Innogest backs police IT security firm(3)

In a rare success for the Italian early-stage technology market, IR security firm HT has attracted €1.5 million in investment from seed fund Innogest Capital and the region of Lombardy’s asset management arm.

Italian venture firm Innogest Capital and the Lombardy region’s investment arm have joined forces to back HT, a Milan-based company that provides IT security products for law enforcement agencies.

Innogest and Finlombarda Gestioni’s Next fund, a government-backed fund of funds designed to promote venture activity in Lombardy, are investing €1.5 million ($2.1 million) for a minority stake in the business, as it looks to develop its sales of “proactive” IT security systems.

The Milan-based firm, which is run by serial Italian IT entrepreneurs David Vincenzetti and Valeriano Bedeschi, provides traditional “defensive” IT security systems, mainly for corporate customers, and also “proactive” systems designed to combat computer crime.

Marco Nicolai, chief executive of Finlombarda Gestioni, said the investor group selected HT “for the sophistication of its products”, which include anti-virus, anti-firewall and anti-espionage tools. The two groups believe this market is worth around €60 million.

Innogest is a northern Italian early-stage investor with about €80 million under management, making it one of the biggest players in the under-developed Italian venture market. Based in Turin, Milan and Padua, the firm typically backs media ICT, renewable energy and biomedical companies.

Finlombarda Gestioni’s Next fund is a closed end fund of funds backed by the Region of Lombardy alongside institutional investors. The €37 million fund invests in Italian venture funds and also acts as a co-investor on specific deals like this one.