The Society Magazine – Decrypting Tomorrow #5
Decrypting Growth

by Paolo Gualdani
July 15, 2022

‘Decrypting growth’ is a mantra for those working in the financial industry in general (and in Venture Capital in particular), which one should never lose sight of. Of course, it could be argued that even just decrypting the complex days we are living through – after a pandemic not yet completely over and with an ongoing war – seems like a tricky exercise. And sniffing out opportunities for growth may even seem unrealistic, after the European Commission cut its GDP estimates for 2022 and 2023, due to the fallout from the conflict in Ukraine.

But without bothering with the well-known – and very true – narrative that opportunities arise from every crisis, it is worth pointing out that abdicating this exercise is something we simply cannot afford.

Venture Capital has experienced a significant growth in the last two years, and so is the innovation ecosystem, whose development is essential to address a series of challenges that cannot be postponed: the transition to an eco-sustainable and inclusive economy, the protection of health, the digital revolution, the response to new emerging needs, the advancement of humanity. We cannot go through these times under a cloud, nor can we afford to float around waiting for the storm to pass: we all, from private actors to institutions, must roll up our sleeves. By focusing on innovation, by supporting entrepreneurship, by pushing education and training to create a new managerial class that is up to the task, by finding solutions to involve everyone in economic growth. In this new issue, Claudia Segre, a long-time manager in the world of finance and now founder and president of the Global Thinking Foundation, penned an article explaining the indissoluble link between participation and growth, and how financial and digital inclusion is essential for economic progress.

‘Decrypting growth’ is indeed the unifying thread running through the contents of the fifth issue of our magazine. In this edition, we explore the opportunities in a number of promising verticals: HealthTech, which enables better prevention and thus makes healthcare systems more efficient; TravelTech, which is innovating the business models of the tourism industry to make it more resilient to shocks; and finally, Aerospace, a Deep Tech niche that promises to ‘Turn us all into superheroes.’

Transversally, Venture Capital – ‘The most human-centric financial sector’ – is always at the heart of our analyses, because it allows entrepreneurs’ dreams to come true, as Anne-Valérie Bach, Managing Director of French VC Capagro, explains in an interview. Yet, we also talk about it from a further angle: not only as a tool for entrepreneurship and innovation, but also as an asset class.

In the interview section, we also sat down with Marco Lavazza, who told us how innovation is part of the family company’s DNA, and the role of open innovation in strategies. A pattern echoed in the warning of Francesco Cerruti, General Director of the Italian Tech Alliance (an association that brings together Venture Capital, innovation investors, startups and innovative SMEs), who claims that without adequate support for innovative companies, the country’s economy risks being damaged. It is no coincidence that innovation is also at the core of the entrepreneurial recipe of Poke House, one of our best portfolio companies – as co-founder and CEO Matteo Pichi explained, describing how his company managed to grow and expand during the pandemic. It is also an integral part of the Otrium model, another company in our portfolio, which digitises outlet sales to counteract one of the factors that makes fashion an unsustainable industry, i.e. the high number of unsold garments that end up in the incinerator. Federico Garcea, co-founder and CEO of Treedom, highlighted instead the reasons why planting trees means focusing on ‘natural technologies’ to save the planet.

Inclusion, innovation, sustainability, the farsightedness of patient capital ready to identify the right ideas to focus on and turn into concrete projects, and the support of institutions to make it possible: we need all this to grow. As well as the energy and courage to look beyond these days’ uncertainties, and to approach each project with a long-term vision. For this to happen, individualism will also have to be overcome and efforts will have to be made to work at a ‘system’ level, to create collaborative networks, to pursue a unity of views and actions between investors, entrepreneurs and institutions.

To play a complicated symphony, soloists are not enough: an entire orchestra is needed.

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