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Italy4Innovation - “Investing in Scaleups in Italy and in the UK"



Italy4Innovation - “Investing in Scaleups in Italy and in the UK

The fifth event in the Embassy of Italy’s Italy4Innovation series, held yesterday, focused on scale-ups – new companies with high growth rates. The event, organised in collaboration with InnovateUK, SilverPeak, Orrick, Inventya, the Italian Investment Fund and ScaleIT and moderated by Class CNBC journalist Angela Antetomaso, offered an opportunity to compare the Italian and British scale-up sectors.

The UK has a particularly strong scale-up sector, accounting for 34% of the European total. A number of initiatives have been launched to bring Italy’s sector up to a similar level. Notably, as the ambassador explained, the last budget law introduced a number of important features, including the possibility for the state to invest in start-ups as a venture capitalist, and significant tax reliefs for “business angels”, investors in new businesses.

The scale-up sector is one to watch closely: fast-growing businesses with the potential to expand onto international markets are a major economic driver and a source of many new jobs. The Italian scale-up market is growing and presents interesting investment opportunities, as pointed out by the keynote speaker, Mauro Pretolani of the Italian Investment Fund. Federico Sargenti, CEO of Supermercato24, offered a case study, and Lorenzo Franchini described the history of ScaleIT, which was originally created as an event for start-ups but evolved into a platform for growth of young, high-potential businesses.

As always at Italy4Innovation events, contributions were made to the discussion by experts from the world of British innovation. Martin Leeming, the CEO of Trakrap ltd., and Maxine Adam, the head of Enterprise Europe Network for England Northern Ireland and Wales at Innovate UK, highlighted the efficiency of the public instruments supporting scale-ups in the UK and the importance of the European funds Horizon 2020, which many Italian businesses have used and which unfortunately the UK will no longer have access to following Brexit.

The event was attended by representatives of over 30 Italian scale-ups, including a specific initiative run by Silverpeak and Orrick, and a wide range of London-based investors interested in the excellent opportunities offered by Italy in the field of scale-ups.