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The week in Italian startups - Issue #22
D-Orbit [cb], a startup offering satellite deployment, moving, and decommissioning services, was granted a €15M financing facility from the European Investment Bank. The funds will support "environmentally-sustainable" R&D investments by the company.
Speaking of the EIB, they also approved a €30M loan to support the development of EryDel's [cb] red blood cell technology to treat rare diseases.
ArteOlio 🇮🇹 raised €5.8M from Banco BPM and VERTEQ Capital. The round is interesting since the company is acquiring and developing 500 hectares of olive trees in Tuscany, to produce top-quality EVO oil by adopting cutting edge technology to improve productivity (and marginality).
VAR Group, a consulting & technology integration company, 🇮🇹 acquired 10% of IoT startup Apio [cb]. The two have been collaborating for the last couple of years, co-developing Trusty, a blockchain-based food tracking service.
I have talked before about the Italian government strategy to invest €1Bn in Italian startups, through the creation of 7 different funds managed by CDP Venture Capital. Well, the "Startup Accelerators" fund began operations in July, and a couple of weeks ago 🇮🇹 CDP Venture Capital announced on LinkedIn the approval of an aggregate investment of €8M in 50 startups. An additional €14M in co-investments were committed by angels and other professional investors.
Technology Transfer gets a new boost
The Italian Ministry for Economic Development 🇮🇹 approved the creation of the Enea Tech Foundation, an institution with a target capital allocation of €500M and the goal to invest in technology transfer projects and technology startups. The Foundation will be managed by ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development.
We are not new at this: in 2016 we had the ITATech initiative, a €200M fund-of-funds that served as anchor investor for 5 privately-managed VC funds selected by the EIF.
This time, the government decided to keep the capital in-house. Since ENEA has no strong history as a direct investor, I expect that operators from the Italian ecosystem will be involved.
While in many areas in the world the number of new positives rises again, Italian companies have entered the race for finding a vaccine to SARS-COV-2. Here's a couple of the latest developments:
Last week official tests on an Italian vaccine were started at the Spallanzani Institute. The candidate vaccine is being developed by Lazio-based biotech company Reithera.
Indigo.ai and Centro Medico Santagostino joined forces in developing Record, an NLP service to help researchers in querying data related to COVID-19. The project was developed in response to the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge (CORD-19). Indigo offers a more technical description of Record in a blog post.
Reading this week
Angular Ventures' Gil Dibner published a report on Enterprise & Deep Tech VC in Europe & Israel. Italy is still almost non-existent on these (quite detailed) charts 😤, but at least they chose a beautiful picture of the Duomo of Milan as the cover image.
Welcome to the new subscribers! Thanks to Azeem Azhar's Exponential View for mentioning my humble newsletter (if you don't read EV already, you should definitely sign up).
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Have a great week,