January 10, 2022 Ecosystem

New venture capital operators for Italy: VC funds and investment initiatives announced in 2021

2021 was a significant year for the Italian venture capital industry. For the first time in Italian history, investments into startups exceeded the threshold of € 1 billion, with unprecedented annual growth (for more details: “Investments in Italian startups reached € 1.46 billion in 2021, +118% on 2020”).

Below you find a list (in alphabetical order) of some of the new venture capital funds, club deals and investment initiatives dedicated to startup investments in Italy, announced in 2021.

Agreen Capital, the first club deal arranger, focused on sustainable, healthy and special European Food & Beverage and Food Tech industry ESG high standard compliant, with offices in Lugano and Amsterdam. The company raised its first € 60 million soft commitment from Italian and international investors out of a final target of € 100 million.

AliCrowd, the first venture capital ELTIF promoted by Azimut, raised € 25 million on a crowdfunding platform, Mamacrowd, to select qualified investment targets.

BlackSheep Ventures, the first venture capital fund in Europe to invest in the madtech (acronym for marketing, advertising, and technology) sector, i.e. high-potential technology companies focused on artificial intelligence, big data and automation applied to the marketing and advertising sector. The fund raised € 40 million and targets € 100 million and 25 investments in Italy and Europe over the next 5 years.

Claris Ventures SGR announced the final closing of the “Claris Biotech I” fund and “Claris Biotech I – Parallel Fund” for a total amount of € 85 million. The capital raised will be mainly invested in new biotech companies in Italy developing drugs to treat diseases with the high clinical need.

Corporate Partners I Fund, a € 192 million corporate venture capital fund launched by CDP Venture Capital SGR (National Innovation Fund) to involve leading Italian companies in investments in innovative Italian startups and SMEs in the country’s most strategic sectors. The fund targets € 400 million.

Credem, an Italian bank, launched, together with GELLIFY, a corporate venture capital program aimed at investing in seed and early-stage fintech, supply chain, and cybersecurity startups.

CyberXcelerator, the startup accelerator dedicated to cybersec & AI startups, is part of the CDP’s National Accelerator Network. The program will be managed by Startup Wise Guys and based in Cosenza, in the south of Italy. CDP Venture Capital SGR and the industrial partners (Leonardo, Ntt Data) will commit € 5 million to support 30 startups in the next three years.

Evolution Fund, a € 100 million fund launched by CDP Venture Capital SGR (National Innovation Fund) with the aim of investing directly in Series A and B rounds of innovative startups and SMEs operating in segments with high growth potential and high national strategic interest, in particular: artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, biotech, medtech, new materials and quantum computing.

Faros, the startup accelerator for startups operating in the blue economy, is part of the CDP’s National Accelerator Network. The accelerator will select the best startups in logistics and port automation, sustainable use of marine resources and coastal tourism. The program is implemented together with a|cube, an accelerator and incubator focused on entities with a high social and environmental impact and with the international accelerator PortXL, a world leader in the acceleration of startups in the port and maritime sectors.

Forward Factory, the startup accelerator dedicated to digital manufacturing, is part of the CDP’s National Accelerator Network. The program is carried out together with GELLIFY, Azimut Libera Impresa and other leading companies operating in the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

FuturED, the startup accelerator dedicated to Italian edutech startups, is part of the CDP’s National Accelerator Network. The program is managed with H-Farm and other industrial partners, with up to € 3 million in available capital for selected startups.

Italia500, a € 40 million VC fund promoted by Azimut and managed by P101, targets retail investors (with minimum investment tickets of € 5,000).

Kairos Ventures ESG One, the venture capital fund of Kairos (asset and wealth management Group), aims to raise € 100 million. The fund will invest in innovative startups and SMEs (early and late stage) in four sectors: digital transformation in B2B (including blockchain, 5G, big data, internet of things, artificial intelligence), life sciences (diagnostics, veterinary, medtech), new space economy (drones, space tourism, satellite internet) and technologies for energy from renewable sources, bioenergy and smart cities.

