Opposite to U.S.A., Israel, UK, Germany, France where a Venture capital industry and a startup creation ecosystem has been in place for the last fifteen/twenty years, Italy is coming very late and recently to join this world competitive game . After a false start at the first internet bubble (1998-2001), the real start for Italy Industry was around 2005 with a small number of Venture capital funds (such as Innogest and 360) a couple of Government program (a fund of funds for Venture Capital investing in startup based in the South of Italy and a matching fund dedicated to specific venture capital backed startup . Only in 2012 Italy approved has a new fiscal legislation dedicated to startup and accelerators (“Startup Innovative”) , creating media exposure and momentum in the country.
Still the industry remain small by any metrics . In 2012 the Italian Venture Capital industry invested about 120 million (cumulated with Business angel investing) in about 120 startups: according to the investment of all the European Venture Capital amounts between 1.5% and to 3 % of the total Venture Capital Investments in Europe. To compare, in 2012 , Germany, France and UK are in the region of 700 million of Venture Capital investment each.
Italy startup sector in on the rise as well: about 1500 “Innovative startups” are going to be created this year, an interesting number but again not comparable with Largest European Countries: Paris alone counts around 1000 startups, Berlin a similar number and London more than 2000.
Starting from small numbers and coming late, Italy ecosystem is accelerating at very high speed, probably at the highest growth level in Europe, creating a strong momentum. Some good exits are helping : Job rapido; Gioco Digitale; Buongiorno just to quote three of them in digital sector; Silicon Biosystem in lifescience.
Key initiative such as two accelerators floated in the Equity market (LVenture and Digital Magics) ; a huge Government backed fund for startup based in the South of Italy (190 million) ; a Fund of Funds with 50 million dedicated to Venture capital; 4 new Venture capital funds; one fund dedicated to patents; many media and large corporation such as Rizzoli; Telecom Italia; Vodafone are investing in new startup acceleration programs; great events with key industry leaders are now usual around the country, such as startup competitions, regional governments aids, under the coordination of the Italian Digital agenda.
Politicians, the Italian administration, Governement and citizens are aware of the economic importance of startup ecosystem and in few years this industry will become a relevant and similar sized to other European countries.