Monday, April 30, 2018

Intesa Sanpaolo and Futura Invest launch €250M Indaco Venture I Fund managed by Indaco Venture Partners SGR

Milan, 30 April 2018 – Today saw the creation of Indaco Venture Partners SGR, an asset management company that will manage the largest Italian venture capital fund, the Indaco Ventures I Fund, whose aim is to raise total funds exceeding €200M, of which the first €130M will be subscribed by 1st May 2018. 
The asset management company is run by a team of managers with a long history of success in Venture Capital (led by Davide Turco), Fondazione Cariplo and the Intesa Sanpaolo Group. The company aims to create the first Italian operator capable of competing at a European level.
Futura Invest (whose main shareholders are Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Enasarco) and Intesa Sanpaolo will hold 49% of the shares in Indaco Venture Partners SGR (24.5% each), while 51% of the Company will be owned by the five key-managers: Davide Turco (Chief Executive Officer - since 2008 Head of the Atlante Venture Fund of Intesa Sanpaolo), Elizabeth Robinson (Executive Vice-President, previously Investment Director at Quadrivio Capital SGR) and the Investment Directors Antonella Beltrame (previously Investment Director at IMI SpA SGR), Alvise Bonivento (previously Investment Director at IMI fondi chiusi SGR Atlante Ventures) and Valentina Bocca (previously Senior Investment Manager at Quadrivio Capital SGR).
The project rests firmly on the long-term experience of its managers, who have been involved in numerous successful exits on the Italian scene, such as the sales to large groups of Yogitech (acquired by Intel in April 2014) and Silicon Biosystems (acquired in september 2013 by the multinational pharmaceutical Menarini group), the IPOs of Directa Plus, Expert System, Digital Magics and H-Farm, as well as the positive exits of Igea, Mosaicoon (video content marketing platform) Timbuktu and Compass.

Indaco SGR will handle the Indaco Ventures I Fund which has already raised €130M from Intesa Sanpaolo, Fondo Italiano d'Investimento and Fondazione Cariplo
By the end of this year the Indaco Ventures I Fund aims to raise total funds exceeding €200M (up to a maximum of €250M) from Italian institutional investors and European institutions interested in the expected returns from this asset class and from its top quality management team and also in the opportunity to finance the real economy and the growth and development of innovative companies in Italy.

The Fund will invest in 20-30, mainly late-stage startup companies, operating in the following key areas: digital technology, electronics and robotics, medtech and new materials.
The Indaco I Fund has already identified two promising investments - one in the medical field and one in electronics - and has a pipeline of innovative startups that could successfully tackle the European and global market if provided with adequate capital and managerial support. The investments will focus on companies whose competitive advantages stem from cutting-edge proprietary technologies or innovations that can lead to an effective digital transformation, with Italian teams and “Made in Italy” technologies - or at the least, “Developed in Italy” - with a view to facilitating the creation of qualified jobs and, consequently, the sustainable, resilient and innovative development of our country. 

Given the extent of the funds to be raised, the Fund will have the chance to invest significant sums in the most promising companies in the portfolio, supporting them in their growth in the global markets. A limited allocation is also provided for investments in early-stage startups, but only if the prospects are based on replicable and scalable business models and that can grow globally, based on solid competitive advantages. 
In line with international best practices, the managers will hold the majority of seats on the Board of Directors of Indaco SGR, whereas two directors will be appointed by Intesa Sanpaolo and two independent directors (including the Chairman) will be chosen by Futura Invest. 
The BoD will be chaired by Salvatore Bragantini, an economist and former Consob commissioner. A key role in the process and investment decisions will be played by the management team which will be supported by leading technological advisers (so-called “technology champions”) and will benefit from analysis, reporting and advisory services from Cariplo Factory, which uses the information flows and skills from the growITup platform promoted by Cariplo Factory together with Microsoft.

We are very grateful to the investors who have believed in this project. We are convinced that Indaco Ventures will be able to help with catching up on the delay in Venture Capital in Italy, finally providing new companies, which have the greatest potential and ambitions, with the financial resources needed to make a significant leap ahead in terms of size and thus compete on equal, or nearly equal, terms with their competitors operating in contexts involving considerably larger resources for innovation,” said Davide Turco, CEO of Indaco Venture Partners SGR.

