Besides their great taste in food, style and ice cream, Italians also have an innate sense for starting a business. The Italian government has introduced more than a few initiatives to simplify the challenges that young companies face – in 2012, Italy introduced the ‘Italian Startup Act‘, which brought with it tax incentives for investors, a fast-track visa for entrepreneurs, more relaxed labor regulations, and a simpler registration process for new companies. Startups can also obtain grants or loans from Invitalia, as well as apply for the Italia Startup Visa from the Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hubs like Turin and Rome are gaining traction, and investors are increasingly taking interest in due to a new host of success stories.
Here is our top pick of 10 promising Italian startups to keep an eye on in 2020.
Brumbrum – Founded in 2016, Brumbrum provides an e-commerce platform for used cars. The cars featured on the platform have been purchased, repaired and checked by BrumBrum’s expert team. Set on a mission to redefine the used car sales and service in Italy, users get 360-degree pictures of the interior and exterior of the car, vehicle history, loans, performance, fuel economy, and estimated price with a click of a button. Based in Milan, Brumbrum has raised €30 million so far and is a rising star in the Italian ecosystem.
Casavo – Casavo, founded in 2017, aims to simplify and speed up the process of selling properties. The proptech startup is proposing to minimize the average sell time of 7 months, through an automated valuation engine and by stepping in as a direct buyer. The platform provides potential sellers with the fair value of their property, and a purchase offer. Once the offer is accepted, the property is renovated and sold to the next owner directly by Casavo. Last year Casavo closed multiple funding rounds, including €7 million Series A and €50 million Series B. Casavo might be just what the real estate market needs – speed and efficiency.
BOOM imagestudio – BOOM imagestudio, founded in 2018, is an on-demand photography service driven by artificial intelligence. Their product blends perfectly human abilities with the power of technologies. Alongside their vibrant collective of global professional photographers, their AI editing software understands, transforms and enhances every pixel within seconds mirroring the processes that occur in our brain. In 2019, the Milan-based team closed a second round of seed funding, totalling €3 million, from private investors and a family office.
Freeda Media – Freeda, founded in 2017, aims to use business to spread real women’s stories, to inspire positive change. So far, the female-oriented media startup has been shaking up perceptions of women in the media. It targets Gen Z and Millennial women, publishing the success stories of those that have helped change the destinies of women everywhere through their work and their projects. With over €30 million in funding, including a €14.5 million Series B raise in 2019, the Milan-based team will certainly become a voice to listen to.
ProntoPro – When Marco Ogliengo and Silvia Wang decided to organize their wedding, they were faced with the incredible task of organizing the catering, the photoshoot, the floral decorations, the music arrangements and did not know where to find all these services. That is how ProntoPro was born, in 2015. Today, 5 years later, it is the largest Italian marketplace, connecting over one million customers and professionals over 500 services. With €10 million in funding, including high profile angels working at Google, Facebook, eBay, ProntoPro has expanded to Austria and Switzerland to generate new professional collaborations.
Sweetguest – AirBnB has brought a revolution to the rental market, but renting properties can be quite a difficult task. Taking care of check-in/out, cleaning, reviews etc, all take a lot of time and effort. Sweetguest was aware of this problem and for that reason, they developed a full management service for short and long-term rentals. The proptech startup, founded in 2016, takes care for property online placement, check-in/check-out, laundry, cleaning, repairs in exchange for a monthly fee. Too good to be true? Indaco Venture Partners share the same view and they invested €8 million in 2019.
TeiaCare – The healthtech startup has developed a digital monitoring technology, Ancelia, which uses artificial intelligence and intelligent video analytics to assist nurses in the care of elderly patients. Founded in 2018, TeiaCare uses an optical sensor, positioned on the ceiling above the bed, to monitor specific movements and resting positions and should it notice deteriorations, sends alerts directly to carers. In 2019, the startup raised €1.1 million to further improve patient care.
xFarm – xFarm is an agtech startup bringing digital farming to life. Consisting of a cloud-based management software, field IoT sensors and marketplace with high value-added services, xFarm is making sure that farmers can track activities and analyze their data, monitor crops, obtain recommendations and even push the efficiency thanks to its integrated precision farming. Founded in 2017, xFarm has so far raised €3 million Series A investment to further simplify the work of farmers.
Yolo Insurance – Yolo, founded in 2017, is an insurtech company based in Milan, offering simple, convenient and digital on-demand insurance policies. It enables users to purchase micro-insurance products in real-time, and on a pay-per-use basis, via the platform and app. Yolo goes beyond health and travel insurance, offering insurance for bikes, pets, appliances or even against bad weather. Yes, if you have planned an event, a trip, a holiday, why let it be destroyed by the rain? With Yolo Sunny, you can get a refund for your inconvenience. Yolo closed a €5 million Series A investment round in 2019.
Abiby – Abiby, founded in 2018, allows its users to discover and try new premium beauty brands and products, through its exclusive subscription box. The startup gives visibility to emerging premium cosmetics brands and trends from all over the world, that users would otherwise not know about or have the possibility to try, allowing the brands themselves to enter the Italian market. The Milan based team, who come under the BaaS (Beauty as a Service) category, closed a their first seed funding round in 2019, totalling €1.5 million.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!
Hmmm good luck to them breaking the general inertia riven Italian mindsets and the lack of Italian VC support
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