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INGENIUM Emilia Romagna II Fund

Client Type
Regional & National Organisations
Client Name
Project Type
Fund Management
META Investment

Second decade of sustaining the growth of innovating companies in Emilia Romagna via the co-investment fund specialized in mobilizing public and private resources

The Challenge:
Emilia-Romagna region’s ambition is to earn its’ place among European regions of excellence. Therefore, the region aims at increasing its socio-economic dynamism, innovation rate, quality and sustainability of development with the help of ERDF Operational Programmes (2007-2013 and 2014-2020) that provide substantial funding opportunities to strengthen economic and social cohesion of the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. In December 2015, the final phase of the ERDF Operational Programme 2007-2013 (Por ERDF 2007-2013) comes to its completion. December 2015 marks also the start of the ERDF Operational Programme 2014-2020 (Por ERDF 2014-2020).

The Por ERDF 2007-2013 allocated almost 383 million Euro to Emilia-Romagna.
The resources were on: strengthening the regional network of industrial research and technology transfer and its connections with the production system, encouraging the growth of companies through innovation processes and incorporation of knowledge into products and production, promoting energy competitiveness and environmental sustainability, enhancing and better exploiting the cultural heritage of Emilia Romagna and developing sustainable tourism in the region.

The effective execution of the Por ERDF 2007-2013 and productive allocation of its significant resources - thus successful implementation of the Regional Strategy for Smart Specialization of Emilia-Romagna - depended on the right financial instruments deployed for that.

The Solution:
INGENIUM Emilia Romagna II is a co-investment fund built with the aim of sustaining the growth process of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in Emilia Romagna region through venture capital investments. The measure was built under the provisions and guidelines on risk capital of 2007-2013 provided by the European Commission under ERDF and it is also compliant with the European Commission’s 2014-2020 framework for “off the shelf” equity investment fund for SMEs and start-up companies.

META Zernike Ventures has been identified through a public tender as the company managing the fund. The company has also successfully managed INGENIUM Emilia Romagna I, the first fund created under the previous programming period with the aim of completing the range of measures of the Emilia Romagna region to boost the competitiveness of regional innovative companies. INGENIUM Emilia Romagna I was the first public-private early stage venture capital fund created in Italy. It has been fully invested in 7 companies for the total amount of 9 million Euro.

INGENIUM Emilia Romagna II has been financed with 14 million Euro.
50% of the resources has come from the Por ERDF 2007-2013 and 50% from META Zernike Ventures and private investors. The fund has targeted high-tech companies operating in the following industries: electronic, ICT, biotechnology and medical devices, manufacturing and social enterprises.

The Results:INGENIUM Emilia Romagna II has so far invested in 11 innovative companies for the total amount of almost 10,6 million Euro, corresponding to 75,53% of the resources available (as of May 2015).

Some of these companies have been supported by META Zernike Ventures in their geographical expansion and entering such demanding markets as USA or Germany. META Zernike Ventures has been also helpful in identifying highly qualified professionals needed by the target companies to support their growth path and run their commercial and/ or research activities.

Moreover, the active role of META Zernike Ventures in the management of the INGENIUM Emilia Romagna II (and previously INGENIUM Emilia Romagna I) has led to the higher level of involvement of Business Angels clubs, Business Incubators and Accelerators, Corporate Ventures in the region, contributing to the creation of a sound and sustainable entrepreneurship ecosystem in Emilia Romagna.

About the product of Meta:
​INGENIUM Regional Early Stage Fund:

  • Early stage venture capital co-investment fund typically built around a region of at least 1-2 million inhabitants.
  • Focused on financing Seed and Start-ups in the given region, but also considering target companies in Expansion phase.
  • Interested in knowledge intensive companies with high value of intangibles and with high growth potential, but may also act as an catalyst for knowledge intensive companies creation in more traditional regions bringing there start-ups from outside the region.
  • Sustainable fund model proven with 7 INGENIUM Funds active in Italy, Slovenia and Poland and managing assets of 92 million Euro.
  • Managed by META Zernike Ventures that has invested over 200 million Euro in more than 250 companies in seed and start-up stages and achieved above European sector average returns with 180 exits.