25 January 2022

BG4Real, Maria Ameli: we support SMEs that focus on innovation and sustainability

It was June 2020 when, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we launched BG4Real, a platform of investment solutions designed to connect the real economy and private savings. After 18 months, the project has already finalised several capital increase transactions, supporting potential "Italian unicorns". We talk about this and much more with Maria Ameli, Head of Equity Private Markets.

Q: Maria Ameli, it has now been 18 months since the BG4Real project was launched. Can we already draw a first balance sheet?

From our point of view, this is certainly a positive result. In recent months we have managed to create a number of interesting investment opportunities for our private clients, while at the same time making a concrete contribution to supporting the development projects of Italian companies with great potential. I am thinking, for example, of highly innovative scale-ups such as Treedom, Inxpect, Webidoo and SkinLabo, and of companies such as Datrix which, partly in the wake of our operation, has recently emerged as one of the best stories on the stock market in the post-pandemic era.

Q: What are the peculiarities that guide the project of selecting companies in which to invest? Do you only look at Italy or also abroad?

The selection process is one of the main cornerstones of the BG4Real project. Since the launch of the initiative, we have created a true ecosystem that brings together research centres of excellence, top tier venture capital funds and companies that structurally invest in innovation. It is through dialogue with these companies that investment opportunities arise for our clients. Today, digitalisation and technology represent the essential basis for any innovative business model, but that is not all we are looking for. The objective is to generate value by supporting business stories that also embrace sustainability and Italian-made products. Geographically, the project aims to promote the Italian way of doing business, so we are looking mainly at Italy, while keeping an eye on foreign countries in search of business stories that can dialogue with our market. We therefore select international projects that help to create virtuous circles in our country at an industrial level: some examples? Gorillas, Head Space, Too good to go, Adore me, Nexar.

Q: From a business point of view, what is the state of the art for this type of project?

Today, Italy is faced with an urgent need to promote youth entrepreneurship, which is the only way to include the new generations in the economic and working world by generating new value. For this reason, we believe success stories are needed, and the objective of programmes such as BG4Real must be to support them. If we look at the international comparison, the time is ripe for greater penetration of the private equity and venture capital investment market. Just think of the many triple-digit deals that we have seen develop in recent years in the United States and Europe. Personally, I believe that these should represent a further stimulus to growth in Italy as well. In this sense, an operation such as Datrix, which we have supported, could be an example to follow.

Q: From the investors' point of view, what are the opportunities from projects like BG4Real?

For our clients, the advantage of this type of solution is threefold. Firstly, investments in private markets allow a portion of the portfolio to be allocated to instruments that are more decorrelated from financial market trends, thereby increasing the level of diversification and steering clear of the volatility that will characterise stock markets in the coming months in the wake of the uncertainties of a complicated economic recovery. Secondly, instruments of this type make it possible to exploit the illiquidity premium to capture higher average returns, especially in the bond sector. Finally, at this stage there is support for investments in the real economy with tax breaks that make them even more attractive. More generally, there is also a "moral" benefit, which is given by the fact of actively contributing to the revival of the Italian economy after a moment of strong crisis such as that generated by the pandemic.

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