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Italy’s startup ecosystem

The Italian Ministry of Economic Development recently revealed that over 2,500 startups across the country have been registered on their database in the past 18 months. Of course, the number of startups alone is not indicative of a great ecosystem. If anything, it might signify a lot of very unemployed people. However, among these many startups there are some diamonds in the rough and many accelerators and incubators are separating the wheat from the chaff.

A recent report by the Startup Europe Partnership, which has been mapping Italian “scaleups”, found that over 100 ICT startups in Italy broke the early-stage level barriers in the last three years and were supposedly poised to become large global companies. Approximately 68% of the identified companies raised between $500,000 and $2.5 million while 17% received between $2.5 million and $5 million.

In terms of IPOs, semantic technology company Expert System raised over $27 million to go public on the Italian stock exchange AIM Italia. The listing was reportedly the largest debut on AIM Italia with a €39.5 million valuation on trading day. Additionally, Triboo Media, a specialist in online advertising strategy and digital publishing, debuted on AIM Italia in March, raising €24 million with a market value of approximately €64 million on the day of the IPO.

MailUp, an email marketing software provider in Italy for over 10 years with offices in Milan, Cremona and San Francisco, also debuted its IPO in July raising €3 million.

As for M&As, they are low, but growing. SEP Monitor shows that more than 50% of the Italian ICT acquisition deals have been by Europe-based buyers.

Italy’s growing number of accelerators focused on the digital economy – including H-Farm, The Net Value, Nanabianca, Digital Magics and Enlabs – are also helping to provide more favourable conditions for early-stage startups to mature to the next level.

The number of multi-sector funds that are investing into tech is notably growing. These include 360 Capital Partners, Innogest, Principia SGR, Vertis Sgr, TT Venture and Atlante Ventures as well as angel investor networks such as Italian Angels for Growth. Following suit, are also pre-seed programs such as SeedLab, TechPeaks, Working Capital and Make a Cube as well as equity crowdfunding platforms such as SiamoSoci.

The Italian ecosystem is also becoming more and more international with a number of companies expanding their footprint globally.

A large portion of the fastest-growing ‘scaleups’ – such as Beintoo, Hyperfair and Timbuktu – are born in Italy and then grow up in the US. A gradually increasing number of startups, backed by domestic investors, are also scaling up in Italy – MusiXmatch is a prime example – and several bootstrapped companies in Italy are turning into ‘scaleups’ that generate revenue – such as 7Pixel.

When it comes to going global, one oft-cited Italian company is Yoox, the fashion e-commerce site founded by Federico Marchetti that is now a major player on the international stage worth over £1.6 billion and dubbed the Amazon of the fashion world.

There’s MusiXmatch and Stereomood in the music space. The fashion tech sector is also booming with startups such as fashion e-commerce company NextStyler, in-store visual tracking startup Pathflow and customer interaction platform Vivocha. In the WiFi space, there is Cloud4Wi, the cloud WiFi solutions provider recently expanding to Silicon Valley after raising €5 million, and Decisyon, which raised $22 million recently.

To learn more on Italian startups read the full article on Tech.EU.