IFF Eyes Dynamic Entrepreneurs with Global Dimensions for its €50 million Investment

IFF Eyes Dynamic Entrepreneurs
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While funding for Italian startups has been growing, the country still ranks eighth in Europe for VC investment, according to Dealroom. The newly created Italian Founders Fund (IFF) aims to accelerate this growth, both in terms of quantity and quality. With €50 million to invest in 25 companies, IFF positions itself as a sector-agnostic, founder-friendly fund that understands the challenges faced by entrepreneurs.

IFF’s portfolio already includes four companies, with a fifth deal in progress. Two of these investments have been disclosed: IFF led a 2023 funding round for HR tech startup Jet HR and invested in the customer research platform Glaut in April.

“IFF is addressing the challenge for early-stage founders in Italy to find a high conviction lead investor at the pre-seed and seed stages,” said IFF founding partner Lorenzo Franzi.

Despite the presence of other VC firms in Italy, such as CDP Venture Capital, Exor Ventures, LVenture Group, Milano Investment Partners, Pariter Partners, Primo Ventures, and United Ventures, Franzi believes there is still a gap in early-stage capital. IFF provides a new source of funding for a market that receives significantly less investment than countries like France, despite similar population sizes.

IFF complements accelerators such as H-FARM and represents a step up from the angel investing that Franzi and other entrepreneur-backers had previously engaged in. Franzi, formerly the CEO of laundry startup Laundrapp and a partner at Global Founders Capital until late 2022, noted that the “unstructured” approach of angel investing often leads to issues like limited analysis, complex cap tables, and undersized funding rounds. IFF offers the structured investment process of a fund and remains hands-on post-investment.

IFF assists its portfolio companies with key hires, commercial expansion, and strategic partnerships. Jet HR CEO Marco Ogliengo emphasized the added value IFF brings, noting its backing by numerous successful Italian founders. While Franzi acknowledges this might be an exaggeration, he confirmed that around 100 of IFF’s backers are Italian entrepreneurs from diverse generations and sectors. Their shared goal is to make Italy one of the best places in Europe to start a company.

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