaments of their titles to allow players of all levels to participate in the competitive online gameThe company claims to have over 3.5 million gamers on its eSports platform. 

"With these investments, we will be able to achieve three major objectives for the platform: a strong community for competitive players and organizers, easy deployment for developers and for the personalization of the brands linked to products and services" Niccolo Maisto, founder and CEO of FaceIt says announcing investments.

Last year Faceit worked with several partners of the ecosystem of eSports, including Twitch of Amazon, Valve and Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting and WME/IMG, which formed its online-gaming league, ELeague, and plans to broadcast it on TV.

"Faceit has demonstrated the ability to build successful partnerships with publishers, large media companies and other leaders in the field." Index Ventures partner Ben Holmes, said in a statement.

Friday, January 22, 2016

D-Eye raises €1.5M in Venture Funding from Innogest, Invitalia Ventures and the Cottino Foundation

InnogestInvitalia Ventures, Foundation Cottino, with Si14, the current shareholder of the company and managers, have invested €1.5M in D-Eye, a Padua, Italy-based startup that has developed a patented optical device, compatible with most of the smartphones on the market, which allows the examination of the retina using the camera and the lighting system where each device is already equipped.

Born thanks to the intuition of ophthalmologist Andrea RussoD-Eye is proposed as a platform to revolutionize screening of retina diseases and the follow-up of millions of patients affected by chronic pathologies, making it possible to track, sharing and the compare retinal images collected through a simple smartphone equipped with the optical D-Eye. In addition to the device developed, the D-Eye solution provides the use of a proprietary app and a cloud platform through which the user can manage its own database of images according to the standards of HIPAA security and access sharing services and analysis of the same.

With this solution, D-Eye aims to position itself as a benchmark in the market for ophthalmic diseases - from the Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Macular Degeneration), whose treatment costs each year more than six billion dollars worldwide - a sector hunting innovation at the service of screening, access to care, quality and adequacy of follow-up.

In 2015, with the support of engineering pole Si14 of Padua, the company completed the development of the hardware and initiated the creation of the cloud platform through which services will be provided in support of doctors and patients. The introduction in the next few months of the cloud technology enables complete the D-Eye solution made up today by the device and the app, already bought and tested by over a thousand of doctors worldwide, making it an indispensable tool for professionals who deal daily with illnesses of the retina.

To lead the company is CEO Richard Sill, who has an extensive experience in the corporate sector such as Bausch&Lomb, and later co-founder and CEO of Magellan, one of the first companies to realize GPS satellite navigation dedicated to the consumer market. The operations and research center of D-Eye is based in Italy, Padua, while the commercial and business development are located in the United States, in close contact with the strong demand for innovation in the industry, and numerous clinical studies will be brought out in collaboration with research centers and universities around the world.

D-Eye is the first investment of the Italian Venture I Fund and reflects the fund mission to focus on startups that have a major positive impact on the lives of people and the ambition to grow internationally. The intersection between digital and health is one of the key areas where Italian innovation has the opportunity to express large-scale projects. D-Eye has the potential to play this game. 

The market which the D-eye solution addresses is not a niche, as it target itself as a complement to all the other tools already present in clinical ophthalmology and its flexible nature ensures applications also in other contexts. The potentials of doing business that D-Eye looks at translate it into the target (certainly ambitious) to become a benchmark in the field of ophthalmic diseases, starting with macular degeneration, a chronic disease of the retina, whose treatment costs globally more than six billion dollars a year and that in Italy is worth between 400 and 500 million Euros.
The immediate challenge is to integrate mobile services D-Eye in routine activities of all those involved: patients, doctors, health workers, optometrists, pharmaceutical companies and even insurance and bodies public reimbursement. The second step is to make the solution a screening platform and remote monitoring that can also be used in other fields of medicine, from the dermatological to that otorhinolaryngological one. The D-Eye technology, in this sense, allows tracking and sharing of images generated by smartphones through an app (already purchased and tested for over a thousand doctors worldwide) and a cloud system that enable the 'access and analysis of data collected in a dedicated database. In the coming years new financing round are to be expected.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Get Your Bill receives €390k Seed Funding from Aldabra Capital and Italian Angels for Growth (IAG): valuation at €1.9M

