Italian Founders Fund raises inaugural €50m for seed and pre-seed startups

All News, Business, Finances, Start Up

Italian Founders Fund (IFF), the first-ever Italian Venture Capital fund created by founders, for founders is today announcing the launch of its debut €50m fund. Backed by a diverse group of Italian entrepreneurs covering a range of generations and sectors, IFF is driven by a shared goal: empowering Italy’s next generation of exceptional talent and digital innovation.

With over €50 million of entirely private capital raised, the fund was born as a direct response to the Italian founders community’s desire to put Italy on the map of the best spots in Europe to open a company.

Italian Founders Fund’s investment strategy focuses on being the lead investor in the pre-seed and seed rounds of innovative startups led by Italian founders, whether operating in Italy or abroad, while also being able to target foreign startups interested in entering the Italian market.

IFF is led by Lorenzo Franzi, former partner at Global Founders Capital. Lorenzo brings a remarkable international professional background, ranging from investment banking to experience as the founder of a digital startup. After many years abroad, Lorenzo has returned to Italy to launch the fund by partnering with a group of the best Italian founders. 

Lorenzo Franzi, founding partner at Italian Founders Fund commented: “A new chapter has begun for the Italian Venture Capital ecosystem. We’ve brought over 100 founders onboard, including key figures from Italy’s entrepreneurial and innovation sector, and we also have representatives from the firmly established business owner/investor community. This positions us to set up a truly integrated system that can promote and support Italy’s promising ecosystem both at home and on the global map. We are convinced that by unifying the country’s ambitions and talents, we’ll help shape our future economy for the better.

“Thanks to the background and network of our founder-investors, we aim to enable promising projects to emerge and grow, transforming untapped potential into companies capable of generating value, change, and jobs. I believe this is a significant sign of maturity for the Italian digital ecosystem, as seen in other countries where the presence of VC funds fueled by private capital and the experience of successful founders is a clear indication of a maturing and growing ecosystem.”

The fund, housed within the management company Koinos Capital SGR, stands out on the peninsula for its uniquely collaborative community approach. In addition to funding, IFF offers its portfolio companies the expertise, experience, time, and network of a diverse and highly qualified investor base. Within the IFF,  founder investors also actively participate in the process of identifying investment opportunities and analyzing them, allowing the investment team to gain an even deeper understanding of the sector and the challenges faced by target companies. 

By becoming the top investment network for ambitious Italian founders, IFF will serve as a privileged gateway for international funds looking to invest in Italy, facilitating co-investment from the earliest stages.

IFF aims to complete 25 transactions over its investment period, with initial investments ranging from €500,000 to €1.5 million and the possibility of accessing an additional €2.5 million in subsequent rounds.

From the very beginning of its fundraising stage, the initiative has registered remarkable interest, allowing the fund to quickly finalize its first two investments. The first announced investment is in Jet HR, a tech company focused on removing the pain of HR management bureaucracy. This investment marked the largest pre-seed round in Italy, with IFF co-investing alongside Exor Ventures. And it’s paying off: in just a few months since its official launch, JetHR has already achieved €1 million in annual recurring revenue, positioning itself among the top 10% of Software as a Service startups in the world when comparing rapid growth. IFF’s second investment has been made in Glaut, aiming to improve the market research and surveys sector using artificial intelligence. Glaut’s round involved the participation of various international funds and angels. Beyond these completed deals, three new transactions are currently in the finalization stage.

Marco Ogliengo, founder and CEO at Jet HR added: “So many VCs claim there’s more value than just the money but, too often, founders are left shortchanged on value. IFF is unique, however, as it’s backed by basically every successful Italian founder, and the partners are founders themselves. It’s a very powerful network, giving you better access than any other VC in Italy can today.”

Marco Morgese, CEO of the management company KOINOS Capital SGR commented: “This type of founder-led fund is already prevalent in markets where innovation is at the forefront of industrial development policies. We see them in the USA with Founders Fund, which has been around for almost 20 years, as well as in Europe where 10x founders operates in Germany, Galion.exe in France, ByFounders in Scandinavia, and Dutch Founders Fund in the Netherlands.

Given the crucial role of innovation in the country’s industrial development, the IFF project represents the natural evolution of Koinos. We have been transitioning from a private equity fund supporting small and medium-sized Italian businesses to a multi-asset platform encompassing both private equity and venture capital, all while maintaining a strong entrepreneurial spirit.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.