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Fondo Evoluzione: to let the italian deep tech grow

Mario Scuderi on the strategy and opportunities of Fondo Evoluzione, to support a strategic sector for the country's technological and economic growth

How does Fondo Evoluzione fit within the wide range of CDP Venture Capital's initiatives?

"Fondo Evoluzione was set up with the aim of accelerating and increasing investments in series A and B rounds of Italian deepttechs, with a view to bridging the international competitive gap that we are facing as a country in this strategic sector", says Mario Scuderi, Senior Partner and Co-Manager of the Fondo Evoluzione

A complex challenge, that of bringing the country's academic and research world closer to the business and industrial world, which is the hallmark of Fondo Evoluzione as well as of CDP Venture Capital's strategy to launch a multi-fund platform with clearly defined investment strategies and dedicated teams.

In the ecosystem of Funds managed by CDP Venture Capital to support the entire startup development chain, Fondo Evoluzione can be said to be right at the centre, providing the necessary fuel for the evolution and exponential growth of those companies that have already validated their own business model and technology with the ambition to become national tech champions.

“Fondo Evoluzione, operating with direct investments, completes CDP Venture Capital's strategy by supporting the most promising and strategic realities for the country's technological development. All with a view to supporting national and international private investors who, together with the CDP Group, in addition to bringing capital, can create added value by accelerating the growth of innovative startups and SMEs subject to investment. We strongly believe that in order to create value in startups it is essential to operate in a market logic, thereby facilitating their development''.

It is a generalist fund, but with a particular focus on deep tech. 

"Deep tech is a strategic issue for the long-term competitiveness of countries and Italy cannot and must not be left out especially since there is no shortage of excellence here", continues Scuderi, "Deep tech, which has perhaps become quite the buzzword in 2021, encompasses all those enterprises operating in the whole spectrum of new frontier technologies, which make scientific discoveries and inventions their backbone and the mainstay of their competitive advantage.''

From biotech to medical devices, from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence applications. Deep tech also includes quantum computing and the development of new materials, to name but a few. New technologies where real discovery is the distinguishing feature.

This is the aim pursued by Fondo Evoluzione "What is often extraordinary about deep tech startup entrepreneurs, in addition to their profound knowledge of technology, is the dream that their innovations are put at the service of the community in order to improve their lives in a profound or "deep" way. This is the driver that leads deep tech entrepreneurs, true heroes, to overcome the enormous day-to-day challenges.''

What are the prospects in this sense?

“The future lies in deep tech, there are many signals coming from the world over”, says Scuderi. “Our French and German cousins have recently launched +€2 Bn funds for direct investments in deep tech. If we look at the investments in innovation made by China and the USA, deep tech plays a central role. This is because the new dimension is represented by the need to face increasingly complex challenges - think of climate change, the pandemic or world hunger - where we have a dramatic need for deep innovations''

Therefore, it is (no longer) a question of using the digital technology we already know to market a new service, but perhaps of returning to the very origin of innovation, to its deepest roots. 

That is to the innovation that arises from scientific discoveries and intuitions to solve problems on a global scale

"Because if an app can simplify people's lives", continues Scuderi, "investing in deep tech means supporting the search for a new drug, a system to make water safe or secure our data."

All this opens up infinite possibilities and promising markets, based on the awareness that it is essential to reconcile profit and social responsibility. 

Yet, at the present time, the deep tech sector, although growing fast, seems to be dominated by a few players, mostly from the United States.

"Italy has all the potential to become an important player in the field of deep tech, starting with its excellence," explains Scuderi. "However, you need to have patience and courage in investments since the development cycles of a deep tech startup are on average longer than startups in other areas and often more money is needed, which is a far from insignificant combination of factors for finance". 

The recent investment in Cubbit's distributed cloud, as a partner of the European Gaia-X project, fits in precisely with this strategy. 

"Cubbit is a Bologna based startup that enables the management of distributed cloud infrastructures by giving a deep tech response to the data security issue", says Scuderi, "ensuring high levels of privacy without the impact of costly and polluting centralised data centres.''

A brilliant example of an Italian deep technology company, which goes to show how our country has got what it takes to develop innovative solutions in this sector. 

So what are the Fund's next investment objectives?

“What matters to us is not so much the number of startups financed”, explains Scuderi, “but rather to support quality realities”. 

Therefore, realities that represent a model to aspire to, but also a revolution from a cultural point of view, since "Fondo Evoluzione sets out to be an inspiration for the country's future."

"And given that the first closing was completed within less than three months from the launch of the Fund and that we have already approved two other investments, the message is loud and clear: it can be done". 

A springboard to give a boost to the markets that will open up in the coming years, and to grow our country's economy with new ideas and skills.

The ecosystem supporting innovation in Italy