LCA Ventures, the venture capital company referable to as the partners of LCA Studio Legale.

Levante Capital, an SIS (simple investment company) that invests in Southern European technology companies and assists them in their development in Asia. (For more details, read: “Interview with Edoardo Agamennone, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Levante Capital”).

Linfa Venture, the first venture capital fund focused on innovation in the agri-food chain by Riello Investimenti Partners SGR, an alternative fund management company that has been active in private equity and private debt. (For more details, read: “Interview with Marco Gaiani, Founder and Fund Manager of Linfa Ventures”).

Milano Investment Partners SGR (MIP SGR) announced the creation of a Venture Capital platform through several alternatives and reserved investment funds, differentiated by the growth stage of the companies as per portfolio and geographical area. In particular, MIP announced the launch of U-Start Ventures, the fund dedicated to club deals through the activation of single deal sub-funds, and Cliffs, a VC fund for investments in the deep-tech vertical, mainly in early-stage companies and in the US market.

Neva First, the first VC fund of Neva SGR (the former Neva Finventures), which raised € 150 million at the first closing. Neva SGR is the new VC management company into which Neva Finventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Intesa Sanpaolo, has been transformed. The focus of the fund will be both Italian and international startups in fintech, and cybersecurity, cloud computing, AI, 5G and blockchain.

Neva First Italia, a second VC fund launched by Neva SGR dedicated solely to the Italian market and 100% subscribed by the FoF VenturItaly fund of funds and the Ministry for Economic Development co-investment fund exclusively managed by CDP Venture Capital SGR. The goal is to invest in Italian tech, deeptech and fintech companies undergoing rapid growth and expansion.

Oltre III, the new venture capital fund of Oltre Impact SGR, raised over € 53 million at the first closing, with a total target of € 100 million by 2022.

Primo Digital, the new fund of Primo Ventures (formerly Primomiglio), with a fundraising target of € 80 million. The new fund will invest in Italian startups, particularly software, digital retail, cybersecurity, fintech and blockchain. It will focus on seed and early-stage investments in Italy and abroad, particularly in Europe and the United States, mainly in co-investment with other foreign venture capital funds.

Purple, the second fund launched by Panakès Partners, an Italian venture capital firm investing in medtech and biotech companies. Panakès Partners announced the first closing at € 150 million.

RoboIT, the technology transfer centre of CDP Venture Capital, focused on sustainable economy, clean energy, and circular economy. The hub is based on a collaboration with some of the major Italian polytechnics (Milano, Torino, Bari). The project aims to raise to € 130 million.

Sport Horizon Holding is a new vertical investor specialising in sports tech, which aims at raising € 4-6 million and investing in 10-15 startups.

The Techshop, an early-stage investment fund with the goal to raise € 50 million, which will invest in B2B tech startups.

Utopia SIS, the first Simple Investment Company (SIS) focused on Life Sciences and promoted by Fondazione Golinelli and Fondazione di Sardegna.

UV T-Growth, a fund launched by United Ventures in partnership with TIM, with a fundraising target of € 180 million by 2022, managed independently by United Ventures. The fund will invest in European technology companies with high growth potential focusing on 5G, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, internet of things, cloud, industry 4.0 (For more details on United Ventures, read: “Interview with Paolo Gesess, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of United Ventures”).

Vertis Venture 5 Scaleup, the new fund of Vertis SGR, which raised € 35.3 million and targets € 100 million by July 2022. The fund invests in late-stage startups and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises.

Wellness Venture, an Innovation & Venture Studio aimed at developing new digital services/products and business models for the wellness industry promoted by Nerio Alessandri, the founder of Technogym.

Zero, the startup accelerator dedicated to cleantech, part of the CDP’s National Accelerator Network. Based in Rome, the accelerator was created in collaboration with Eni as the main partner, Acea, Maire Tecnimont and Microsoft Italia as corporate partners. The acceleration programme is managed by LVenture Group and Elis and will invest in the selected startups together with CDP Venture Capital SGR.