Despite being the world’s 10th-largest economy, Italy doesn’t even break the top 20 for European countries that have invested the most capital in startups — but recently, it’s been on track to become somewhat of a dark horse in the ecosystem.
Domestic investors are starting to pay attention to high-potential startups building on home turf and young entrepreneurs are increasingly considering staying put to develop their businesses.
The country has also started playing catch up when it comes to home-grown unicorns — two companies broke the $1bn valuation threshold last year. Buy now, pay later startup Scalapay was the first, after raising a $497m Series B in February 2022. Alternative payments network provider Satispay — which was named in Sifted’s 2022 Italian soonicorns list — joined the club when it secured its €320m Series D in September 2022.
But which Italian soonicorns — private companies closing in on $1bn valuations — could be next to cross the threshold? Sifted has rounded them up below — to be considered startups needed to have been founded since 2005 and have a valuation of between $500m-999m. Valuation figures were taken from data platform Dealroom.
Immobiliare.it offers a platform for users to buy, sell or rent properties like houses and apartments, with the option to access a free property valuation and track how market prices change over time. According to Dealroom, it remains bootstrapped and hasn’t taken external funding.
Rome-based digital security software provider InfoCert last raised €100m in funding in October 2021, backed by growth capital firm Bregal Milestone. The company also helps users verify the identity of their customers, and manage the identification process and certification of the machines they use.
Real estate selling and buying platform Casavo has raised around $242m since founding in 2017, in a mix of equity and debt rounds; most recently, in December 2022 it received €10m from UniCredit. The Milan-based company wants to target people keen to sell or buy quickly, handles the paperwork of the process and uses an algorithm to match prospective buyers to houses they’ll be interested in.