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March 14, 2023

Discover Italy's Soonicorns and Unicorns

Italy's tech startup scene is alive and thriving, with Soonicorns and Unicorns leading the way

As a result of its favorable geographic location, important seaports, and membership in the European Union, Italy is in a very advantageous economic position. Because of this, many investors and startup enthusiasts flock to its shores. Consequently, the number of new startups offering innovative solutions prepared to explore the market increases. Curious about the vision behind Italian unicorns and Italian soonicorns? – This article outlines the rapid growth of Italy’s startup ecosystem, the impact of startups on the economy, and some key Italian unicorns as well as soonicorns.

Italy Startup Ecosystem Overview

At number 31 on the global innovation ranking, the Italy Startup Ecosystem is a regional leader in innovation. The third quarterly report of Infocamere 2022 shows that 3.8% of the 389,000 companies established in Italy in the last five years are innovative startups. The main investment trends are centered around the Services to Businesses sector, specifically software production, IT consultancy, and R&D.

An increasing flow of funding, new technologies, eager and ambitious talent, and access to capital are all characteristics of the Italian startup ecosystem. A major objective of the "Smart and Start Italia" program is to encourage investments within the country - the Italian government is not indifferent to innovation either. Through the program, startups are supported with funding that ranges from €100 000 to €1.5 million during their first steps in their industries.

Italian Unicorns

A unicorn is a startup valued at one billion dollars or more by venture capital. In general, unicorns are known for their distinctive business models, which allow rapid scalability. Because unicorns have already established themselves, have expertise in their industries, and exhibit significant growth potential, investing in them is highly appealing. Italy currently has one startup unicorn, and the section below reveals its core characteristics, the vision behind it, and its last valuation.


Through its pay-in-three installments product, Scalapay reaches more than 3.5 million users across 5,000 stores and 7,000 physical points of sale. Headquartered in Milan, Scalapay is a fintech platform that enables customers to make installment payments for online as well as offline purchases. The service offers a maximum amount of € 1.500 and does not charge extra fees as long as payments are made on time.

The first installment, equivalent to one-third of the total purchase price, is charged immediately upon purchase. After that, two installments will be charged every four weeks with a due date.The unicorn startup provides customer fraud prevention and data protection services to maintain secure and safe transactions.

Among the numerous partnered retailers of the unicorn company are well-known brands, such as Decathlon, Nike, Moschino, Calzedonia, and Pandora. Founded in 2019 by Simone Mancini and Johny Mitrevski, Scalapay is a key leader in the Italian e-commerce market. According to the most recent valuation, the company is worth $1.9 billion.

Scalapay > Italian Unicorns

Italian Soonicorns

Soonicorns are startups with a $500 million or more valuation on the verge of reaching $1 billion. In addition to being called a "soonicorn," a "soon-to-be-unicorn" is a startup with the potential of becoming a unicorn in the future. These startups are typically funded by angel investors or financial speculators based on future projections or estimated valuations, often exceeding their actual value.

For more information on startup valuation, check out our article on the topic.

MoneyFarm #1

Users can get investment planning and investment advisory services through MoneyFarm, an online platform that helps them manage their portfolios based on their goals and personal profiles. A number of advisory services are available on the platform, including stock and share investment advice, pension management, and wealth management.

Wealth management company Moneyfarm, which operates in the UK and Italy, has developed a platform-as-a-service that firms have used, like UniCredit and Poste Italiane in Italy and M&G in the UK. Launched in 2012 by Giovanni Dapra and Paolo Galvani, the company previously operated in Germany but has since withdrawn from that market. Furthermore, Moneyfarm partnered with Yapily to offer open banking payments to its customers, with over 20% of its payments made through the provider.

Everli #2

Everli is a European online marketplace that specializes in grocery shopping and delivery. The platform, launched in Italy and is now available in Poland, the Czech Republic, and France, allows users to browse nearby supermarkets and place orders for delivery. Deliveries can be made same-day or within an hour for an additional fee by Everli's in-house delivery team.

The company generates revenue through delivery fees charged to consumers, fees charged to partnering merchants, and advertising. Through its partnerships, it provides access to over 300,000 products across 70 cities in Europe.

Headquartered in Milan, the grocery delivery startup was founded in 2014 and is currently led by Federico Sargenti. According to the latest valuation, Everli’s value was $469 million.

Everli > Italian Soonicorns

Casavo #3

An Italian startup, Casavo, has seen great success in the property market thanks to its unique approach. The company provides free appraisals to sellers, purchases properties, renovates them, and then sells them for a profit. Casavo is using a technological platform called 'Instant Buyer' to revolutionize the way Europeans buy and sell homes.

Based on data from similar properties, the platform predicts a property's value once it has been renovated using a dynamic pricing model. A report indicates that Casavo handled transactions worth €1 billion in 2021, with a user base tripled.

Giorgio Tinacci founded Casavo in 2018. Since then, the company has grown rapidly. The company has gained significant momentum in Southern Europe, particularly in Italy and Spain, where many properties have not been sold for years and often require renovation. According to its latest valuation, the company’s value is $500 million.

