Italian venture firm United Ventures, which said it notched “10x” returns last year from the sales of e-sports company FaceIt and music data company Musixmatch, has held a first close on its third early-stage fund, which is targeting €150 million ($166 million).
“Raising a fund in a challenging macroeconomic environment is a testament to United Ventures’ strong reputation in the industry and our ability to identify the most promising investment opportunities,” co-founder and managing partner Paolo Gesess said in a statement. “It also represents a vote of confidence in our ecosystem’s potential to drive innovation and create value.”
United did not disclose the names of LPs in Fund III, but European tech news website Sifted reported that investors include CDP Venture Capital, Banca Popolare di Milano, UniCredit, Sella and Fondazione Carilucca and that amount of the first close was €65 million.
Based in Milan, United raised €63 million for its debut fund in October 2014, with commitments of undisclosed amounts from public pension fund La Cassa dei Dottori Commercialisti; banks Banca Patrimoni Sella & C and Banca Sella SpA; government investment organizations European Investment Fund and Fondo Italiano di Investimento; and foundations Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca and Fondazione di Sardegna, according to Venture Capital Journal research.
The firm closed on €120 million for United Ventures II in December 2019, with a €10 million commitment from public pension Cassa Forense, a €1.27 million commitment from foundation Compagnia di San Paolo and an undisclosed commitment from foundation Fondazione di Sardegna, according to VCJ research.
Performance data for Fund I and II was unavailable, but United noted that it achieved an “over 10x return on investment” last year from the sales of FaceIt and Musixmatch.
Musixmatch, based in Bologna, Italy, sold a controlling stake in itself to private equity firm TPG Growth for an undisclosed amount last July, PE Hub Europe reported.
London-based FaceIt was bought along with e-sports company ESL in January 2022 by Savvy Gaming Group, which is backed by the Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund, for a combined $1.5 billion, according to a report by Sports Business Journal.
United Ventures III plans to invest in 15 to 18 early-stage European tech companies with initial investments that range between €1 million to €8 million. To date, the firm has invested in 35 companies across Europe and the United States.
The new fund “will be dedicated to investing in visionary entrepreneurs who address critical issues often overlooked in their early stages,” said co-founder and managing partner Massimiliano Magrinico. “We believe these companies have the potential to make significant advances for society through innovations that sit outside typical technology industry hype cycles.”
In addition to announcing Fund III, United said it named Giulia Giovannini and Sara Lovato as investment partners of the new fund and added Jacopo Drudi as an operating partner. The firm now has a team of 15 professionals.