Telecom Italia is making its “seed investment” debut and announcing a 4.5 million euro investment over 3 years (1.5 million a year starting in 2014) in options or in the share capital of the most innovative digital, Internet and green ICT start-ups, in keeping with its business strategy.
This tool will allow Telecom Italia to invest in options or acquire a direct stake in the share capital of start-up businesses, acquiring minority shareholdings, with an investment of between 100,000 and 500,000 euros.
These so-called "seed" investments are intended to fund the launch of appropriately selected young technology companies, helping them grow and gain a foothold in the market.
“With this major new initiative, Telecom Italia is continuing to make the most of young digital talent and complementing its Open Innovation strategy by creating its own Corporate Venture Capital instrument - says Marco Patuano, CEO of Telecom Italia.
As the first company in Italy to have launched a programme in support of start-up five years ago, with the Working Capital project, Telecom Italia is strengthening its specific commitment to building a digital ecosystem that will encourage the best and most innovative entrepreneurial ideas, despite the current economic downturn”.
The initiative is part of the broader programme of activities aimed at supporting and developing the digital enterprise ecosystem that Telecom Italia has been promoting through the Working Capital (WCAP) project and its 4 business accelerators (Milan, Bologna, Rome and Catania), which it will continue to foster in 2014.
Since 2009, Working Capital has assessed around 6,000 business ideas, incubated and funded 19 start-ups, pre-incubated 36 start-ups and assigned 109 grants.
As of last year, Working Capital has also implemented tools to facilitate and support the marketing of products and services supplied by the selected start-ups, introducing a "fast-track registration process", allowing them to become Telecom Italia Group suppliers, and the "innovation basket", earmarking a budget of 1 million euros to cover part of the cost of the services commissioned by Telecom Italia Business Units from WCAP start-ups..
Finally, as of the next edition of WCAP 2014, further support for start-ups is planned with the introduction of Crowdfunding, a funding tool recently introduced by Italian legislators, via an appropriate platform connected to the Working Capital website.
Rome, 20 February 2014