The Italian ecosystem is growing: startups and investments

Italian Ecosystem: The data collected by Crunchbase and CB Insights highlight a growing trend for investments in startups in Italy in the last year. The analysis involved 323 deals, of which 277 shared the names of the investors, and 266 made the amount public—investment, totalling more than 2 billion euros.

Data shows that 73% of investments were made in the early stages of growth support, such as angel, pre-seed, and seed, but these stages only raised 12% of the total invested capital. Most of the resources were directed to Serie A, which alone represents 36% of the total invested in 2022, and to Serie B, which reaches 24% of the resources invested in startups. Suffice it to say that the average investment round in the seed phase equals 1.3 million, while in Serie A, it is more than 10 million, excluding outliers.

Mainly financed production and industrial technologies

In the early stages, investors have focused on digital, professional and consumer services sectors. In contrast, the mid to late stages have been interested in industrial manufacturing, fintech, healthcare, biotech, hi-tech and data management. Generally, the top funded sectors were manufacturing and industrial technologies, followed by the Internet and professional services. We recall that in 2022 the mega-rounds of Satispay (Series D, 320 million), Newcleo (Series A, 300 million) and Scalapay (Series B, 212 million), Casavo (Series D, 100 million) and Medical Micro Instruments (Series B, 73 million) strongly influenced the market. 

The representation of the ecosystem 
The representation of the ecosystem 

The most active investors in 2022 are CDP Venture Capital, thanks to the enormous plan implemented, Azimut, Primo Ventures, LIFTT and LVenture Group. Through the analysis of the networks, we observe that CDP Venture Capital plays the role of a connector in the Italian startup ecosystem, creating synergies and network dynamics. We traced 277 transactions relating to 258 companies and 354 investors; of these, CPD Venture Capital participated in 41 and is the sole investor in 6.

Startups in Italy: The representation of the ecosystem 

Considering an operation as a link between investor and company and the network that emerges as a representation of the Italian startup ecosystem, we observe that about half of the players (161 investors and 125 companies) are connected in the same network. Only six companies would not have received investments by eliminating CDP Venture Capital. However, the network would break up, disconnecting a quarter (126 investors and 93 companies).

In addition to the entity, the other investors in the top 5 play a vital role in the Italian ecosystem, making it highly centralized. The analysis shows that the Italian startup ecosystem is strongly linked to the choices and performances of a few key players, both on the investor and corporate sides. The thrust of CDP Venture Capital is also decisive in moving capital and creating synergies. Reaching €2 billion indicates that startup investments are growing in size and importance. At the same time, the high number of deals in the early stages of the company’s life suggests a vibrant situation. The hope is that the growth driven by the momentum of a few players will be able to consolidate, leveraging on the exciting realities that will emerge from the seed stage.

But that’s not all: StartupBlink’s annual report on the global economic system of startups places Italy in the “top 30”, preceded by Russia. The ranking for a country like Italy, which is still among the first global economies, is located in the European Union and the centre of the Mediterranean; therefore seems at first glance to be a bad result. But in reality, compared to 2022, the ranking marks an improvement of one position.

Globally, the USA and San Francisco dominate

Italy is back in the top 30 globally with 7,897 points, in a ranking dominated by the United States (with 198,080 points) and by the city that symbolizes new technologies, San Francisco, which totals 546,427 points in the order by city. However, the Italian position remains irrelevant even at the European level. The Bel Paese is 18th in geographical Europe, preceded by Russia (8,095) and with the United Kingdom first (51,218), second country globally.

According to StartupBlink, Italy has a “solid entrepreneurial tradition” but an export-oriented economy. However, the economic system is not directed in such a way as to allow startups to contribute. Among the problems to be solved are bureaucratic ones, which are accompanied by unfavourable taxation. Finally, there is little activity by the public sector in developing startups. StartupBlink’s conclusion is similar to many other “rankings” on the country’s competitiveness: to grow, even in the startup world, we need reforms. Otherwise, you stay put in your place.

Antonino Caffo has been involved in journalism, particularly technology, for fifteen years. He is interested in topics related to the world of IT security but also consumer electronics. Antonino writes for the most important Italian generalist and trade publications. You can see him, sometimes, on television explaining how technology works, which is not as trivial for everyone as it seems.