Italy Recognises Investors for Innovation

Equity crowdfunding goes from strength to strength in Italy and the UK, with platforms, entrepreneurs, platforms and regulators observing successes and failures and adjusting their strategies.

Italy, the first country in the world to adopt regulated equity crowdfunding,has recently adjusted the rules based on experience, and has recognised a new class of investor; "investitori a supporto dell'innovazione", or "investors who support innovation."

Italy is not noted for its venture capital activity. But, according to today's report in, the country saw a very positive response to the introduction of equity crowdfunding laws in 2013, with a 44% success rate for companies being funded.

There was one small problem. According to data collected by Milan Univesity's Crowdfunding Observatory, it wasn't the crowd doing the investing. 97% of investors invested in one deal only, and the average investment was €9,600. So the law was new, but the investors were the same sophisticated minority.

Now, the Italian regulator CONSOB has changed the rules. They've done it in a way that complies with MIFID, and they've made it easier for the crowd, by allowing crowdfunding platforms to do Know Your Customer checks on investors, and certify them as 'investors for inovation', instead of having to refer them to a bank.

This means that in future, Italian crowdfunding deals may see a mix of shareholders similiar to those who bought into the recent Chapel Down equity raise on Seedrs. The Kent-based winemaker is famous for raising investment from its customers, and has just  raised £1.16 million from 895 investors, with individual stake sizes ranging from £100 to £35,000.