Talking Growth with United Ventures
April 8th, 2021
As our new fund UV T-Growth starts operations and approaches its first closing at €100M, our growth partners Fabio Pirovano and Damiano Coletti share their views about Italy and Europe’s tech ecosystem, the peculiarities of late-stage investing, and the tech trends they are most passionate about.
Hi Fabio and Damiano! So, tell us more about UV T-Growth, United Ventures’ new venture capital fund. Why, and why now?
F: UV T-Growth is the first Italy-based venture capital fund fully focused on late-stage investing. We strongly believe it is the perfect timing to do so as we keep experiencing an incredible period of growth in the European VC ecosystem with a great number of tech companies performing at a level that exceeds expectations. It is now clear that Europe can produce start-ups that have the potential to become world-leading companies, but in order to reach the full potential, it is necessary to attract more capital into the asset class.
Built on United Ventures’ last decade of experience, UV T-Growth wants to back great tech founders and companies throughout their growth journey, bridging the gap of venture capital between early-stage and growth equity financing. We will keep a close eye on the promising Italian ecosystem, that at the current growth rate it is best positioned to generate a massive amount of technology investment opportunities over the next years.
D: To put it simply UV T-Growth is the solution to two main symptoms: necessity and incredible opportunity. There are a number of markets and sectors that are at a crucial intersection and poised for tremendous growth on a global scale, a phenomenon which has been further underscored by the recent global pandemic, which has brought to the forefront the need to ensure we have robust technological infrastructure and tools to face the challenges ahead, but most importantly that we take advantage of the opportunities for disruption that these situations create.
Our mission is to provide companies and entrepreneurs that are already well-positioned in their respective markets, that can count on established products and commercial traction, with the capital necessary to rapidly scale. To that effect, we are already in active discussions with several companies in Europe and especially Italy that did not previously have the access to this kind of late-stage VC funding until now.
UV T-Growth is United Ventures’ first growth fund, after two early-stage funds, UV1 and UV2. What are the main differences between early and late-stage investing, and which specific advice would you give founders raising a Series B/C round?
F: We focus on backing exceptional founders and companies operating in large technology sectors willing to execute Series B/C rounds to boost their growth. We usually participate in such rounds with a €10-15m entry investment ticket. We will value impeccable execution and the ability to continuously scale products and operations.
My advice to founders is to know what metrics matter in your business and work hard to make them shine. Focus on how you can potentially create a lasting legacy. Last, but not least… never stop learning!
D: Having spent most of my career dealing with go-to-market in a fast-growing venture-backed company entering new markets and verticals, I think one of the most important things is to understand the language of the customer and market you are looking to enter. Make sure you surround yourself with the people and tools that can give you these precious insights. Most importantly don’t underestimate how important the right people in the right roles are. Founders need to free up their precious time so that they can evangelize as much as possible.
During my career I’ve learnt that relationships are what matter most. The way you define the interactions with the people in the trenches with you will lay the foundation of what you are able to achieve together.
UV T-Growth will focus on the solutions advancing today’s connected society and the network that powers it. Which are the tech trends that you are most passionate about or where you see innovation coming from?
F: Connectivity is the decisive factor for anyone who wants to fully exploit the opportunities of digital transformation and data becomes the new fuel for the economy.
At the enterprise level, I am excited about the advancement and adoption of software to automate business processes such as interpreting applications, processing transactions, dealing with data, and even replying to emails. Artificial intelligence will become the enabler to analyze interactions to determine underlying connections and insights, to help predict demand for services and resource utilization, driving revenues, and enhancing personalized experiences. Due to the current pandemic, we will likely see more innovations in platforms and solutions for collaborative and distributed work and operations, whether in business, manufacturing, commerce, or healthcare.
D: I am convinced that we are approaching a perfect storm where 5G is poised to be a real driver for innovation. Because it will enable a variety of applications for the Enterprise and within Industry 4.0 thanks to key features like Ultra-low latency, which will enable IoT applications that were not possible before. There are thousands of players in hundreds of industries that can and will benefit from modernizing and digitalizing their production, maintenance, and distribution systems through secure private networks. Which will in turn drive the enhancement and development of parallel sectors like Cloud & Edge Computing as well as AI/ML.
Never before in connectivity has there been such awareness or coordinated effort across different verticals and stakeholders to deliver and capture value. Moreover, these networks and the applications that run on them will need to be air-tight in terms of security and will need to rely on the most up-to-date Cybersecurity tools since governments and other stakeholders have finally recognized how crucial these technologies are in order to ensure long-term national prosperity and security. We are in discussions with leaders in their respective fields to help address these opportunities through access to value-added capital.
How do you see UV T-Growth in 10 years’ time from today?
F: In 10 years’ time from today, our goal is to see UV T-Growth having become a long-standing and trusted partner by most inspirational tech entrepreneurs in Italy and Europe.
D: We are going to do everything we can for UV T-Growth to be recognized as having unlocked an underserved part of the market while having been able to create an ecosystem of disruptive and value-generating companies.