One year ago, Microsoft, alongside a number of key partners, announced growITup – a project aimed at fostering digital innovation in Italy. Today, the second phase of the project has been revealed – the ambition to raise €100 million over the next 24 months.
The project, which provides strong growth opportunities for Italian startups, is aimed at sustaining Italy’s growth, pairing local traditional businesses with the best innovative digital ideas developed by startups.
Over the past 12 months, growITup has helped a total of 1,000 startups, 200 of which have been involved in activities with top corporations. More than 40 events have been organized to find, match and develop the most innovative ideas in the country, and growITup has become a key player in Italy’s innovation market, attracting international observers and investors to analyse and potentially replicate its model.
The aim of the newly announced €100 million fund is to sustain startups in their post-seed phase, and the fund has a first closing set for €25 million. A number of Italian banks and private foundations – including Intesa Sanpaolo and Fondazione Cariplo – will provide the initial €25 million, while other national and international investors will contribute over the next few months.
Mauro Micillo, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking Division, CEO of Banca Imi states that “The business world is increasingly confronted with extremely innovative technologies that require companies to implement radical changes to safeguard their competitive position in a scenario that at the same time represents a unique opportunity to evolve business models.
“We have become a Founding Partner for the growITup initiative promoted by the Cariplo Foundation, in the belief that it is the development of new businesses with the creation of youth employment to enable our country to quickly recover competitiveness and to grow again significantly. With this initiative, Intesa Sanpaolo intends to further strengthen its engine of innovation and growth.”
The final closing for the funding is expected by the end of next year, while the launch of the investment activity and initial startups will be supported by the end of 2017, with international investors expected to join the platform shortly.