The Italian accelerator of Hephaestus Venture is going to become a dual-company. It will support the projects of American startups expanding to Europe, and the Italian Spin-off entities belonging to Italian Corporate Venture Capital that go overseas.
Antonino Saccà, CEO and founder of the Milan-based accelerator stated, that with the establishment of a dual-company his organization will be divided between two countries: Sales and marketing in the Silicon Valley, and the operational part that will remain in Milan. This way the already known goal of Hephaestus Venture is realized: Supporting the digital transformation of Italian companies through the creation of startups.
The Choice for California
After having repeatedly tested the national and international market, as explained by Saccà, the real and concrete opportunities have materialized in California. In the United States there is a real market of the Corporate Venture Capital, equal to 26% of the total local market, and is therefore the ideal place to raise the capital necessary for the construction of startups.
Without prejudice to the four verticals already identified by Hephaestus Venture – fintech, energy, smart mobility and digital health – will therefore be the track that ties together San Francisco and Milan to see the accelerator activities move. If, however, it is true that the capitals will travel from West to East and vice versa, the flow of ideas and newco will not be one-way. According to Saccà, it may be both Italian companies to look for outlets and opportunities for stars and stripes, and the new American startups to come to Milan to start a process of internationalization.
The Key Role of the Vehicle of Investment
Hephaestus Venture for itself has carved out a very specific role: The vehicle of investment, that is an intermediary between the big and small. The top investors, the Corporate Venture Capital providers, do not invest their capital directly in the startups, but Hephaestus Venture will turn the funds to the latter, acting as “garantor” and General Partner of the investments in larger investment portfolio.
The main task of Hephaestus Venture will be evaluating the curriculum of those entrepreneurs who are creating promising new companies. Righ now, Hephaestus Venture is looking for managers with consolidated experience, to be presented to the General Partner and to the Limited Partners. Those who will then physically invest in the startup, of which they will obviously evaluate the product, the business model, turnover and growth prospects. The references of former employers will be a decisive factor. The proven ability of those who give birth to a new initiative, confirmed by a track record of successes, is valid as a visiting card for the presence.
The Operative Phase
Once the construction phase of the Hephaestus Venture model will be over, things will get exciting. Saccà stated: “The past few months have been used to define which market to operate because we found out Corporate clients who have products (the Spin-Off) interested to open that specific market and which will be the main interlocutors for the new business initiatives the new American Business Partner Overseas. Now we move on to the operational phase: US capital will be used to support the internationalization and penetration of overseas startups in Italy and Europe. The possibility of developing collaborations with Italian Corporate Venture Capital will also be decisive. They will eventually enter downstream in Italian investments, to support them then in their scale-up in the United States.”