Deep Blue Ventures: the new deep tech fund investing in aerospace technologies

Network I3P

The fund debuts with an endowment of €40.8 million, out of an overall funding target of €70 million. Among its partners is I3P, the Incubator of Politecnico di Torino.

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Deep Ocean Capital SGR SpA announced the birth of Deep Blue Ventures, the deep tech Venture Capital fund - the first one based in Rome - created to support start-ups, spin-offs, and more generally innovation initiatives in the aerospace sector with a particular focus on artificial intelligence technologies applied to the healthcare and sustainability sectors.

The fund debuts with an endowment of €40.8 million, out of an overall fund-raising target of €70 million: the first closing was subscribed by the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the EIB Group, and CDP Venture Capital SGR through its Technology Transfer fund - as Corner Investor - together with Blue Ocean Finance and ReItaly21 as Investors. The prospect is that the fund will be open to the entry of other parties, both professional and non-professional investors, who will be able to participate in the investment and growth of Italy's deep tech innovation ecosystem.

Partners of Deep Blue Ventures (DBV) include a major industrial player in the aerospace and defence sector such as Leonardo, ESA (European Space Agency), I3P (the Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino), CNR and the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT).

DBV will focus on the seed and early stage of young companies, i.e. from that stage where companies check their product-market fit until the moment when the organisation has built a solid foundation to start 'scaling up' in its growth process.

Emilia Garito, Chairman and Co-Founder of Deep Ocean Capital SGR SpA, said: "The main limitation to the success of deep tech and technology transfer (TT) funds so far has been the difficult process of transforming research into entrepreneurial initiatives and the limited or zero control over it. The short-circuit is triggered within the incommunicability between research centres, companies, political and financial institutions that often operate separately and for different objectives within the innovation chain, with the inevitable consequence that the best Italian innovations struggle to scale the markets and, in some cases, do not even land there. This is why, with Deep Blue Ventures, we have opted for a different operating model, based on the creation of a deep tech and technology transfer ecosystem involving all the players necessary for the growth of enterprises, each of them operating within their own role, but in close synergy with the others."

DBV adopts an investment approach in which every stakeholder is involved from the early stage of development to stimulate the value creation process through to exit. From a logical point of view, the fund moves within a Deep Tech Factory Model, consisting of two building blocks: a deep tech venture capital fund, Deep Blue Ventures, which represents the financial component, and a deep tech startup factory, i.e. the ecosystem of venture builders, accelerators, incubators and venture studios that constitutes the industrial component.

Deep Blue Ventures thus plays the role of a deep tech venture capital fund, acting as a catalyst for the entire innovation process and investing when the potential target company has gone through the process of technology risk reduction. This model enables the sustainable development of deep tech businesses, building growing and lasting value in the combination of the two industrial and financial components. DBV will focus on early-stage investments - Seed Round and, in selected cases, Round A - in which it will play the role of lead investor in exponential technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Technologies, up to the intersection of strategic sectors such as Aerospace, Health and Sustainability (with a focus on synthetic biology). These are sectors in which Artificial Intelligence plays the role of an accelerator of the most technologically advanced solutions that until now, due to its absence, have been far from being developed.

"We firmly believe that after a 10-year wave of innovation, there will be another one that will be more deeply focused on disruptive technologies and even more disruptive than the previous one," commented Domenico Nesci, CEO and co-Founder Deep Ocean Capital SGR SpA. "Europe and Italy, thanks to their heritage of universities - among the best globally - research centres and scientific and industrial ingenuity, are well positioned to support the innovators of today and turn them into the great entrepreneurs of tomorrow. We at Deep Ocean Capital are here to seize and accelerate this great wave of innovation."