Moai Capital Group, a new Italian seed fund with European tastes

[Italy] A Moai statue couldn’t be more appropriate as a logo for an Italian venture capital firm. Like those big heads emerging on Easter Island’s otherwise flat landscape, Italy definitely needs new heads and brains (and money too) to appear in a fairly static VC market.

Milan-based Moai Capital Group is indeed a curious monolith on a remote island: It was founded by a 29-year-old entrepreneur, and the VC firm’s investments won’t be focused on national start-ups only. UK, France and Spain will get the biggest share of the pie, while just 20% of the fund will stay in Italy. It’ll have an eye on Eastern Europe too.

Moai Capital Group is providing seed funding (usually €50-250k) to companies operating in real time media, SaaS, cloud computing, mobile advertising and similar sectors. Pre-revenue stage companies are OK, as long as they have a business model that works and potentially can get to big figures in terms of user base. Mentorship and strategic support are part of the investment, as well as marketing and biz dev advice. The company is accepting new applications on its site.

The founder, Emanuele Tha, is a former associate at Dpixel, one of the most active venture funds of the country. He has an MBA from Sda Bocconi and previously founded two Internet-based companies, Vector Advertising and, both of which he sold.

Tha’s portfolio of investments currently includes, a marketplace for handmade things à la Etsy that launched in early 2010;, a vertical blog network dedicated to gossip, health, shopping, beauty and so on; and, a Swiss/Italian (micro) blogging platform which is about to launch in the UK, France, Germany and South America.