Goodnews from Italy: crowdfunding has been legalized and 200 million for startupsPubblicato: 6 ottobre 2012
The Monti government during the recent approval of the Decreto Crescita has legalized crowdfunding in our country. The law proposal includes a set of urgent measures for innovation and growth: digital agenda and startups. Among a wide number of reforms aimed at the digitalization of our public administration there is a full chapter dedicated to startup. A new term for regulators, that in Italy will also have a legal meaning.
Under certain definitions, set by the law, startups that have a professional investor or a vc as coinvestor will be able to raise capital online, through specialized portals. All the regulations for such portals to be approved and operated, will be defined by CONSOB, the Italian Security Exchange Commission.
It is a more restricted version than the US JOBS Act, which is taking a more cautious way to the topic. But still I’m must say that this is a time I fell proud to be Italian. I strongly believe crowdfunding will be in the future a disruptive force that will have a significant impact on the economy. Embracing this opportunity from our government is very a forward looking point of view, that honestly surprised me. But hey! Way to go! How often does it happen to be happy of your politicians?
Most of the decreto is dedicated to the digitalization of the public administration, but it has a full chapter dedicated to startups and includes a certain number of reforms that should make the life (and death) of a startup easier, faster and cheaper. The proposed law includes fiscal incentives for investment in startups and changes in the bankruptcsy law:
- fiscal incentives are provided to startups, to people that invest in startups and a new fiscal treatment enable access to stock options in a startup
- crowdfunding for startups is legalized
- changes in the bankruptcy law enable a faster and more manageable liquidation of companies that have failed
There was some expectation for the government to include a fund of fund initiative. This did not happen, but the proposed law says that “For startups the government will make 200 million available through fiscal incentives and funding to Fondo Italiano Investimenti of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti”. Also in the next weeks, through a different law more resources will be added for Southern Italy. The norm will include an investment of 110 per year after this first installment. It’s unclear what this means, particularly how much actual cash will be invested in venture financing for startups.
The Decreto now will go through Parliament, for discussions, changes and approval within 60 days. So there is still time for improvements, but when this will be done, it will be a great step forward for entrepreneurship in Italy.