Every missed opportunity is a lesson learned

After evaluating thousands of startups we can say at least two things. The first is that IAG attracts a large number of startups looking for investment and growth support. The second is that out of all our assessments, some, inevitably, can not be said to have been far-sighted. That is why we created our Anti-portfolio:a shortlist of those companies in which we have chosen not to invest but turned out to be successful, way beyond our expectations.

Online gaming

Evaluated by IAG’s members in 2008, Gioco Digitale is an online gaming platform founded in late 2006 by Carlo d'Acunto, Carlo Gualandri and Fausto Gimondi. In 2009 (less than three years after being started!), it was acquired by Bwin from Austria for an estimated value of over 100 million euros.

Why didn't we invest?
The initial valuation was considered too high for the development stage.


Assessed by IAG members in 2010, Docebo is an e-learning platform for enterprise companies both with the SAAS model and integrated with business processes. In 2012, it closed a $2.4M Series A round with Principia and, in 2015, the Canadian PE fund Klass Capital entered the cap table and took over the VC shares. Finally, in October 2019 Docebo was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and in December 2020 on the Nasdaq (the myth of Italian startup IPOs is debunked!).

Why didn't we invest?
Many of us thought that the business was not very scalable and that the offer was not very distinctive in the market...


The Seedcamp team presented itself to IAG members in 2011 as a European seed fund with an early stage focus; over the years it has invested, among others, in Transferwise, a unicorn whose latest valuation is $3.5B, and in Grabcad (acquired by Stratasys for $100M). In 2017, Draper acquired the fund in a secondary transaction with a 4x return for investors.

Why didn't we invest?
We preferred to give priority to direct investments in companies...

Machine automation

Brought to IAG’s attention in 2011, it was presented at an investor day in 2012. SMRE was a company active since 1999 in the development and production of automatic machinery for various sectors; among the various activities it had developed and patented an innovative technology of electric motor for motorcycles (IET) that distinguished itself from other electric motors to be compatible with a classic mechanical transmission (clutch and 6-speed gearbox). SMRE was then listed on AIM in April 2016 and in January 2019 it was acquired by Solaredge Technologies in a half cash and half share deal for a value of over $150M.

Why didn't we invest?
We were unable to promote the value of business angels over other types of investors. The entrepreneur preferred an investment in SMRE from Idea Capital to our proposed investment in the IET spin-off.

Social media advertising

Presented at an investor day in 2012, AdEspresso is one of the top Facebook advertising partners, and provides a unique technology, among the most advanced in the industry, to help any kind of business to reach an audience of over one billion people, including Facebook and Instagram users. In February 2017 Hootsuite announced that it acquired AdEspresso in December 2016 in a mixed cash-stocks transaction (undisclosed value).

Why didn't we invest?
We were doubtful about the scalability and defensibility of the innovation…