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The week in Italian startups - Issue #39
Banca Generali, through its 8A+ Real Innovation fund, joined an €8m funding round in Treedom, a B-corp offering an online agroforestry projects funding platform. 8A+ invested €3m, joining previous investors such as Rancilio Cube, Sella Ventures, and others. The company was valued at €33m pre-money.
Venture capital & funds
Eureka! Venture, a tech transfer investor specialized in advanced materials and engineering, announced a second close for its Fund 1, reaching €40m.
Yannick Roux & Stefano Bernardi published their quarterly update on new funds launched in Europe in 2020. The chart below shows an aggregated view by country: Italy is quite low in the listing, with a total of €161m of new funds announced. The figure does not account for the Fondo Nazionale per l'Innovazione, the €1b program launched by the Italian government to boost Italian startups, nor for the ENEA Tech €500m technology fund. I look forward to observing the effects of these programs in the next years.
Speaking of CDP: the €200m "Startup Relaunch" fund began operating on the 7th of January. Investors are now able to access the online platform and apply their startups for funding.
M&A and strategic partnerships
Angelini Pharma acquired Swiss company Arvelle Therapeutics for USD$ 960m. 🤑
Alira Health, a life-sciences consulting firm, is not exactly an Italian company, but it has deep Italian roots. Last week it announced the acquisition of Chamow & Associates.
Generali Group and Accenture entered an agreement to create a joint venture to accelerate the digital transformation of the insurance group.
Why is Italy the place to be?
Andrea Orlando from Startup Wise Guys published a map of the Italian innovation ecosystem, trying to answer the question (and more). The map is quite packed, get ready for some "logo-spotting" exercise!
Italy vs TikTok
The Italian data protection regulator took aim at TikTok, alongside other European countries, for its alleged non-compliance with the GDPR. Fun fact: a few months ago TikTok elected Milan as HQ for its Southern European operations.
The year in Italian startups
2020 was a... complex year, but it put some Italian startups on the international map: Satispay, but also Enthera Pharmaceuticals, Genespire, Wise, and others - see the trend in fintech and life sciences?
In 2020 Italian startups also raised at least as much capital as 2019 (a record year), or a bit more, depending on the data source. This result was not an obvious one, considering the early conditions of our startup ecosystem and the still underdeveloped VC market. CDP Venture Capital helped, but its new funds started operating only in Q3 and mostly at the seed stage - not enough to move the needle. This result makes me feel optimistic about the new year: as Europe is becoming a new place to be in (several "tier 1" VCs opened up shop in the EU during 2020), I believe Italy will benefit enormously if it plays well its cards.
If you asked me for my "desiderata" regarding our ecosystem for this new year, I would vouch for:
Three or more €40m+ investment rounds (vs 2 in 2020)
Four or more international VCs investing in Italian startups, leading a seed round or beyond (excluding life sciences) (vs at least 3 in 2020)
+€200m of fresh VC capital raised during the year (vs €161m in 2020)
At least one +€100m exit (none in 2020?)
I would not go as far as calling them "predictions" for the year, but they would signal another step in the right direction, were they to happen.
Do you have any prediction/desiderata for the year? Let me know, happy to discuss!
See you in a week,