Two investors support the start-up company from Udine (Italy) Get Your Bill, the invoicing software using the POS terminal, receives a financing of €390.000 and is valued at €1.9 million Objective: expand across the Italian market. Many advantages for all stakeholders in the value chain.
Udine, January 12, 2016 - Ultroneo, the start-up company that created Get Your Bill, has attracted its first investors. The software enabling the issuing  of invoices through the POS terminal has obtained the support of a group of members Italian Angels for Growth (IAG), the main business angel group in Italy,  and of Aldabra Capital: the 2 entities have invested jointly €390,000 for 20,7% of the shares, valuing the company at €1,900,000. A very encouraging result for a company born in 2014 and active in the busy world of the payments industry. Get Your Bill led by Alvise Abù-Khalil, - President of Ultroneo - uses the standard POS terminal of the merchant, identifies the buyer through his payment card and collects from a database in cloud, in just a couple of seconds, the necessary information for the preparation of an invoice: company name, address, VAT number...The application sits on the POS next to the payment application and is compliant with the EMV security requirements. Get Your Bill, also offers a centralized archive of invoices to enable an easier administration”.
The entry of the Business Angels of (IAG) and Aldabra Capital enables Ultroneo to realize its IT plan, which will enrich the basis version of the platform with new functionalities, as well as the marketing plan that will drive Ultroneo into the leadership on the Italian market. Carlo Asquini, the representative of IAG, who has  strongly supported the investment and Renato Giacobbo Scavo, the CEO of Aldabra and expert of financial services, have both expressed their satisfaction.
“The commercialization of the service has started in October – tells Nicolas Ancot, the Marketing Director of Ultroneo with an important experience at Visa - and the business model is designed in a way that it is the  acquiring bank that sells the service to its merchant.
Initially supported by the incubator Technoseed of  Friuli Innovazione - the research and technology transfer center of the region Friuli Venezia Giulia -, Ultroneo has already signed agreements with Consorzio Triveneto (supplier in payments services for various banks among which Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Monte dei Paschi di Siena) and Easy Nolo (payments operator for Banca Sella). Agreements with the other Italian payments operators are well advanced.” Get Your Bill offers advantages to all users of its service and to all actors in the invoicing value chain:
  • The buyer: tax savings (possibility to deduct more invoices and recover VAT on them, even for smaller amounts), speed (no more queues at the cash register), simplicity (all invoices available in cloud, for an easier and more automated administration), security (secure archive of the invoices), access (through smartphone or any other device).
  • The merchant: simplicity (no more queues and waste of time at the cash register for invoices, all invoices available in cloud for an easier and more automated administration), advantageous (possibility to make the customer loyal through a service that is both useful and free).
  • The banks and payment schemes: the possibility to offer Value Added Services to more merchants and customers, enabling thereby the use of electronic payments.
  • The accountants: simplification of all the accountancy, through a system in cloud that is simple, secure, fast and structured.
Ultroneo s.r.l. is an Italian innovative start-up. Founded in 2014, the company is partly owned by a spin-off of Udine University. The company mission is the creation of innovative services, in Italy and abroad, capable of adding value to the payment transactions. Get Your Bill, the fast lane for your invoice, is the first service to be proposed by Ultroneo s.r.l. and is a registered mark.

Aldabra Capital operates since 2011 as a financing holding for innovative startups for early stage investments. Its industries of reference are electronic payments (2 investments), digital transformation (3 investments), data management (2 investments) and hi-tech (2 investments). The management team of Aldabra supports the start-ups in a very direct and operational way, leveraging on its experience, its network and various professional services (legal, marketing and management control).

Italian Angels for Growth (IAG) is the major angel group in Italy. It was founded by nine business angels in 2007 and has today more than 120 partners representing one of the most solid associations of European angel investing.
IAG has developed through its partners and the involvement of other operators, investments in  venture capital for about €24M divided into 43 rounds of investment.
IAG partners have contributed to the birth and growth of 28 innovative ventures, excellence in research, technological development and entrepreneurial Italian spirit including  Angiodroid, Agroils, Biogenera, Cellply, Drexcode, Eugea, GreenBone, GipStech, Inventia, Lovli, Margherita Fingerguard, Musement, Ohikia, ProxToMe, Qurami, SediciDodici, Spreaker, Winmedical.

Monday, January 11, 2016

E-Health: Atlantis Ventures and Innogest join $10M Funding Round in Pi-Cardia with other Foreign Investors

Atlante Ventures, the fund of the Intesa Sanpaolo group dedicated to venture capital, and Innogest, currently the largest Venture Capital firm in Italy focused on seed and early-stage ventures with more than €170 million under management, announced their participation to a $10 million investment round on Pi-Cardia Ltd, an Israeli medical device start-up company developing a novel low profile catheter for the treatment of aortic stenosis. Backers include also Chinese fund VI-Ventures and existing investors Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd, the largest life sciences holding company in Israel, and Anatomy Medical Technologies Fund. The main part of the investment has been completed by a new strategic investor who has remained anonymous, but it would be a big corporate venture abroad.

Pi-Cardia, founded in 2009, has headquarters in the Israeli city of Rehovot, where it developed the Leaflex Catheter System, a novel non-implant innovative based technology for treating of patients with aortic valve stenosis. The Leaflex is a low-profile trans-femoral catheter incorporating unique Nitinol elements, which are optimized for delivering mechanical energy to create substantial fractures in valve calcification. These fractures help restore the mobility of the tissue and to improve valve hemodynamics using a short and simple procedure without the need to implant a new valve.

The design of Leaflex was based on the company's extensive research in the last few years on calcium growth patterns in hundreds of human aortic valves. Pi-cardia's Leaflex technology and mechanism of action are fundamentally different from thos of balloon-based (BAV) devices, in that instead of simply dilating the valve, which might lend itself to the short-term recoil seen in patients treated with BAV, the Leaflex creates multiple targeted fractures at optimal locations of valve calcifications thereby restoring leaflet mobility. This unique fracturing method, while preserving the native valve integrity, may facilitate valve replacement therapies, as well as pave the way for providing durable treatment without implanting a new valve.

Pi-Cardias aims to expand the treatment options in the rapidly growing multi-billion dollar amrket currently dominated by surgical or trans-catheter aortic valve replacement (SAVR/TAVR). 

It is a rare case in which the two Italian funds invest on foreign startups that point on Italy. Indeed, Pi-Cardia wants to invest in Italy. The goal is to receive the CE mark that allows to market the product in Europe and launch a pilot clinical trial in the United States. And to manage this process, the Israeli startup plans to create a research center in Italy, probably in Lombardy, from which it will coordinate all the clinical, regulatory and business development activities in Europe. In 2015, Pi-Cardia successfully completed enrolling the first set of patients in its FIM study in Europe, demonstrating safety and feasibility of the procedure. The funds raised would allow the company to complete the development of a second generation device, and to continue the clinical studies for showing its safety and performance, towards CE-mark.