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Change of pace for the Italian venture capital

NewsFromThePlatform | October 4th, 2018

Many exits, investments constantly above 1million Euros and interest by foreign companies. These are the highlights of a market that is becoming more and more significant

The Italian venture capital is scaling up. We are starting to see important numbers and invested start-ups are entering the range of interest of international companies. And the first exits, like the new funding rounds, are all six-digit figures.

In July we collected data from different reports and predicted (here) a change in pace in terms of market size, which would reach the target of 0.5 billion Euros by the end of the year. Looking at the last three months, we can state that it was a realistic estimate: between July and September, Italy has had 20 funding rounds (which add to the previous 31 in H1 2018) collecting 64.2 million Euros, according to Startupitalia. So, in the last nine months, Italian start-ups have raised 307 million Euros from venture capital funds.

Certainly these numbers are still just drops in the sea of international VC and European VC. In Europe the United Kingdom, France, Germany, even Spain, travel on overall values of 7; 2.8; 2.5 and 1 billion Euros (data from 2017 by Dealroom.co).

The European start-up market is worth more than 19 billion Euros: in Italy, instead, Aifi shows a total value of 133 million Euros that were collected in early stage rounds in 2017. This figure has not changed over the years.

But this year’s numbers are not ephemeral. New dynamics are stirring the market showing that Italian VC is finally entering a phase of maturity, or at least it’s experiencing a change of pace.

  • Venture capital teams have launched new, bigger funds. We have done so ourselves with Programma 102 (which has a collection target of 120 million Euros). This greater capacity is bearing its fruits: in the first six months of the year, 31 operations were finalized, and 20 more in Q3. VC funds’ higher financial availability allows them to operate larger deals. And this represents a structural change that could generate surprising results.
  • There are less investments under one million Euros, while multi-millionaire investments are increasing. For example, in September, Satispay finalized a 15 million Euros funding round that was launched in July, Altheia closed an investment of 9.3 million Euros and Credimi closed a round worth 10 million Euros. In July, Velasca – the digital brand of high-quality Made-in-Italy shoes – was funded with 2.5 million Euros; 1.5 million Euros were invested in the big data company Wonderflow (also the first start-up being funded by Programma 102, our second investment fund).
  • 2018 has seen its first exits. First of all Musement, acquired by the German giant TUI. From now on, the German tour operator’s customer base of 20 million travellers will be able to use the Musement’s services, to discover and book tours and attractions all over the world. TUI Group will have access to Musement’s technology, advanced skills and a wide range of city experiences worldwide.
  • The last – but not least – evidence of the maturity of the Italian VC market is that it has entered the radar of international companies – as the Musement/TUI case shows. Another case is the Spanish scale-up ForceManager acquiring Sellf, the Italian start-up operating in the field of mobile solutions for sales teams. The goal of this integration is to create an advanced CRM platform that, through gamification, artificial intelligence and the Italian design of the user experience, can become a market benchmark.