Innogest, an Italian seed venture capital firm, has closed its debut fund on €80 million, 33 percent above its target of €60 million. It is the biggest ever fund of its kind, although it took 18 months to raise amid difficult fundraising conditions.
The fund, which provides seed capital to Italian businesses, will be led by managing partners Claudio Giuliano, formerly of The Carlyle Group, and Marco Pinciroli, who was previously at BC Partners. Giuliano and Pinciroli met at business school Insead and co-founded Innogest in 2005.
Giuliano said: “We had quite a tough time raising the fund because investor confidence in European venture has been completely shattered. It’s a shame because there are some great venture capital opportunities in Europe – in Italy in particular. The amount of Italian SMEs far exceeds the amount of VCs – so we have fantastic dealflow and virtually no competition.”
The fund has already invested in two deals, including media business TheBlogTV, in which it invested €1.5 million. It also led a €5 million financing round for biomedical company Silicon Biosystems.
Investors in the fund include Italian bank Intesa SanPaolo, global insurance company Generali Group, and the European Investment Fund. Innogest has offices in Turin, Milan and Padua.