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Italian Founders Fund closes €50M debut fund for seed and pre-seed startups

Italian Founders Fund team
Picture credits: Italian Founders Fund

Italian Founders Fund (IFF), the first-ever Italian Venture Capital fund has just launched its debut fund closing €50 million. 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.

Investment strategy

The Italian VC’s investment strategy focuses on leading pre-seed and seed rounds of innovative startups led by Italian founders. It backs startups operating in Italy or abroad while targetting foreign startups interested in entering the Italian market. The VC firm 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 €500K to €1.5 million and the possibility of accessing an additional €2.5 million in subsequent rounds. 

What does IFF do?

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. 

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.

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 analysing them, allowing the investment team to gain an even deeper understanding of the sector and the challenges faced by target companies. 

Portfolio of investments 

The fund quickly finalised its first two investments – Jet HR and Glaut. The first investment – Jet HR is 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. 

IFF’s second investment has been made in Glaut, aiming to improve the market research and surveys sector using artificial intelligence. This round involved the participation of various international funds and angels. Beyond these completed deals, three new transactions are currently in the finalisation stage.

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 on board, 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.”

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 operate in Germany, Galion.exe in France, ByFounders in Scandinavia, and Dutch Founders Fund in the Netherlands.

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