Cyber Italy Startups

Launching partnership with Italian CDP for new Cyber program

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We have partnered up with CDP Venture Capital, the venture arm of Italian investment bank CDP (Cassa Depositi e Prestiti) to run a CyberXcelerator, a new cybersecurity accelerator program launching in Cosenza, Italy, with an initial, three-year budget of over 5 million eur. The accelerator program is part of a larger initiative from CDP to build a network of national accelerators, implemented in the main technology districts across the Italian territory to support the development of skills and entrepreneurship. 

CyberXcelerator will consist of a three-year investment in at least 30 startups, comprising three batches of eight to twelve startups each. Each of the startups will be accelerated via a hybrid, five-month program that will mix in-person and remote programming. Participating startups will each receive a ticket for 78K eur as cash and program investments for up to 9% equity stake. There will be additional opportunities for follow-on investments. Programs and investments will begin in the fourth quarter of 2021, with applications opening in June for startups from any country.

👾 Startups can apply on the CyberXcelerator website.

Startup Wise Guys has been selected as an investment and operative partner, providing co-investment together with CDP in the selected startups. We will bring a wealth of cybersecurity expertise to the region, having run mainland Europe’s only full-time, on-site cybersecurity acceleration program under the name CyberNorth, through which we have invested more than 500K eur in 20 cyber startups to date.

Additionally, experienced players of the Italian ecosystem will be program partners. The NTT Data research center, whose offices will serve as the base for the accelerator, the University of Calabria-sponsored TechNest incubator, which will also make its facilities available. The accelerator’s industrial partners include Leonardo, a globally leading aerospace, defence and security company, as well as Italgas, a leading Italian gas distribution company.

We are investing together on a topic of strategic national interest, and we are doing it in a region that is full of talent and where this type of investment can make a big difference. The program will accelerate about 30 Italian and international startups over three years, but the impact will be long term. In addition to startups, we are contributing to the development of Cosenza as a cybersecurity hub, which is already ranked third globally after Tokyo and Palo Alto.

Farid Singh, General Partner of Wise Guys Cyber

Program will be run out of Cosenza, Italy, in a hybrid format – with online and on-site modules. It will be managed by Farid Singh and Egita Polanska with the help of large pool of cybersecurity mentors and experts.

CDP Venture Capital counts with a total budget of 1 billion eur for the period of 2020-2022, 125 million eur of which is marked for various accelerator programs. The total assets under management by CyberXcelerator will exceed 5 million eur, 2.5 million of which will be allocated by CDP Venture Capital together with Startup Wise Guys during the acceleration phase. In addition, 2 million eur will be deployed as follow-on investments, together with an additional 600K eur that has been made available by the industrial partners of the project. 

Italy has recently taken steps to boost the national profile of its venture capital ecosystem, which in 2019 totalled €500 million. A National Innovation Fund (FNI), managed by CDP Venture Capital was created to boost venture capital investment to €3 billion by 2022. Startup accelerators represent one of eight different funds managed under the FNI, and accelerators have already been launched in mobility, sustainability, as well as health and wellness.

CDP Venture Capital Sgr – National Innovation Fund aims to make venture capital a cornerstone of Italy’s economic development and innovation, creating the conditions for an overall and sustainable growth of the venture capital ecosystem. CDP Venture Capital Sgr is a 70% holding by CDP Equity and 30% by Invitalia.