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The week in Italian startups - Issue #18
YOLO Insurance [cb], a just-in-time micro-insurance provider, announced a new €3M round raised from a syndicate led by former and new investors including Intesa Sanpaolo Vita, Neva Finventures [cb], Primomiglio SGR [cb], Banca di Piacenza, Be Shaping the Future and Crif. (disclaimer: I'm a member of the investment team @ Primomiglio SGR).
H-Farm [cb, BIT:FARM], a startup incubator & accelerator, 🇮🇹 announced a 13X return from the sale of its portfolio company Lendflo [cb] to Alfa Bank. Lendflo, a 🇬🇧 company, had previously raised capital from Apex Ventures [cb].
e-Novia, a startup factory specialized in deep-tech, 🇮🇹 raised €21M in a bond offering (paywall), partially subscribed through a crowdfunding campaign launched earlier this year (that raised a record-setting €7.6M). According to the news, the company is preparing for a IPO in the future.
As early readers probably know, I've been watching closely the crowdfunding space as it is often a viable alternative to raising angel/seed financing. But startups completing successful crowdfunding campaigns are not always the same startups that aspire to more traditional seed or VC financing. One such case might be Barberino's, a fast-growing barbershop chain and grooming products brand. The company has received commitments for €1.7M in its equity crowdfunding campaign, one of the most successful so far. And its growth metrics are actually quite good!
Investinit, a startup investment vehicle, is about to open an equity campaign to raise up to €2M, to be invested in a portfolio of startups. This is somewhat similar to angellist syndicates, but with a much broader scope. I wonder if this is a positive or a dangerous evolution (e.g. existing regulation limits access to traditional VC/PE funds just to "professional" investors. This type of vehicle gives access to an otherwise off-limits financial instrument to "retail" investors). I'm not an expert on these matters - for now, this means more liquidity for startups.
Partnerships & market news
Fresh of new funding (see issue #16), Leaf Space signed a commercial partnership with English aerospace company Smallpark Space Systems, to offer integrated ground services to UK customers.
Supermercato24 announced its rebranding as Everli, a better name to be adopted for its international expansion plans.
Is liquidity a problem for Italian Startups?
Well, maybe, I don't know. Surely we are not overwhelmed by news of M&As or IPOs. But AIM Italia, the "junior" section of Borsa Italiana (the Italian Stock Exchange), 🇮🇹 has just approved a new regulation to address this issue, introducing a new special segment dedicated to professional investors and allowing simplified listing requirements for startups and scaleups - e.g. by allowing direct listings.
All hail our new AI overlords
Twitter has been flooded by people talking about OpenAI's GPT-3 applied to designing web applications by just describing them in plain language. Should developers start looking for new jobs? Not quite yet (probably) but, surely, scaffolding a web-app is going to become much more user friendly. 🤖
Reading of the week
I sometimes discuss pricing with early-stage entrepreneurs. Pricing is extremely difficult to get right, and you can be sure that you will get it wrong a few times. But fear no more, Point Nine published a guest post with 9 tricks to experiment with pricing. I can also suggest the old-but-gold short book "Don't just roll the dice" by Neil Davidson - a bit dated but helpful.
I wonder if I should try to instruct GPT-3 to run this newsletter. It might prove a better writer than yours truly 😅 And then, should anybody develop a Turing Test for newsletters? Would it matter? To the (near?) future I leave the answers.
Enjoy your week, and as usual please forward this newsletter to anybody who might find it helpful.