Innovative start-ups must be established with certain characteristics under art. 25 (2), of Decree-Law no. 179/2012. In particular, in addition to being incorporated in the form of a liabiility company, an innovative start-up must have the following characteristics:
- it must be newly established or have been in existence for less than 5 years;
- have its principal place of business and interests in
- Italy; or
- in another Member State of the European Union, or the European Economic Area Member State as long as the company has a production facility or branch in Italy;
- have gross turnover of less less than 5 million euros;
- must not distribute, or ever have distributed, any profits;
- have as its exclusive or main corporate object the development, production and marketing of innovative products or services with high technological value;
- not be formed as a result of a merger, de-merger or transfer of a business or branch of business.
A start-up will be considered “innovative” if it can be demonstrated that 15% of its turnover depends on research and development activities, if the start-up is the owner or licensee of a registered patent, or employs PhDs, PhD candidates or researchers in its workforce.