When talking about start-ups and innovation in Europe, our thought immediately goes to cities like London and Berlin. Sometimes Amsterdam, or Paris.
The southern area of the old continent has so far been a little acclaimed and silent player. This area, however, is now establishing itself as the rising star of innovation, with its many interesting technological hubs – which are fertile ground for investment – and less aggressive competition among venture capitalists.
Many industry professionals are beginning to show some interest for the Mediterranean area: the Financial Times has recently elected Milan as the new start-up capital (we discussed this here); each year Madrid hosts the most influential companies in the industry at the South Summit, the event that brings together the best innovations from Southern Europe and connects them with investors from all over the world. Also, this year Lisbon will be hosting the Web Summit, the technology event that was typically held in Dublin and that gathers the representatives of the most influential tech companies worldwide.
We believe that the southern European scenario of young innovative start-ups is going through a phase of positive growth and we are not alone in this. For instance, a recent Tech.eu survey confirms the vitality of the Mediterranean ecosystem: “the Southern European tech industry is well on its way to reaching maturity and recognition as a world-class start-up ecosystem.” Similarly, a study of the Start-up Europe Partnership, the first European Commission platform that has been dedicated to new technologies, shows the extent of the Portuguese boom – a young but rapidly growing market for innovation.
Italy is an integral part in the Southern European scenario and a driving force of its change: according to the latest Aifi report, just in 2015 the investment activity in the Italian VC market saw a significant growth, reaching the second highest amount ever. During the same year, the overall capitals collected by operators in Italy totalled 2.8 billion Euros, a growth of the 92% if compared to the 1.5 billion of 2014. Besides, 342 new transactions were recorded, which have circulated over 272 companies.
These are all signals of a positive development that we knew was going to happen. Southern Europe, and Italy in the first place, is the new and fertile “womb” for start-ups and innovative companies, and could become, with the action of careful and courageous VCs, a market full of opportunities and the new destination for investment.
Italian VCs like P101, in particular, can help give birth to companies that will grow and in turn re-invest in our beautiful country.