Cortilia #4

As Italy's first online agricultural marketplace, Cortilia offers a catalog of 2,500 food products through its full-stack e-commerce platform. The website offers a selection of fresh, seasonal Italian food sourced from farmers, breeders, and artisans. The company provides mobile applications available on Android and iOS platforms. Currently, the service is available in the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Piedmont.

With Cortilia, the Italian population benefits from modern grocery delivery and seasonal Italian food to those who value fresh, regional products. Despite the growth of the business, Cortilia remains committed to maintaining efficiency and sustainability.

Cortilia has developed an AI-driven algorithm to customize deliveries based on user preferences. As a result of this algorithm, vendors who sell on the platform are able to keep better track of their supplies and minimize food waste. The company was founded in Milan in 2011 by Marco Porcaro, and its last valuation was $187 million.

Cortilia > Italian Soonicorns

Satispay #5

Unlike credit and debit payments, Satispay is an independent, efficient, convenient, and secure mobile payment network. Satispay allows users to make payments in physical and online stores, transfer money to friends, top up their phone credit, pay bills, make donations, buy gift cards, and save money using the app. As Satispay expands its service offering, it will become a comprehensive platform for managing payments and money.

Over 160,000 merchants have trusted Satispay's mobile payments solutions, including Esselunga, Carrefour, Boggi, Eataly, and Benetton since it launched its payment solutions in 2015. Founded in Milan, the company now has offices in Luxembourg and Berlin in addition to its Milan headquarters. According to the last valuation, the company is estimated to share a value of over €1 billion.

DoveVivo #6

The DoveVivo online marketplace provides shared co-living spaces and lets property owners generate income from their properties while tenants can find affordable rooms to rent. Additionally, investors can invest in low-risk residential markets through the platform.

In addition to Italy, Spain, and France, DoveVivo has over 10,000 beds in over 40 countries. Their co-living accommodations are primarily designed for students and young professionals, and they have extensive experience providing long- and medium-term options.

DoveVivo was established in Milan in 2007 by William Maggio and Valerio Fonseca. A number of investors have already invested in the company, including Starwood Capital, Seac Fin SpA, and DV Holding SpA.

DoveVivo > Italian Soonicorns

InnovHeart #7

InnovHeart, a company with locations in Milan, Italy, and Newton, Massachusetts, USA, develops innovative medical technology. Specifically, it specializes in Transcatheter Mitral Valve Replacement systems (TMVR) to treat mitral valve disease.

The company is currently engaged in clinical trials of its Saturn TMVR system, a low-profile mitral heart valve designed for trans-apical or trans-septal delivery. This technology aims to address mitral regurgitation, a common heart condition in which blood flows backward into the heart due to a faulty mitral valve between the left ventricle and the left atrium.

According to its lastly disclosed funding, the company, founded by Giovanni Righini in 2015, has increased its worth by $78.6 million. Among its investors are Indaco Venture Partners, Panakes Partners, and China Grand Pharmaceutical.

Tannico #8

Wines from multiple labels and wineries are available at Tannico, an online wine retailer. Over 2,500 wineries have partnered with the company, which offers over 13,000 red, white, and sparkling wines and spirits. Both Android and iOS platforms are supported by the Tannico app.

Tannico’s unique communication style, extensive assortment, delivery services to over twenty countries worldwide, same-day delivery in Milan, and exceptional customer service distinguish the brand from its competitors.

The platform was launched in 2012 by Marco Magnocavallo and Riccardo Zilli and has secured more than $34 million in funding.

Tannico > Italian Soonicorns

Philogen #9

Philipogen is an Italian and Swiss biotechnology company focused on researching and developing pharmaceuticals to treat highly lethal diseases. The company specializes in discovering and developing targeted anticancer drugs that utilize high-affinity ligands for tumor markers or antigens. Through the use of antibody phage display libraries and DNA-encoded chemical libraries, ligands, such as small organic molecules and human monoclonal antibodies, are identified.

The company's main therapeutic strategy for treating these diseases involves tumor targeting, which relies on ligands that can selectively deliver potent therapeutic active ingredients, such as pro-inflammatory cytokines, to the tumor mass while sparing healthy tissues.

Founded in Sovicille in 1996 by Giovanni Neri and Duccio Neri, the company is currently working on developing four "armed antibodies" for oncology, with its lead candidate, Darleukin, intended for the treatment of melanoma, currently in phase 2 clinical trials. According to recent reports, the company has raised $70 million in funding.


As outlined in the article, the Italian startup ecosystem represents a crucial and essential part of the European startup landscape. Numerous investors recognize the country's potential as an innovative leader in the region and decide to invest in promising Italian startup actors.

Further, the Italian government supports innovation, and development thrives, resulting in even more economic growth. Italy currently has one unicorn startup and nine promising soonicorns. Still, with the potential of the Italian minicorns and their competitive role in the European startup ecosystem, Italy is a crucial leader not to be overlooked.

Having ranked 31 in the global innovation ranking, Italy's startup ecosystem has already disrupted the global tech industry with innovative solutions.

Photo of Elitsa Kaleva
Elitsa Kaleva
Content Writer at TechNews180
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