The central Italian region of Lazio launched Innova Venture, a firm with resources of 20 million of euros to invest in local startups, scaleups, and SMEs (see here a previous post by BeBeez). Innova will act alongside Lazio Venture, a fund of venture funds that has 56 million to invest. Nicola Zingaretti, the Governor of Lazio Region, and Gian Paolo Manzella, the regional assessor for economic development, presented Innova Venture together with Stefano Firpo (a manager of the Italian Cabinet for Economic Development), Marco Trombetti (co-founder of Rome incubator Pi Campus), Anna Amati (vice president of Meta Group), and Anilkumar Dave (the research and technology director of Agenzia Spaziale Italiana). Innova will support the target businesses with equity or quasi-equity instruments together with business angels, financial firms and entrepreneurs. Lazio Venture and Innova are part of the FARE Venture program of Lazio region, of which Peter Mayrl, Fabio Mondini De Focatiis, and Stefano Peroncini are in charge
Velasca, a startup for the manufacturing and sale of high-end Made in Italy shoes and fashion items at fair prices, raised 2.5 million of euros through a capital increase that financial firms P101 and Milano Investment Partners subscribed (see here a previous post by BeBeez). Enrico Casati and Jacopo Sebastio founded Velasca and in April 2015 raised financing from Club Digitale while Boox, an accelerator of e-commerce firms thatAndrea di Camillo and Marco Magnocavallo founded, incubated the business in September 2014. This year, Velasca foresees sales of 5 million and aims to invest the resources it raised to strengthen its business in Italy, Europe, and North America.
Google-sponsored Digital News Innovation Fund, a firm that invests in digital journalism projects, supported nine Italian startups (see here a previous post by BeBeez). DNIF has resources of 150 million of euros and with its round 5 if financed the following firms:
- News Juice of AdnKronos, a semantic tool that supports journalists for creating video news.
- Goodmorning Italia, a tool for news briefing.
- Corriere Digital Edition, the smartphone version of Italian iconic paper Corriere della Sera.
- Istmo Paywall, an application that Valerio Bassan founded for tracing and rewarding the loyalty of subscribers of online magazines and journals.
- Aladin (Advanced Library for Automatic Discovery of Interrelated News), a library for searching news.
- Royalty an AI tool for digital journalism. Il Sole 24 Ore is working on such business together with Teorema Engineering and received 0.739 million from DNIF.
- Aria of Sicilian Communication, a tool for infographics and data journalism.
- TICI – Tracking Italian Conflict of Interest of Fondazione Openpolis, an infrastructure for supporting journalists for the political analysis of potential conflicts of interests.
- AI Anchor of Radio 24 Gruppo Il Sole 24 Ore, an AI-backed instrument for radio news briefing and on-demand podcast.
Privately-owned bank Gruppo Sella acquired 85% of Smartika, a peer-to-peer retail lending platform thatMaurizio Pietro Sella founded (see here a previous post by BeBeez). Gruppo Sella subscribed the biggest part of Smartika’s capital increase of 3.5 million of euros. Smartika will appoint new managers and invest the proceeds of the transaction in organically developing further its business and platform. Sources said to BeBeez that Smartika will not be part of Fabrick, the fintech and open banking firm of Gruppo Sella.
Aileens Pharma, an Italian pharma startup, raised 3 million of euros from financial firms Panakes and Invitalia Ventures (see here a previous post by BeBeez). Barbara Castellano of Panakes, Svetlana Vashkel of Invitalia, and Maurizio Comini will be Aileens board members alongside Sonia Longo Sormani, the company’s ceo and founder.
Enthera, an Italian startup that develops new therapies for type 1 diabetes and intestine diseases, raised 4 million of euros from leading investor Sofinnova; JDRF T1Fund, the venture capital arm of US foundation JDRF, which carries on research about type 1 diabetes; and Italian accelerator BiovelocITA (see here a previous post byBeBeez). Chief Scientific Officer Paolo Fiorina, associate professor of endocrinology and research assistant at the Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School, and Francesca D’Addio founded Enthera in 2016 together with BiovelocITA. Silvano Spinelli, Gabriella Camboni, and Sofinnova Partners founded BiovelocITA in November 2015. Enthera will invest the funds it raised in its organic development.