Country Guide

Italy

Italy

Guest Editor

Roberto Magnifico

Partner - Board Member at LVenture Group

Roberto Magnifico is a venture capitalist and angel investor based in Rome. In 2013, Roberto became a partner and board member of LVenture Group, after more than twenty-five years of work experience in investment banking, having worked with companies such as Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital and UBS. He approached the start-up environment back in 2008, and focuses mainly on SaaS (Software as a service) startups, with further interests for what concerns the Digital Strategy, Crowdsourcing, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Development aspects of the industry.


Guest editors are local ecosystem leaders: successful founders, investors, or thought leaders. Have someone in mind? Nominate a country guest editor.

Disclaimer: all content within the Startup Ecosystem Summary and Editor’s Guide sections is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the guest editor. The guest editor is not responsible for content within the Country Snapshot and Community sections, as much of this content is compiled from external sources and does not necessarily reflect the guest editor’s view.

Startup ecosystem summary

Key Startup Cities

Milan, Rome, Turin

Connected Country Ecosystems

France, Spain, United Kingdom

Differentiators

  • 151 newly-born Incubators and Accelerators
  • 32 Technology Parks and 25 Empowerment Programs
  • Young and innovative population
  • Cross-industry focus

Challenges

  • Need of greater foreign investment
  • Relatively weak digital culture
  • Need for greater appeal to foreign talent
  • Lack of government incentives supporting innovation

Editor's Guide

Introduction

The Italian startup ecosystem is a relatively new but thriving and fast growing one. One of Italy’s main concerns has always been finding the best way to exploit and valorize the truly infinite amount of resources and talent that is available, and the opening to the startup environment seems to be the best solution to this. Encouraging signals have been sent, and new innovative realities make their way into the ecosystem every year, with numbers showing an exponential growth. Around 80% of Italian-based startups that receive funding spend most of the money in R&D, which testifies to the desire to innovate. The Italian startup ecosystem is surely still at an embryonic stage, but that can only be interpreted as a huge opportunity, especially if combined with the aforementioned resources and talent available. Therefore, the growth opportunities do not only regard startups that might enter the Italian market, but the ecosystem itself, making it attractive for corporates and various agents of the Venture Capital industry as well. In addition, there are amazing arbitrage opportunities for international VC investors.

Outlook

There is a huge growth opportunity for the Italian startup ecosystem, an opportunity which is driven by a number of factors. Mainly, these factors are: a) access to technology; b) access to talent; c) growing access to capital; d) low cost of production factors.

The main challenges that the Italian startup ecosystem faces are: a) the institution of a more favorable regulatory environment to stimulate the birth of start-ups; b) more favorable tax policies; c) greater involvement of the private sector, SMEs in particular; d) a stronger global outlook and appeal, e) a slimmer bureaucratic process which is currently amongst the heaviest burdens that start-ups have to face.

Last but not least, there are numerous opportunities that will be fostered in the current landscape: a) The National Innovation Fund planning to deploy considerable sums of capital into the Venture Capital industry; b) the possibility of leveraging key technological sectors of the manufacturing economy; c) making use of the strong R&D university centers; d) once again, access to the incredible talent pool available in our country.

Featured Tech Startups

Editor’s choice of the country’s top 10 emerging tech startups.

Startup Showcase

Editor’s pick of which ‘Featured Startup’ is especially worth following and why.

Insoore is a platform for insurance and fleet management companies to optimize the claims management process through video-photo inspections and damage estimations, by engaging a community of thousands of experts in real time, and on demand. Insoore’s technology automates and streamlines the legacy approach to insurance claims management and processes. This cuts timing to a fraction and closes many fraud-inducing loopholes. Artificial intelligence is also being employed to accelerate both data collection and process management. We are enthusiastic about the team because they have always demonstrated an amazing capacity to adapt to market feedback and because of their ability to respond and develop solutions to emerging criticalities in the insurance sector. The solutions they have developed for the automotive sector will now also be replicated in other market segments such as property and infrastructure insurance. They have demonstrated incredible product-market-fit and go-to-market momentum. We are extremely confident in a successful outcome.

Focus Industries

Editor’s choice of the industries with the most potential for technology disruption and growth.

FoodtechFocus areas include sustainable farming methods, sustainable packaging, and food waste reduction.
HealthtechItaly has a long and established history in the pharma and life sciences sector and it continues to be a major driver of growth, innovation and value creation.
Transport & ManufacturingFocus areas include air freight and logistics, airlines, marine, road and rail, and transportation infrastructure.

Talent

Editor’s perspective of the maturity level of talent in the ecosystem.

  • Technical TalentAdvanced
  • Marketing TalentModerate
  • Experienced TalentModerate
  • International TalentModerate

Culture and History

Editor’s commentary on how the country’s culture and history have impacted the ecosystem.

Like most European cultures, Italy has been influenced by state intervention policies which may have hindered entrepreneurial risk-taking measures. This has changed over the past 5 years, as competitive pressures and productivity issues have stimulated policy changes in favor of VC and new entrepreneurial endeavors.

Interested in becoming more involved in this ecosystem and connecting with local ecosystem leaders? Let us know.

Community

Active Investors

Innogest Capital (Milan): Healthcare-focused investment firm.

INNOVA (Rome)

P101 (Milan)

PrimoMiglio (Milan, Rome)

Startups Raising Capital
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Startups Hiring
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Coworking Spaces/Hubs

Impact Hub Italy (Country-wide): Locations in Bari, Florence, Milan, Reggio Emilia, Rome, Syracuse, Turin and Trento.

Government Programs

Smart & Start Italia: Smart & Start Italia is the incentive that supports the birth and growth of innovative startups. It finances projects ranging between € 100,000 and € 1.5 million. The application is presented only online on the Invitalia platform.

Country Snapshot

Economy

Startup funding
Startup funding
US$683 million (2020)
Standard of living
Standard of living
Global rank: N/A
Innovation
Innovation
Global rank: 28 (2020)
Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship
Global rank: 42 (2023)
Annual GDP growth
Annual GDP growth
3.7% (2022)
(Global avg. 3.0%)
Ease of doing business
Ease of doing business
Global rank: 58 (2019)
Ease of starting a business
Ease of starting a business
Global rank: 98
Research and development
Research and development
1.5% of GDP
(Global avg. 2.3%)
Contract enforcement
Contract enforcement
Global rank: 122

Sources

Startup Funding: Dealroom
STANDARD OF LIVING: International Monetary Fund - GDP per capita (PPP)
INNOVATION: Global Innovation Index
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Global Entrepreneurship Index
ANNUAL GDP GROWTH: World Bank
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS: World Bank
EASE OF STARTING A BUSINESS: World Bank
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: World Bank
CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT: World Bank

*Updated with latest available data based on listed source.

Society

Population
Population
58.9 million (2023)
Government
Government
Parliamentary Republic
Stability
Stability
Global rank: 49 (2020)
Internet usage
Internet usage
85.1% (2022)
Smartphone usage
Smartphone usage
85.0% (2020)
Literacy
Literacy
99% (2019)
Population under 15
Population under 15
12% (2022)
Median age
Median age
45.5 (2018)

Sources

POPULATION: Worldometer
GOVERNMENT: The World Factbook
STABILITY: Global Innovation Index
INTERNET USAGE: International Telecommunications Union
SMARTPHONE USAGE: Newzoo
LITERACY: World Bank
POPULATION UNDER 15: World Bank
MEDIAN AGE: The World Factbook

*Updated with latest available data based on listed source.

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