Italian Founders Fund is ready to invest €50 million in entrepreneurs who have global aspirations.

While Italy is known for its rich history and vibrant culture, it is not the first country that comes to mind when thinking of startup hubs in Europe. However, recent developments indicate that this might be changing. Italy ranks eighth in Europe in terms of venture capital investment, a position it is striving to improve with the introduction of the Italian Founders Fund (IFF).

Boosting Italian Startups

IFF has been established with a substantial commitment of €50 million to invest in about 25 promising companies. This new fund is not limited to any specific sector, aiming to be both founder-friendly and versatile, addressing various entrepreneurial pain points. Lorenzo Franzi, a founding partner of IFF, discussed the mission to support early-stage founders in Italy who struggle to find committed lead investors at critical pre-seed and seed stages.

Portfolio Growth and Strategic Goals

To date, IFF’s portfolio already includes four companies, with a fifth deal currently underway. Among these, the fund led a 2023 funding round for the HR tech startup Jet HR, following an investment in the customer research platform Glaut. The strategic direction of IFF focuses on several key areas:

  • Key Hires and Commercial Expansion: IFF supports its portfolio companies in identifying and recruiting essential personnel, expanding business operations, and securing strategic partnerships.
  • Hands-on Investment Approach: Unlike traditional angel investing, which can suffer from issues like limited analysis and undersized funding rounds, IFF brings structured and proactive support to its investments.

Current IFF Portfolio Highlights

Company Industry Investment Date Key Focus
Glaut Customer Research April 2023 Enhancing data-driven insights
Jet HR HR Tech 2023 Streamlining HR operations

Addressing Market Challenges

While IFF has set ambitious goals, Franzi acknowledges some limitations. High taxes and complex bureaucratic processes remain significant challenges that a private VC firm alone cannot mitigate. However, recent public initiatives aim to enhance Italy’s appeal and the competitiveness of its tech sector. Unlike state-backed entities like CDP Capital, IFF operates entirely with private funding, giving it the freedom to invest without geographic constraints.

This flexibility will be crucial as IFF plans to support Italian founders both domestically and abroad, and to attract foreign startups interested in the Italian market. The fund also aims to establish connections with foreign VC funds for co-investments in its portfolio, either initially or in subsequent funding rounds.

Global Connections and Local Impact

The influence of IFF extends beyond Italy’s borders. It supports Italian entrepreneurs with global aspirations, helping them to connect and compete on an international stage. Notable global Italian startups like Bending Spoons, known for popular apps like Evernote and Meetup, exemplify the potential of Italian innovation on the global market.

IFF’s Backers: A Broad Spectrum

  • Diverse Backgrounds: IFF’s financial backers include approximately 100 Italian entrepreneurs from various sectors and generations.
  • Shared Vision: These backers are united by a common goal—to establish Italy as a top location in Europe for launching and growing businesses.

Long-Term Vision and Management

Managed by KOINOS Capital, a private equity firm diversifying into venture capital, IFF is inspired by successful international examples such as the U.S.’s Founders Fund and France’s Galion.exe. These founder-led funds have proven effective in other markets, and IFF aims to replicate this success in Italy.


The creation of the Italian Founders Fund marks a significant step in the maturation of Italy’s startup ecosystem. While venture capital numbers are on the rise, there is still much work to be done. “Challenging the status quo on processes, speed, and an entrepreneur-focused mindset is essential,” Franzi emphasizes. With its comprehensive approach and strategic investments, IFF is poised to play a pivotal role in reshaping Italy’s position in the European startup landscape.

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