After a slow start compared to its European peers, Italian technology has started to catch up.
In 2021, there was a notable increase in venture capital investment in startups across the country: it reached an all-time high of $1.4 billion, more than double the previous year, according to Dealroom.
For context, it’s still less than 10% of the money that went to France or Germany. But just over halfway through 2022, Italy has already racked up $1 billion in investments.
International investors told Sifted they visited Milan in search of the country’s hottest startups, and the economic capital will also host the Tech Chill conference for the first time in September.
The surest sign of all? Italy finally cashed in her first unicorn company since the dotcom boom when to buy now, pay later fintech Scalapay reached a valuation of $1 billion in February. Today, a growing club of fast-growing startups is attracting the attention of international investors and approaching ten-figure price tags.
We used data from the intelligence team at Sifted and Dealroom to compile a list of Italian startups that could be the country’s next stars. Each company was founded in 2010 or later, raised its most recent funding rounds since the start of 2020, and has a valuation of 100 million euros or more.
So who are the rising Italian tech startups? And who could be next to hit a $1 billion valuation?
What: A proptech that buys properties and renovates them to resell them for a profit
Funding to date: $241 million
Last assessment: $500 million (soft estimate based on founder’s interview)
Founded in 2018, Casavo has experienced accelerated growth over the past two years. It has gained popularity in southern Europe – particularly Italy and Spain – where there are large pools of properties that haven’t changed hands for years and often require renovation.
That’s Casavo’s main goal: it operates on a rather unusual model that sees it offering free appraisals to owners looking to sell, using its technology to generate an offer within two days, then buying it and by renovating it to sell it for a profit.
The company tripled its user base in 2021 and expects “triple-digit growth” in 2022. So far, it has sold around 3,200 properties and executed €1 billion in transactions.
This raised a Series D of €400 million round of financing, consisting of 100 million euros in equity and 300 million euros in debt, last month to extend to all of Europe, starting with France. Hold on tight for a looming valuation boost that could see its valuation edge edge closer to $1bn – CEO Giorgio Tinacci told Sifted the round is so oversubscribed he is already looking at an extension within months coming. This is no small feat in the fundraising environment of 2022.
What: Start of grocery delivery
Funding to date: $149 million
Last assessment: $469 million (dealing room estimate)
A slightly older member of this list, Everli online grocery platform was founded in 2014 – but the pandemic was an inflection point for the startup’s growth.
CEO Federico Sargenti previously told Sifted: “The pandemic has been a real tsunami. The number of requests was doubling every day and we had to move at phenomenal speed across a whole host of borders, from technology to logistics. »
Everli allows users to place direct-to-home delivery orders at supermarkets like Carrefour, Lidl and Conad in 135 cities in Italy, France, Poland and the Czech Republic, through a network of independent “personal shoppers”. It was called “one to watch” by investors in the pages of Sifted a twiceand recently announced a €22 million extension to its Series C funding round from Italian VC United Ventures.
He will use this new money to accelerate his plans for international expansion, with Germany and Romania on the cards first.
What: An insurance intermediary selling car insurance online
Funding to date: $110 million
Last assessment: $330 million (business room estimate)
Prima has built its own technology stack and data analytics tools so it can digitally underwrite consumer car insurance. She sold her first policy in 2015 and has since gained 2.2 million customers.
It also increased rapidly. Its main market is Italy, but it has also expanded into Europe and has offices in the UK and Spain. According to data from LinkedIn, its employee headcount at these sites stands at 698, after growing 57% last year.
Prima did all of this without raising funds for four years. His last venture capital boost came in 2018 when he raised €100 million from Goldman Sachs and Blackstone. Another relaunch could therefore soon be considered…
What: Mobile payments for individuals and businesses
Funding to date: $171 million
Last assessment: $248 million (at November 2020)
Another relatively old member of this list, Satispay was founded in 2013 and launched its payment systems in 2015. It has become Italy’s largest mobile payments provider, used by over 160,000 merchants, including Esselunga, Carrefour, Boggi, Eataly and Benetton. Its headquarters are in Milan and it has expanded across Europe with offices in Luxembourg and Berlin so far.
Rather than using debit and credit card networks, Satispay is a bank account-enabled platform that offers in-store and online payments as well as peer-to-peer payments, savings and, thanks to a recent partnership with Italian rising star Young Platform, cryptocurrency trading.
Its last fundraising dates back to November 2020: a €93m Series C round that included participation from Jack Dorsey’s payments company Block (then called Square) as well as Chinese company Tencent Holdings. In other words, that was a while ago – we’ll have our eyes peeled for an increase in the near future.
What: challenger bank
Funding to date: $49.5 million
Last assessment: $198–297 million (dealing room estimates)
Banca Aidexa is an Italian neobank, founded in 2020, which focuses on individual traders and businesses up to €5 million – the backbone of the Italian economy. It has a full ECB banking license and was founded by finance heavyweights Roberto Nicastro (also a senior adviser to Cerberus Capital) and Federico Sforza (previously an executive at Nexi and ING). It also has a rare co-founderCOO Elena Adorno.
Aidexa provides rapid loans to SMEs within 48 hours using open banking. Founded during the pandemic when many SMEs were forced to close, it distributed more than 80 million euros in loans in 2021 and collected 60 million euros in deposits, according to his latest results. It now has more than 2,000 Italian SMEs in its loan portfolio and plans to double its workforce from 50 to 100 by the end of 2022.
What: Shopping delivery
Funding to date: $77.5 million
Last assessment: $187 million (business room estimates)
Cortilia offers home grocery deliveries, but with an emphasis on local and eco-friendly suppliers. It previously operated in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Veneto and Liguria, but plans to expand further south to Rome using a new extension series C of 20 million euros.
It raised the funds in June from Five Seasons Ventures, Red Circle Investments, Indaco Venture Partners and Primo Ventures.
CEO Marco Porcaro previously told Sifted that the company’s business has boomed during the pandemic, in part due to the benefits it has brought to struggling businesses and quarantined consumers.
Cortilia has built its own AI-based algorithm that matches deliveries to user preferences and delivery times, which helps prevent food waste and also helps sellers selling on the platform to better track supplies. .
More than 250 small and medium producers sell their food on Cortilia, and the company has 70 employees.
What: AI-powered business forecasts
Funding to date: $49.5 million
Last assessment: $176–264 million (dealing room estimates)
Vedrai has developed AI-powered software that provides business forecasts to SMBs by analyzing millions of market variables alongside their business data – a useful tool for CFOs right now.
Founded in 2020, Vedrai raised €40 million in its second round of funding in April from Italian asset manager Azimut, which it plans to use to develop its technology and expand further in Europe.
Vedrai currently has just over 80 employees, nearly half of whom were hired within the past six months, according to LinkedIn data.
Amy O’Brien is Sifted’s fintech reporter. She tweets from @Amy_EOBrien and writes our fintech newsletter — You can register here.