By Alexis Christoforous
When serial entrepreneur and angel investor, Luigi Capello, founded the venture capital firm LVenture Group in 2012, he wanted to help develop the best startups in Italy and scale them globally.
Fast forward ten years and LVenture Group is a holding company listed on the Italian Stock Exchange (MTA) with over 90 companies in its portfolio.
“We look for smart entrepreneurs who have a global vision.” Capello told The Voice of Business from LVenture’s 97,000 square foot Hub in Rome’s Termini Station.
The firm owns the Startup Accelerator LUISS EnLabs, born from a joint venture with Italy’s Luiss University.
“Normally, we invest a small amount of money. Our money is called Smart Money, because we help startups to grow up. Our business model is based mainly on capital gains from the exits of our startups,” he said.
Capello said LVentures works with early stage startups, mostly in the tech space, helping them scale their business and identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to attract more investor interest and eventually assist the company in its exit strategy.
“When we invest, we think immediately about an exit strategy,” he said. “Perhaps it's not very easy. It's not very close, but it takes time. It’s very important to have a path to a successful exit.”
Capello said a company’s “exit” could come in the form of a merger or acquisition, or an Initial Public Offering.
He said the firm is mostly focused on green, clean technology as well as artificial intelligence and blockchain.
One of its recent investments is in Rome-based Screevo, a hands-free voice assistant for Industry 4.0. It recently closed a funding round for over $520,000 to expand its operations both nationally within Italy and internationally in the US and beyond.
“Many US investors are looking to our market because there is great opportunity to invest here,” Capello said.
In the next five years, he hopes to open a startup incubator in the United States to continue building a bridge between US and Italian investors. “Just like many US accelerators come to Europe,” Capello said, “we would like to go to the US.”