On 1 May two years ago, we announced the birth of Cariplo Factory, the first operating company of the Cariplo Foundation dedicated to the creation of employment opportunities for young people and growth in youth entrepreneurship. Cariplo Factory today is an important operator that has already created more than 6,700 employment opportunities out of the target of 10,000 that we set ourselves to achieve in three years, by placing young people in an ecosystem dedicated to innovation. An important element that was still missing has been created today with the establishment of the Indaco Fund. Venture Capital in our country is still way behind international standards. Through this fund we aim to provide those companies which show significant opportunities for growth with a vehicle that can strengthen their international competitiveness, and thus help new companies. Startups in Italy can be an important resource; we need tools and resources to strengthen them and contribute towards their growth,” said Giuseppe Guzzetti, Chairman of Fondazione Cariplo.

As indicated in the 2018–2021 Business Plan we expect to significantly boost our commitment towards Corporate Social Responsibility: we aim to become the first Impact Bank in the world, we also intend to further support the Circular Economy and we will provide support for youth entrepreneurship and new business ideas. The project we are presenting today together with Fondo Italiano d'Investimento and Fondazione Cariplo, with whom we have long shared aims and projects within this field, intends to enhance our commitment towards entrepreneurship whose primary features include Italian expertise and technology. We believe that safeguarding this sector is a strategic necessity: there is a significant increase in operations on a year-to-year basis and, similarly, strong growth in the interest shown in our market by major international players. In short, this commitment aims to stimulate competitiveness, boost new investment and confirm, once again, our support for business development,” said Carlo Messina – CEO and Managing Director of Intesa Sanpaolo.

 “The investment made in Indaco Ventures represents a continuation of the support given to the Italian venture capital market by Fondo Italiano d'Investimento, currently operating in this specific segment with a direct investment fund and with two funds of funds, plus a third in the process of being launched. In this case, we are especially pleased to contribute towards this important initiative, whose objectives are to support the development and competitiveness of the Italian system of young high-tech companies. The idea has been developed in partnership with two highly prestigious institutions, namely the Fondazione Cariplo and Intesa Sanpaolo,” said Carlo Mammola, CEO of Fondo Italiano d’Investimento SGR.

Our country has enormous potential that we need to exploit by promoting innovation within the fabric of the Italian economy: with this in mind, it is essential to support new business ideas so as to contribute towards the enrichment of our ecosystem. This matter, in our view, is of strategic importance and we have been giving impetus to it, on a global scale, with the Microsoft for Startups program that provides high-potential companies with support through an overall investment of 500 million dollars in technology and mentorship, and also on a local scale with growITup, the project we have been working on together for years with the Fondazione Cariplo to create a concrete and effective bridge between key Italian Industries and the most promising startups. The announcement today of the birth of the Indaco Ventures I Fund is a further step forward in promoting innovation in Italy and we are sure that it will contribute towards speeding up the impact of growITup in our country,” commented Silvia Candiani, Managing Director of Microsoft Italia.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sofinnova Partners leads EryDel’s €26.5 million financing

Milan, Italy, April 24th, 2018 – EryDel, an Italian biotechnology company, specializing in the administration of drugs carried by the patient's red blood cells and developing an innovative red-blood-cell-based drug delivery device for the treatment of rare neurodegenerative diseases, announced yesterday a €26.5M financing round led by Sofinnova Partners with the participation of current shareholders Genextra spa and Innogest SGR. In conjunction with the financing, Sofinnova Partners' Managing Partner Graziano Seghezzi, has joined EryDel's Board of Directors.

The company is led by founder and CEO Luca Benatti, a serial entrepreuer who previously co-founded Newron Pharmaceuticals. Based in Milan, Erydel has developed an innovative drug delivery device based on red blood cells for the treatment of rare neurodegenerative diseases. The proprietary technology is based on the encapsulation of drugs in red blood cells taken from the patient's blood, which are then re-injected into the subject. The lead product, EryDex, has received Orphan Drug designation both from the FDA and the EMA for the treatment of Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), a rare autosomal recessive disorder for which there is currently no established therapy.

EryDel will use the funds to accelerate its international development and complete the ATTEST, a single pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial of its lead product EryDex for treatment of rare neurological symptoms of Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), a rare autosomal recessive disorder for which no established theraby is currently available. ATTEST is 
currently being enrolled in Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States.

