Italy’s premier league backs VC fund

The E150m fund will invest in unquoted European telco and Internet companies.

TLcom1 brings together some of most important names in Italian business – Agnelli, Pirelli, Fossati and would-be prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. They will provide a third of the fund's initial capital.

The investment alliance is the work of Maurizio Caio, a former telecommunications expert with Bain, Cuneo e Associati, the Italian branch of global management consultants Bain & Company.

Caio has convinced these giants of the old economy that VC investing will deliver not only healthy returns, but knock-on business opportunities as well.

Caio will be joined at the head of TLcom Capital Partners – which will manage the fund – by Giampaolo Di Dio and Mauro Pretolani, also ex-Bain partners, and Tomaso Tommasi di Vignano.

Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter Capital Partners, the investment bank's private equity business, will invest E50m in the fund, which is expected to reach E200m by the end of the May.

The fund will focus its investments on mobile Internet, high bandwidth and e-commerce infrastructure businesses across Europe.