January 25, 2022
BG4Real, Maria Ameli: we support SMEs that focus on innovation and sustainability
It was June 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we launched BG4Realan investment solutions platform designed to connect real economy and private savings. After 18 months, the project has already finalized several capital increase operations, supporting potential “Italian unicorns”. We talk about this and much more with Maria Ameli, Head of Private Equity Markets.
Q: Maria Ameli, it has now been 18 months since the BG4Real project was launched. Can we already draw up a first assessment?
From our point of view, this is certainly a positive result. In recent months, we have succeeded in creating a number of interesting investment opportunities for our private clients, while making a concrete contribution to supporting the development projects of high-potential Italian companies. I am thinking, for example, of very innovative scale-ups such as Treedom, Inspect, Webidoo and Skin Laband companies such as Dater which, in part as a result of our operation, recently emerged as one of the best stock market stories of the post-pandemic era.
Q: What are the particularities that guide the project of selecting the 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 real ecosystem that brings together research centers of excellence, higher level venture capital fund and companies that structurally invest in innovation. It is through dialogue with these companies that investment opportunities arise for our clients. Today, digitization and technology represent the essential basis of any innovative business model, but that is not all we are looking for. The goal is to generate value by supporting business stories that also encompass durability and products made in Italy. Geographically, the project aims to promote the Italian way of doing business, so we mainly look at Italy, while keeping an eye on foreign countries in search of business stories that can engage with our market. We therefore select international projects which contribute to creating virtuous circles in our country at the industrial level: some examples? Gorillas, Head space, Too good to go, worship me, Nexar.
Q: From a commercial point of view, what is the state of the art for this type of project?
Today, Italy faces an urgent need to promote youth entrepreneurshipwhich is the only way to include the new generations in the world of business and work by generating new value. For this reason, we believe that success stories are necessary, and the goal of programs such as BG4Real should be to support them. Looking at the international comparison, now is the time for greater penetration of the private equity and venture capital investment market. Just think of the many three-digit deals we’ve seen grow in recent years in the US and Europe. Personally, I think this should represent a new stimulus for growth in Italy as well. In this sense, an operation like Datrix, which we have supported, could be an example to follow.
Q: From an investor perspective, what are the opportunities for projects like BG4Real?
For our customers, the advantage of this type of solution is threefold. First, investments in private markets enable part of the portfolio to be allocated to more decorrelated from financial market trends, thus increasing the level of diversification and avoiding the volatility that will characterize the 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 achieve higher average returns, particularly in the bond sector. Finally, at this stage, there is support for investments in the real economy with tax advantages that make them even more attractive. More generally, there is also a “moral” advantage, which is given by the fact of actively contributing to the recovery of the Italian economy after a moment of strong crisis such as that generated by the pandemic.