The Italian Parliament has approved the Digital Agenda package, a set of laws that aim to support innovation and digitalization of Italy. A large component of the bill is dedicated to startups and venture capital. Startups will be registred at specific public registries (mantained by the local chambers of commerce) and will be able to access specific provisions:
- more flexible labour contracts
- a special fiscal regime with reduced company formation costs
- fiscally favourable stock options regime
- can use equity to remunerate partners
- a simplified liquidation regime
- support for internationalization provided by ICE Institute
- Desk Italia will be the point of reference for potential foreign investors interested in investing in Italy
The same rules available for startups will be accessible to ‘registred incubators’, entities that support the development of startups. The government intends to invest 110 million euros in venture and potentially expand such investment through the involvement of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
Private citizens and companies that invest in startup or venture funds will be able to have a 19% fiscal deduction.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the bill is the introduction in Italy of equity crowdfunding for startups. Consob, the Italian equivalent of SEC, will have to define the regulation for equity crowdfunding, therefore much of the potential of this law will depend on how this new asset class will be regulated.
Nevertheless Italy is one of the few countries that has recognized the potential of crowdfunding, if this norm will be well implemented equity crowdfunding could have a significant impact on the Italian startup ecosystem.