How and when was the “Club degli Investitori” founded?
The “Club degli Investitori” was founded in 2008. We were 6 entrepreneurs from Piedmont and we used to meet every 2 or 3 months to evaluate the Start up investment projects in our region. Back then, we also founded Microcinema, which is now the leading Italian company in technology systems for digital cinema. We have then launched and sold to other entrepreneurs Arenaways, that was the first regional rail operator in competition with Trenitalia.
Since 2011, thanks to a partnership with Piemontech (regional Venture Capital fund) we have became a real association, with a dedicated team of an financial analysts and two sponsors: Unicredit and Fondazione Torinowireless.
What are its characteristics and how many members does the club consist of?
Today the Club consists in 70 members..
We have a goal of maximum 100 members in 2014
The club is not an investment fund. Each member decides to invest in the most interesting project for him. Once a month we organize a presentation during a cocktail or a dinner. The proponents present their own company. Followed by a session of questions and answers and a discussion “behind closed doors” between Members. At the end of the evening we already know the amount raised (an average of 300.000 Euro) and we draw up an investment contract that will allow us to become minority shareholders through a capital increase.
What is its mission?
3) Our mission is very clear: we are a group of entrepreneurs, professionals and managers from Piedmont who have decided to place experience and part of their assets to the disposal of innovative Start up.
It is not only a financial contribution, but the potential entrepreneurs are put in contact with a network of people whose experience and whose relationships are worth much more than the money invested.
How do you select the Start up?
4) our selection criteria is very hard. We receive almost 500 projects per year and we invest in almost a ¾ of them. We directly meet with 200 entrepreneurial team per year. We do not fund research, we do not fund inventors. We try to discover entrepreneurial talents. We are more interested in team consisting of people with commercial, technical and financial skills, rather than a “one man company “.
How do you monitor your investment during the realization of the Startup?
The monitoring of the projects is very simple. The team of analysts follow the economic and financial developments, while a Member of the Club becomes the contact for the new entrepreneur. We call it “Sponsor” . The Sponsor is important because it is the link between the company and the network of all Members. The success of the project strongly depends on the quality of the relationship established between the team we have invested in an our Club, therefore the success depends on the Sponsor.
What are your responsibilities as President?
As President , besides being an investor, I organize the events and I select the investments together with a steering committee consisting of 10 members. I do not consider myself as an asset manager because we are an association. I do my work with great passion and often when I met the young proponents, I go back to my roots…
When I was 50 years old I decided to sell my business, Euphon: the company had reached maturity after 25 years of growth and after been listed in the stock market. Therefore I decided to become a business Angel: Entrepreneur of entrepreneurs”.
How do you collaborate with Piemontech, Venture Capital investment fund?
Synergies with Piemontech allows the Club to grow and to work. Piemontech, besides making the analyst team available to the organization, is a co-investor. Piemontech was recently acquired by Eurogroup, an important company that offers services to SMEs. Thanks to these new shareholders, Piemontech will be able to offer new supports to Start up and investors.
What are the standard procedures to become a member of the “Club degli Investitori”?
To become a member of the Club you must be introduced exclusively by another Member and be accepted with an unanimously vote. Members have targets on long period investment returns rather than short period, as optioned by Venture Capital funds.
One last thing: you were not born business Angel! You become one! Thanks to the Club!!