V-Nova, a London-based scaleup founded by Italian entrepreneurs and active in the compression of video and image data streams, closed a 33 million euro round. The round was subscribed for 5 million euros by the Neva First fund, managed by Neva sgr, the new venture capital funds management company born from the transformation of former Neva Finventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Intesa Sanpaolo banking group (see here the press release by Neva sgr and here the one by V-Nova). Silverpeak, a bank specializing in technology investments, acted as financial advisor to V-Nova in the financing round.
Among the early investors in V-Nova there is the Federico & Elvia Faggin Foundation, founded in 2011 by Federico Faggin. The latter is the physicist, engineer, entrepreneur, who designed the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004. In 1974 he co-founded Zilog, which he led as ceo in the development of the Zilog Z80 and Z8 processors; while in 1986 he co-founded Synaptics, which introduced the first touchpads and touchscreens on the market.
The satellite operator Eutelsat then joined the capital of V-Nova in 2016 (see here the press release of the time); the Sky Italia media group also became a shareholder, after having converted into capital in 2017 4.5 million pounds of convertible bonds in which it had invested in 2015 (see Advanced Television here); and some venture capital operators including Whysol Investment, Limitless Earth and Novator. The first is the independent investment company specializing in the structuring of investment transactions in club deals in the Energy Transition and Digital Transformation sectors, founded by former Mc Kinsey partner Alberto Bitetto, flanked by his partners Roberto Marcon and Giovanni Gios. Whysol has been a partner of V-Nova since 2016 (see here a previous article by BeBeez). As for Limitless Earth, it is an investment company listed on the AIM market in London and led by the Italian Guido Contesso. In 2015 it had invested 500k pounds in a convertible bond issued by V-Nova, which was then converted to capital in 2017 (see the press release at the time here). Finally, Novator is a British asset manager, chaired by the Icelandic media and tlc entrepreneur Thor Björgólfsson, who invested in V-Nova in 2018 for a share defined as “significant” (see here the press release at the time).
V-Nova was founded in 2011 in London by the Italians Guido Meardi and Pierdavide Marcolongo. The startup focuses on technologies that allow you to take advantage of a new and richer experience of interacting with images and videos. The main areas of application are: video streaming & conferencing, virtual reality & 360 video, social media, broadcasting, artificial intelligence indexing. The company has already obtained over 300 international patents and currently has around 70 employees between its headquarters in London and India. V-Nova’s business model is to monetize its technologies through software licensing IP royalties. The company has developed highly innovative software related to video & image compression technologies such as MPEG5 part 2 LCEVC (Low-Complexity Enhancement Video Coding), the first and only MPEG standard that improves the performance of any existing codec by making the most of current hardware and new generation; in addition, a new VC-6 codec, usable for next-generation applications, which encodes the data of the video stream in a format particularly suitable for being read and easily processed by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.
V-Nova’s attention to ESG issues was fundamental for Neva sgr in evaluating the investment. In fact, its solutions help to reduce the environmental impact as they improve the performance of the videos using the current hardware present on the devices without having to replace it and, moreover, thanks to the decrease in the computational capacity required by the servers for video encoding, they reduce the energy consumption in data centers.
Mario Costantini, ceo of Neva sgr, explained: “We decided to invest in V-Nova because it has all the characteristics to become a billion company in the next few years. We are convinced that the company will soon establish itself on the market as a technological player together with the big global players and we are ready to support it in its future developments. This investment combines three essential elements for the development of Neva sgr: investing in companies that can guarantee very high returns for our subscribers, supporting companies with high technological and innovative content and doing so in a ‘optics of environmental sustainability ”.
Guido Meardi, ceo and co-founder of V-Nova, added: “The support received from Neva sgr allows us to continue our mission, which is to create a video compression technology that allows the greatest number of users to access their favorite content anywhere and on any device. Neva’s commitment allows us to further strengthen our balance sheet and will give a strong impetus to V-Nova’s strategy by strengthening our position on the market “.
For Neva First this is the first new investment announced, after the partial closing of the fundraising last June (see here a previous article by BeBeez). The fund has a target of 250 million euros by the end of 2021, of which 50 millions have been subscribed by four banking foundations (Compagnia di San Paolo, Cariparo, Carifirenze, Carilucca) and other 100 millions have been made available by Intesa Sanpaolo itself.
We recall that Neva Finventures was born in April 2016 (see here a previous article by BeBeez) in order to invest in fintech companies that could also have a synergy with the banking group’s business and to which the same group could bring know-how. Almost all of Neva Finventures’ stakes were transferred to the Neva First portfolio, with two exceptions that were brought directly under the control of the parent company Intesa Sanpaolo: these were the stake in the BackToWork equity crowdfunding platform and the stake in the digital piggy bank, Oval Money, then entered into crisis and taken over by Guru Capital last May (see here a previous article by BeBeez).