The future of Italian venture capital: notes from Made in Italy 2020

Giuseppe Donvito, Partner P101 | April 13th, 2017

Explore the opportunities and challenges of the Italian venture capital in Europe, enhance and promote Italian digital excellence in the world: these were the objectives of the second edition of Made in Italy 2020, the event held in the Westminster British Parliament building and promoted by iStarter, the Italian accelerator in London. The meeting, which will be replicated in Beijing (October) and New York (January), was attended by more than 200 guests, including international VCs, Italian VCs, funds of funds, and start-ups. P101 Ventures took part to the event along with some of the biggest British and European investment funds.

The convention also hosted the presentation of 10 start-ups, selected by iStarter with the help of key players of the Italian venture capital landscape: among them, P101 subsidiaries BeMeEye and Velasca. The selected companies were all founded by Italian entrepreneurs and distinguished themselves for their innovative talent and the appeal of their projects at an international level.

Giuseppe Donvito, Partner of P101 Ventures, took the stage for a conversation with angel investor U-Start and growth equity General Atlantic. The talk focussed on the themes of the constant development of the Italian start-up ecosystem, the macroeconomic factors that mark its revival, the growing number of foreign investors that are increasingly interested in the Italian start-up market, the role of Italy in the international – and European in particular – venture capital scene.

What does the Italian VC need to make the quantum leap that would bring it to the level of the rest of Europe? What our ecosystem lacks is a coherent and cohesive development of the whole “chain”, from the moment of family&friends and seed investment to late stage. And late stage is exactly that part of the chain that the Italian start-up system needs in order to be complete. What is needed, also, is to strengthen and implement the exit phase, somehow “educating” Italian corporate companies to the idea of acquiring start-ups. This would be an opportunity for growth and development of the very companies that, acquiring innovative start-ups, would keep pace with the digital disruption. And the entire venture capital system would benefit from exits in terms of liquidity. Finally, the Italian system should mature both in terms of start-up growth and in terms of available venture capital funds.