In January 2016 EryDel raised €6M from the European Horizon 2020 research program, while in May 2015 it announced the €29.5M increase in the Series B investment round started in 2013, when it announced the achievement of €15M (see here the press release). In the 2013 round he was led by Genextra, who had invested for the first time alongside the first hour investors, that is Innogest sgr and Focus Gestioni sgr (see here the press release).
Innogest SGR, with the fund Innogest Capital, and Focus Gestioni SGR (which was headed by Banca Marche), with the fund Focus Impresa, had invested for the first time in EryDel in 2008.

Erydel develops an innovative red-blood-cell-based drug delivery device for the treatment of rare neurodegenerative diseases. Its proprietary technology relies upon the encapsulation of drugs into red cells taken from the patient’s own blood which are then re-infused into the patient. EryDel’s lead product, EryDex, has received Orphan Drug designation both from the FDA and the EMA for the treatment of Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), a rare autosomal recessive disorder for which there is currently no established therapy. Next to AT, EryDel’s technology is being developed in a wide range of additional applications.
"AT is a devastating genetic neurological condition with no therapy available yet. EryDel’s technology is offering an opportunity to bringing to the market a valid option for patients suffering from the disease. We are delighted to have attracted, a world-class investor, to support key steps for regulatory approval of EryDex and to leverage potential of EryDel’s drug delivery platform”, said Luca Benatti, CEO of EryDel.

Graziano Seghezzi, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners, adds: “We have known Luca Benatti, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded Newron Pharmaceuticals (NWRN), for almost two decades and followed EryDel’s development since the beginning. We believe the company is now poised for rapid growth and are happy to actively contribute to this exciting development

About Ataxia Telangiectasia
Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT) is a rare genetic disease caused by biallelic mutations in the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) gene, for which no established therapy is currently available. ATM encodes a PI3Kinase protein shown to play a pivotal role in response to DNA damage and cell cycle control. Homozygosity for ATM mutations result in a multi-systemic disorder, mainly involving the nervous and immune systems. The major clinical feature of AT is severe progressive neurodegeneration from early infancy. Specific features include progressive ataxia of the trunk and limbs, involuntary movements, oculomotor apraxia, difficulties with speech and swallowing, and delayed peripheral neuropathy. Other clinical features of patients with the classical phenotype include oculocutaneous telangiectasia, immunodeficiency with recurrent respiratory tract infections, radiosensitivity and an increased incidence of cancer. 

About EryDel
Based in Milan, Italy, EryDel SpA is a biotechnology company specialized in the development of drugs delivered through red blood cells (RBCs) by using a proprietary medical device technology. Its most advanced product, EryDex System (EDS) is under late stage development for the treatment of Ataxia Telangiectasia, a rare autosomal recessive disorder for which no established therapy is currently available.
EryDex has received Orphan Drug designation for the treatment of AT both from the FDA and the EMA. A completed pilot Phase II trial in AT patients demonstrated statistically significant efficacy of EDS on both the primary and secondary efficacy measures. An international multi-center, Phase III pivotal study, ATTeST, is being conducted. EryDel has a pipeline of preclinical programs that use its proprietary RBC’s delivery technology for the treatment of other rare diseases. 

About Sofinnova Partners

Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm specialized in Life Sciences. Based in Paris, France, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over Europe, the US and China. The firm focuses on paradigm shifting technologies alongside visionary entrepreneurs. Sofinnova Partners seeks to invest as a lead or cornerstone investor in seed, start-ups, corporate spin-offs and late stage companies. It has backed nearly 500 companies over more than 45 years, creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €1.9 billion under management. For more information:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mapadore raises €1M in venture funding from Nuvolab and business angels

Mapadore, a Milan, Italy and London-based startup that, thanks to artificial intelligence algorithms, increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the sales process, has announced an investment round of €1M, of which €500k in capital increase and the remaining €500k in form of debt financings.

The financing round, which saw the participation of various business angels, was led by the Nuvolab accelerator in Milan, the startup accelerator founded by Francesco Inguscio and in which the startup was accelerated by Fabrizio Bosio and Francesco Inguscio itself in 2016. Headquartered in Milan and London, Mapadore offers a SaaS (software as a service) solution designed for all commercial agents and operators who perform their professional activities on the move and this investment will help the team in expanding into the international market and implementing new platform functionalities. The startup was recently mentioned by Gartner, a global leader in  strategic consulting, research and analysis in the It area, among the "Cool Vendors in CRM Sales 2018", within its report that mentions the three best applications worldwide that use artificial intelligence to increase sales.

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