Moneys Magazine meets Antonio Baccari, Founding Partner & CFO of Feel Venture. He is an investor and advisor with expertise in strategy and finance which he gained in senior management roles in strategy consulting, established and start-up organizations. He also has extensive international experience in multinational companies and is an effective C-suite advisor in both Exec and NED roles in a variety of environments.
Who is Antonio Baccari?
I am one of the three partners of Feel Venture, a London based Venture Capital fund investing and supporting new generation Italian entrepreneurs in Italy and across the world to promote Italian excellence globally. I have a financial background, starting my career in the oil industry and working in several countries across the globe, before settling in London and moving on to management consulting. This is when I started investing in start-ups.
I saw many companies having great ideas but lacking direction in terms of strategy and financial planning and was very keen to help them bridge the gaps. A few years later, I made this my full-time job, investing in companies at an early stage, and helping them either directly, or through mentorships in acceleration programmes.
I love meeting founders with amazing ideas and the ambition to change the world, as well as talented people who want to make an impact on society. This is how I met Giorgio, a serial entrepreneur with 20 years’ experience, and Inti, a successful Venture Capital professional at his third fund, with more than €60m raised and 40+ investments executed. I worked with both on various projects before the concept of Feel Venture came to life.
How did the FEEL VENTURE adventure begin?
While working with Inti and Giorgio, we came to the realisation that there was a large unexploited potential in the Italian innovation ecosystem. Whilst Italian founders had a remarkably elevated level of education and commitment, they lacked the tools and support to be competitive at an international level. We also realised that small and medium enterprises in Italy (98% of private businesses of the country) are very keen to get actively involved and find their place in the growing innovation ecosystem. We launched Feel Venture to become the trusted partner for SMEs to invest and support a new generation of Italian founders.
Feel Venture’s mission is double: not only we invest in the most promising start-ups, but we also offer real-economy SMEs the opportunity to invest in innovation and connect them with start-ups that could be interesting for their businesses.
To master at best this partnership between real and new economy, and on top of the Fund, we have created the Feel Venture Community, which has been growing overtime and includes stakeholders from every part of the ecosystem: international accelerators, universities, innovation hubs, venture builders, professionals, and large companies.
We had our first fund closing last summer, have invested in 5 companies so far, and have held 20 events with over 3000 attendees. We started Feel Venture at the peak of the pandemic, with our events being completely online but recently it has been really exciting to start having in-person events across Europe.
In in which startups, you have invested?
So far, we have completed 5 investments and are aiming to finalise another 3 by the end of the year. Our fund is sector-agnostic, which allows us a lot of flexibility in our investment choices. Our current investments are in MedTech, Energy, Food Waste and Cybersecurity. The projects we select combine a tangible impact on people’s lives with strong financial returns.
Our first investment was in MedTech with Pregmune, a US based AI-powered fertility assessment that enables doctors to identify and treat the causes of unexplained reproductive failures. In Energy we have invested in two companies: Hive Power, a Swiss company that developed a software enabling automated smart charging of electric vehicles, and Re Fuel Solutions, an Italian company that is building a kit to enhance biofuels utilisation in cars and power generators getting rid of fossil fuel. Babaco Market is an Italian company from second-time founders that addresses the problem of Food Waste through a circular economy model. They have created a subscription box that delivers “ugly” and “odd” food saved from waste directly to customers’ houses. In Cybersecurity, we have invested in Nettoken, a UK company that developed a solution providing cybersecurity protection for school-aged children.
How are they selected?
Our key word is excellence. Excellence of the founding team, of the product/service developed and operations. We want to see ambitious people who like to take risks and can think of creative solutions and have the resilience and mindset to make it happen in the long term
Furthermore, we believe in cooperation and internationalisation. All the companies we have invested in have an international team and the ambition to become a global player in their respective markets. Besides having Italian founders, our portfolio has co-founders from Albania, Switzerland, South Africa, UK, USA, India and Italy.
Our network is strong in the leading countries in Europe, and we push companies to leverage it, thinking outside of their comfort zone and exploring new markets.
Can you reveal the next investments of FEEL VENTURE?
We are currently looking to enter the FinTech space with a start-up that has developed a solution to improve performance in the wealth management space. We are also looking to consolidate our MedTech portfolio with a company that is supporting doctors in diagnosis and therapy by applying Artificial Intelligence to genetics. Finally, we are following an outstanding process automation start-up that could be our last new investment of the year.
On top, we will shortly follow on in first investments in their Series A investment round.
We are also continuing our scouting process globally through our international networks and by attending international startup events and fairs. Our objective is to create a diversified portfolio of 15/20 companies by the end of 2025
Antonio Baccari’s future projects?
I am focused with Giorgio and Inti on making Feel Venture a world-class fund and community, supporting young entrepreneurs, and facilitating partnership between companies of the real economy and a new generation of entrepreneurs. We want Feel Venture to become the reference for SMEs investing and partnering with Start-up and a distinctive community where Italian entrepreneurs and innovators meet and flourish together. We are welcoming investors, community members and startups to our network. For more information you can follow our LinkedIn page or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org