Newsletter #1. Italian innovation: € 5 billion in 5 years. 3 of which in 2021

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Startups and scaleups with an Italian DNA (Italian founders based in Italy or abroad) have raised over 5 billion euros in the last 5 years: of these, 2.9 billion were raised by Italian companies based in Italy and 2.2 billion by Italian companies based abroad.

Just in 2021, the total amount raised by Italian startups and scaleups was € 2.9 billion that were distributed over 534 transactions. In 2020, instead, the total collection had been € 780 million in 306 operations. The year before, €605 million in 244 operations.

This acceleration doesn’t stop: the first months of 2022 have begun with a record collection: Scalapay, a scaleup based in Italy, closed a $ 497 million round.

In 2021, the internationalization of VC intensified: both Italian-based and Italian-founded companies grew and attracted international investors. At the same time, Italian venture capital funds are growing and investing in companies outside Italy. Not just VC funds are investing abroad, but corporates too: they pursue open innovation with no geographical limits, they look for innovation where it is born.

In Italy, in 2021 a growing number and variety of investors entered the Venture Capital market: alongside specialized funds, also investment holdings, corporates, business angels, equity crowdfunding platforms, incubators and accelerators. Here’s a complete list of operations and operators.

A large part of last year's collection went to 20 companies that collected an overall amount of 2.05 billion euros. Many of these scaleups were founded by Italians outside of Italy, particularly in the US or UK, to more easily develop a global business model (details here). The top-ranking scaleup, Sysdig, is a good example of this: a San Francisco-based company, founded by Italian Loris Degioanni, it closed a $ 188 million round in April, followed by a $ 350 million one. ScalaPay, founded by Simone Mancini and Johnny Mitrevski, also closed two deals in 2021, ckjollecting $ 48 million in January and then a $ 155 million in September.

The third place of this podium goes to TrueLayer, a UK-based scaleup, founded by the Italians Francesco Simoneschi and Luca Martinetti, which also closed two rounds last year: $ 70 million and $ 130 million respectively.

Within Italy but also at a larger “Italian matrix” level, the innovation market is starting to have a scale and a track record that were unimaginable ten years ago, when we, as P101, were among the first VC funds in Italy. What I think is striking is the increasingly cross-border dimension that the Italian innovation system is approaching. I believe that the previously limited size of available funds has been among the key elements of this situation, as Italian entrepreneurs have been able to create and develop companies that – thanks to accurate economics and healthy business models – are now being appreciated by international investors. Besides, this system also results in attentive investors who can accompany and guide the growth of companies, as well as supporting them economically" stated Andrea Di Camillo, founder and Managing Partner of P101 sgr.

Finally, if we consider the years 2016-2021, 40 scaleups made highest collection: 3.7 of the total amount of 5.1 billion euros that were raised by all the mapped startups and scaleups. Of these 40, 16 were founded by Italians abroad, and have collected 2.4 million euros. In 2021 there were 35 investments by Italian VCs in foreign startups and scaleups and 15 secondary investments in foreign companies (details here).

Methodological note: the data collected in this research consider the full spectrum of investors who have publicly communicated their investments to the press

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