Our Bet on Italy

Andrea Di Camillo, Managing Partner at P101 | April 20th, 2016

Our challenge for the year 2016 is to fulfill the promise we made in 2015 – that is, that companies in which we have invested will grow and become big employers and important economic realities of 2016, 2017 and all the years to come. Italy has always been a country of entrepreneurs: just think that there are 4 million businesses in our country and, of these, 1 million are limited companies, and as such have been start-ups at least 1 million times.

To date, we can count on 5,000 Italian start-ups as well on recently launched measures that have been designed to support these new realities. Despite this, new Italian businesses have received 1/50 of the funds distributed, for instance, to startups in neighboring Israel. This is a curious situation if we think that Italy has a lot of brilliant minds and good projects, and funds do not really lack. The point is that some entrepreneurs want to bet on Italy and seize a big opportunity, while others still fear to do so. To “do” venture capital evidently means to take on an adventure, and adventures are themselves risky: our compatriots have no desire to take such a risk.

Italian start-ups that have already proved they can do a lot, and well, on a global scale, are many. The buzz is particularly lively in those areas where Italy is best known: art, tourism, food and wine. These are industries where our startups, today, albeit with few resources, are making great progress.

For instance, I believe that Cortilia will realize its bet for 2016, namely to become leader in the distribution of local agricultural products throughout the National territory. This is because today the food delivery business amounts to 400 million Euros. In the tourism sector, the multimodal travel solutions proposed by Waynaut stand as the true new frontier for movement. Indeed, digital tourism is already worth around 10 billion Euros, i.e. the 20% of the entire travel industry. Also the interest in tourist attractions and additional services offered by Musement is growing fasts. Last but not least, a rapidly developing field such as that of FinTech, which is now a trend and is bringing big changes to the entire banking system, can only assure us that Borsa del Credito will win its bet: they will enable small Italian firms to regain access to credit through an innovative method, namely, 24-hour online credit.

Beautiful things are not easy, for this reason our challenge is to use all our energy – ours and that of our private and institutional investors – to keep the focus on Italian start-ups during time and manage, one day, to see the companies in which we have invested become benchmarks in their respective industries. This would make us proud – which we think is even more important than the economic return of our investment.

There is just one thing that none of us feel like betting on: that Giuseppe Donvito, partner of P101, will be able to play tennis for 3 minutes against Roger Federer!

Video and photo by Luca Catasta