Italian Business Angels: market size and investment behaviour

According to EBAN (European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds, and Early Stage Market Players), in Italy there are 9 business angel associations, for a total of 450 BAs. But if we consider the community of managers and HNWIs who invest in start-ups and are not members of a BA association, the numbers more than double.

As reported by IBAN (Italian Business Angels Network Association), the first BA association established in Italy, the size of the Italian informal venture capital market was € 26.6 million in 2017, and reached more than € 46.5 million in 2018 (+73%).

Every year IBAN undertakes a survey to understand the typical profile of the Italian business angel and his/her investment behaviour. The 2018 Survey confirms the outcomes of the 2017 Survey (link at the end of the article).

The typical Italian BA is a man between 30 and 50 years; only one investment out of five is made by a woman.

The BA who promotes an investment within the association (the “champion”), contributes to the development of the start-up mainly with his/her strategic skills and business contacts.

More than 50% of Italian BAs prefer to co-invest in Investor Clubs or BA groups, in order to increase the financial contribution and reduce risk.

The most attractive sectors are ICT (web app, mobile, software), e-commerce and financial services.

Crowdfunding is used by Italian BAs to finance a limited number of companies (29% in 2018) with a very low average investment (around € 15.000).

The preferred type of company to finance is a start-up with revenues and a proven business model, and it is usually based in the north of Italy; approx. 15% of total investments are related to companies located abroad. Only few BAs provide seed money (approx. 15%) and invest in the later expansion stage (2%). 

The most important elements analysed by the Italian BA when assessing an entrepreneurial initiative are:

  • the features of the product/service
  • the market growth potential
  • the possibility to contribute to the development of the start-up

SOURCES:

You can find the detailed 2017 statistics produced by EBAN at the following link: http://www.eban.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/EBAN-Statistics-Compendium-2017.pdf

Comments (in Italian) of the IBAN 2018 survey at the following link: https://bebeez.it/files/2019/06/280619_CS_SurveyIBAN2018.pdf

Comments (in Italian) of the IBAN 2017 survey at the following link: https://bebeez.it/files/2018/07/CS_Survey-Iban-2017.pdf