Italian start-ups closed rounds for an overall amount of 480 million Euros in 2018. Deals that were worth at least 3 million euros amounted to a total of 408 million Euros. Italy is preparing to reap the benefits of government measures, while the quantity and quality of innovative start-ups that can compete in a global context is rising. The ecosystem is becoming stronger and can bring Italy on the roof of the world, reviving national economy
2018 was the turning point for Italian venture capital. For several reasons, which relate to the size of the market – which last year grew to 5 times the size it had reached in the previous 6 years, when it stationed at 100 million euros – and to the greater quantity and higher quality of start-ups and specialized operators. 2019 started in the wake of this acceleration and was also supported by a new focus by the institutions, which is contributing to build a solid ecosystem of innovation in Italy and for Italy.
We have discussed this recent developments and the near future during the 2019 Investors Meeting that took place yesterday on the terrace of P101, in the heart of Milan.
Our third report on venture capital development in Italy (realized in collaboration with BeBeez) shows that, in 2018, Italian (or founded by Italian) start-ups and scaleups announced rounds for an overall value of 480 million euros (144 million euros in 2017). Certainly, this growth is part of a general European and world trend, but it is important to note that Italy experienced a significant reduction in the number of deals, which means that deals are bigger: over 408 of the abovementioned 480 million euros came from deals that collected 3 million euros or more. 316 million euros came from funding rounds of over 10 million euros. Therefore, the Italian venture capital is finally able to finance the growth, and not just the start-up phase, of innovative companies.
Italian start-ups are over 10 thousand and are showing higher quality and innovative ideas allowing them to compete internationally. Often, when venture capital meets them, they already have a strong structure, with efficient and profitable business models. Moreover, they are increasingly able to attract international funding. This helps in the exit phase: exit trends consolidated during 2018. For example, in September 2018, the German tourism giant TUI Group acquired Musement, the scaleup from Milan that helps you discover and book tours and tourist attractions all over the world and that collected 15 million euros since its foundation. Always in September 2018, the Spanish scaleup Force Manager, that collected $ 15.7 million by venture capitalists, bought Sellf, the Italian start-up that developed a CRM app dedicated to sale networks.
Last, but not least, operators have increased in number and the capital available to new funds is higher. Our second fund Program 102, for example, was born in 2018. This means that VC funds can close more and bigger operations, as we have seen.
A structural change that could generate surprising results. Especially with the positive effects that the measures contained in the 2019 Budget Law could have on the market.
In short, however slowly, the Italian innovation ecosystem is revealing its potential. And it will allow Italy to compete in the international context with a leading role.