In an effort to overturn the reputation of too much bureaucracy and a slightly unstable economy, Italy has initiated a number of startup initiatives, from fast-track visas for entrepreneurs to tax incentives. A few years later, Italy has started to see a boom in startup numbers. The scene is brimming with vitality, inspiration and innovation.
In the beginning of this year, we took a close look at the Italian startup scene with the goal to introduce you to 10 of the most promising startups the country currently has to offer. All of the companies we’re highlighting in this article were founded in the last 3 years, have recently raised funding and have fast growing teams. With this in mind, here are 10 Italian startups to watch out for in 2021:
Aidexa – Aidexa is an AI-powered and data-driven challenger bank that aims to help Italian SMEs with streamlining their banking and overall business operations. Based in Milan, the bank has launched with ambitions to win over small businesses, accounting for over half of Italy’s GDP. Founded in 2020, AideXa is backed by investors that include Generali Group, Banca Sella Group, and Banca Ifis with €45 million in seed financing and is expecting to obtain a full banking licence in 2021.
Casavo – Casavo, founded in 2017, is Italy’s first “instant buyer”, a startup that buys homes, renovates them, and then puts them on the market again. The startup has broken the traditional schemes of the sector by implementing an immediate purchase and liquidity system, avoiding uncertainty, as well as financial and bureaucratic risks. So far they have closed more than 350 real estate acquisitions worth more than €90 million, and they are backed by €58.9 million to further transform private real estate transactions.
Deliveristo – Founded in 2017 by Ivan Aimo, Luca Calia, and Gabriele Angeleri, Deliveristo offers a double-sided, cloud-based platform that connects restaurant owners to a variety of food suppliers. Deliveristo adopts a drop-shipping approach which eliminates warehouse and logistics issues and costs, and the constraints and requirements that come with each category of product. The company’s cloud-based platform currently hosts 300 suppliers and 15,000 registered products, but with its latest €4.5 million investment this number is set to rise.
Iqoniq – IQONIQ, founded in 2019, is a fan engagement platform designed to bring sports and entertainment fans closer to the action. Through the app, Iqoniq offers sports fans worldwide a new way to connect with their heroes and favourite clubs, through direct benefits for its users, including a loyalty programme, in-app games and prizes, unique footage, special offers for tickets and merchandise, and much more. The startup has already signed Basketball Euroleague, the European Handball Federation (EHF) and the McLaren Formula One team, LaLiga and several European football clubs as their clients.
MatiPay – MatiPay, founded in 2019, is an IoT solution composed of advanced electronics and software applications that transform any vending machine in a smart device. The innovative payment system provides a frictionless end-user experience combining the immediate connection between the vending machine and the smartphone app, with a virtual wallet rechargeable via cash dispenser, Credit Card or PayPal. In 2019, the Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo Group chose MatiPay as a partner to strengthen its position in fintech and expand in digital payment systems by investing €7 million in the startup.
Shampora – Rome-based Shampora, founded in 2017, is an e-commerce beauty and cosmetic startup that offers a platform for personalised beauty products. The company helps consumers create, produce and buy customised personal care products in three simple steps. Step One: customers fill out a questionnaire about their hair, skin, lifestyle, habits and needs; Step Two: Shampora’s proprietary algorithm analyses the data and creates a personalised list of ingredients; and Step Three: Shampora manufactures the products in their production facility of 1000sqm in Rome. The startup landed €3 million in funding in November 2020, aiming to make it big in the personalised cosmetics market.
PatchAi – Founded in Milan in 2018, PatchAi is a cognitive platform that champions patient engagement. It aims to revolutionize patient data collection, and therefore improve medical outcomes. How does it do this? Via real-time data collection that focuses on Co-PRO™ (Conversational Patient-Reported Outcomes) and also blending in other data-points. The startup landed another round of funding this January, totalling €1.7 million, to push its healthtech mission further in a year still marked by the pandemic.
Enapter – Founded in 2017, Enapter is a rapidly growing company based in Pisa, Italy. It’s mission? To help create ‘green hydrogen’, which will become a commodity and compete with fossil fuels purely on price. How does it do this? It has developed and manufactured a patented anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolysers for hydrogen production from water and electrical energy. With offices in so far in Italy, Germany, Thailand, and Russia, a team of 100+ and 7 million funding under its belt, this company is set to go far in 2021.
ACBC – ACBC (Anything Can Be Changed) was founded in 2017 in Milan. It’s mission? To improve the conditions of the planet and the people through a green and sustainable fashion technology – focusing on shoes. Born from a Kickstarter campaign, with just a simple video, the startup has collected more than 1 million in pre-orders. The two founders Gio Giacobbe and Edoardo Iannuzzi focus their product on sustainable materials, and also takes part in circular economy activities like taking used shoes and donating them to make playground floors.
Buddyfit – Buddyfit, founded in 2019, is true digital gym: a single subscription giving users access to unlimited live fitness classes. With Buddyfit, users can turn your home into a real fitness club – which is especially useful now many countries in Europe are in a second or third pandemic-driven lockdown already. Capitalising on the fact that many people are social distancing from gyms, the startup landed around €1.5 million in 2020 to boost its platform further.
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.