On April 19th, on the terrace of P101 headquarters in the heart of Milan, our Investors Meeting took place. It’s our annual event in which we look back on last year’s achievements as well as taking a look at the future. A digital and hyper-connected future that is not just limited to the world of business, but influences every aspect of society and human beings. From AI to cybersecurity, to the unexpected evolution of retail, to Fintech and Deep Tech revolutionising an industry that was considered to be immune to change.
Despite still being a residual market, Italy is taking giant steps in terms of start-up quality. Without considering that precisely because of its delay in terms of digital development when compared to other nations in Europe and overseas, Italy represents a great opportunity for the pioneering companies creating digital and technological innovation in our country, and consequently for investment funds, like P101, that believe in them.
Let’s see why starting from numbers: according to PwC, throughout 2017, European VC has seen a total of 2,483 deals worth $ 17.6 billion. We are still far from the pace of US development (5,365 deals for 74,5 billion) and Asia, which has a similar number of deals to Europe (2,847) but a value that is comparable to the US ($ 70,8 billion).
For Italy, 2017 was a year of transition: of the total € 261 million that have been invested, € 80 million come from VC (dropping by 21% year on year) and € 89 million from informal investors, such as angel networks and equity crowdfunding platforms, that have seen their volume grow by 10%. The international component, which has appeared in the last two years, has had a substantial increase from € 35 to 92 million. Cumulatively, the Italian market is worth € 0,3 billion, quite far from Germany (2,8 billion) and France (2,5), and far away by € 7 billion from the UK, where there has been a growth by 87% in the last year. Nevertheless, Israel and the US are still the countries taking the global lion’s share: the former with a € 368 billion worth venture capital market, the latter with a € 250 billion VC – eight times higher than the Old Continent’s.
Gong deeper into detail, we can discover some interesting things about future trends. On the podium of the most financed industries (for invested amount and number of rounds) there are, in order, Deep Tech, FinTech and Healthcare, which together amount to € 7,6 billion. But emerging sectors are just round the corner. The big winner of 2017 has undoubtedly been AI, which has almost become a commodity and has been incorporated into every consumer and industrial product: investments in this sector are worth € 15,2 billion. Another absolute novelty of 2017 – one, however, which is facing an uphill struggle in 2018 – are ICOs. And finally, retail: on the one hand, large traditional chains have been shutting down (the emblem here is Toys’r’us), on the other, e-commerce start-ups have been opening brick-and-mortar stores in the last few years. Running start-ups and financing them means, among other things, that the future draws on the indispensable elements coming from yesterday, without turning back.