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Italy4Innovation: Italy’s Tech on the Rise? The state of the Italian startup ecosystem in the global venture scene

The 20th Italy4Innovation event was held on 27 April 2022, focusing on one of the key sectors of the I4I series: technological innovation and the start-up ecosystem. The event, entitled “Italy’s Tech on the Rise: the state of the Italian start-up ecosystem in the global venture scene”, examined the state of the Italian start-up system several years after the adoption of the Start-Up Act and the creation of innovative SMEs and related tax advantages. It also looked at recent developments in the Italian VC scene, which is frequently weighed down by lack of volume, experience and capacity, but which has recently seen encouraging growth in venture-capital vehicles.

The keynote speech was given by Alessandro Scortecci of CDP Venture Capital, who highlighted the growth in the number of start-ups and funds dedicated to this type of business (in particular CDP’s relaunch project), and the Embassy’s other economic-diplomacy initiatives (the Global Start-Up Programme, the beIT campaign’s Start IT Up project, and Rome’s candidacy to host EXPO 2030).

The speakers testified to the ability of Italian businesses to make an impact in the field of technology and described new Italian companies offering marketable technological solutions. They included Raffaele Terrone of ScalaPay (the first Italian start-up to become a unicorn) and Luca Martinetti of TrueLayer (a company founded in London by Italians who subsequently chose to expand into Italy rather than into other appealing European markets). The other speakers were Beatrice Aliprandi of the Lakestar foundation and Pietro Bezza of Connect Ventures. The moderator was Amy O’Brien and the audience numbered over 100.

The discussion painted an optimistic picture for the prospects of our start-up and venture-capital ecosystem, although it also highlighted certain concerns, such as the low number of unicorns relative to the total number of innovative SMEs, and an entrepreneurial culture that still revolves closely around manufacturing. It was observed that in addition to further refine and improve the legislative instruments supporting the innovation ecosystem, it is also important to facilitate an increasingly open, international culture among our founders, among whom there is a generational change that bodes well for the future.

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