Andrea Giannangelo, 21, is the young mind behind iubenda, a platform that allows anyone who owns a website to generate a comprehensive Privacy Police.
A Web designer since the age of 10, he has already taken part in several web projects. Launched in February 2011, the Milan, Italy-based company recently raised €100k in funding from a syndicate of venture capitalists and angel investors (read our news).
As founder and president of iubenda, Andrea answered some questions about these first busy months.
The Idea and the Company
FinSMEs: Andrea, thank you for joining us. First, tell us something about iubenda. How did you come up with the idea of creating it?
FinSMEs: What is it? How does it work?
After filling the fields about the owner of the website, the user can embed the policy into the pages of its website via a small icon containing the link to the legal document (for those who are familiar with Creative Commons, it works in much the same way), which is hosted by Iubenda. It is always available and can be updated at any time with a single click directly on the service’s website“.
FinSMEs: Could you introduce us the other members of the team?
Andrea: “Our team also includes Domenico Vele, co-founder and CTO, who brings to the company over 10 years of experience as an IT consultant, and Carlo Rossi Chauvenet, a lawyer and Professor at the Bocconi University, who manages the legal aspects of Iubenda“.
FinSMEs: Why did you start thinking about raising seed capital?
Andrea: “There are a few good reasons why we raised seed capital. They include:
– speed: without the funding we were getting too slow, we couldn’t completely focus on iubenda for subsistence reasons;
– credibility: in total our investors founded 10 companies (one of them went public), divest a few of them, funded another 10. Backing our company, they are giving us credibility, this resulting in a great boost in the market;
– network: our investors can count on a great network and this has already helped us many times“.
FinSMEs: Today, many tech companies try to raise venture capital and I know that this is no easy. What did you do to reach this target?
Andrea: “This process took us months, actually. We didn’t have a prototype and we had to prove our capacities. This forced us to meet almost all of the seed fund managers and business angels across Italy. Personally, I didn’t have a strong track record (hard when you’re 21), but I have been a web designer since the age of 10, and some success including webtelevideo.com, which has recorded millions of visitors so far, have proved my ability to manage projects“.
FinSMEs: Who are iubenda’s seed investors?
Andrea: “Our backers include:
– Digital Investment SCA SICAR, which is advised by dPixel, the venture capital firm founded by Gianluca Dettori;
– Andrea Di Camillo, who founded Vitaminic and Banzai Group, currently manager at Quantica,
– Marco Magnocavallo, the serial entrepreneur behind Blogo, which was recently sold to Populis for $8.5m”.
FinSMEs: What about your relationship with them? Was it easy to close the deal?
Andrea: “The relationships have always been great, they have been supporting us during our daily activities since the first days. At the beginning, we started speaking to completely trust each other. Then, after some months, closing the deal resulted to be easy“.
The Present and the Future
FinSMEs: How are you using the capital?
Andrea: “The funds are being used for working capital. We need to reach the market fit before increasing the burn rate”.
FinSMEs: Which phase are you now?
Andrea: “iubenda is in Private Beta right now and hope to launch as soon as possible. To speed up our go-to-market process, we also created a viral program that allows users to gain positions in line through sharing a link on major social network such as Facebook and Twitter and join iubenda“.
Do you already plan to raise a “Series A venture capital funding round”?
Andrea: “Fortunately, some investors already asked us to be part of our next funding. Today, as I said, our next step is to reach the market fit. At that time, we’ll probably need other resources to scale our model. Another round is surely part of our future”.
FinSMEs: Given this experience, what would you say to other young or would-be entrepreneurs who are going through a similar process? Is venture capital the only solution?
Andrea: “Venture capital could be a solution, your own money could be a solution, your family’s money could be a solution, even raising no money could be a solution. In our case, we had no choice, and sold a small piece of our company to reach the next step and increase our chance to succeed”.
FinSMEs: Could you give them some quick advices on how to approach potential investors?
Andrea: “First: be patient. Don’t ask for money at the first meeting. Play your cards right and wait until you’re sure they trust you. Second: study your product, your market and your target. Memorize your pitch and never settle, keep on improving it as much as you can”.