Kobo Funds is an international funding network built around a community of experienced Venture Partners providing pre-screened opportunities to qualified investors.

The investment business landscape is in a period of profound change:

  • entrepreneurs can access tradition-breaking new options when it comes to fundraising;
  • investors are faced with innovative alternative opportunities in which to invest their capital;
  • senior executives across the world are on a journey towards equity investments and entrepreneurship, turning knowledge and experience into powerful assets for the benefit of co-investors.

Kobo’s mission is to enable its worldwide community of Venture Partners in connecting with investors to fund a proprietary deal flow of groundbreaking ventures. This is carried out by:

  • engaging executives, entrepreneurs and investors - both private and institutional - around a common cause: value creation based on entrepreneurship;
  • structuring syndicated deals led by Venture Partners, where different group of investors (private equity, venture capital, business angels, private funders) benefit from the experience of the lead investor.

With Kobo Funds every investor can join entrepreneurs and Venture Partners in building successful businesses.

Imagine in 1977 you’d financed Apple with $250,000, just like Mike Markkula, in Apple: at IPO, three years later, your initial capital would have grown to $203 million.

Over the past decade, if you had invested along with the average US angel investor’s portfolio, you would have pocketed an average annual return of 27%.

Apollo Global Management fund, on its acquisition of LyondellBasell Industries (one of the more profitable private equity mega-deals), achieved a five times return on the initial investment in just a few years.

Today, in Kobo Funds, you have a new way of accessing companies who are looking to raise capital, working alongside investment experts and backed up by the most highly experienced managers. You can choose from a range of companies at various stages of development: from startups to fast growing micro caps and SME’s.

Opportunities are identified and screened by Kobo Fund’s advisory board and by industry experts chosen from our network of 130,000+ Venture Managers. Opportunities come invariably with high growth and innovation potential but will often be off the radar of the institutional investment community.

Every funding project is led by a Venture Partner who is working closely with the entrepreneur and most of the times has invested his own money at the same conditions offered to other funders.

Startups and SMEs are alone responsible for 85% of all new jobs created in Europe. They are the driving force behind economic growth and should have access to the capital necessary to develop and to compete in global markets.

But those firms continually find that their requirements do not sit easily with the conventional valuation criteria of traditional finance: the investment is too small; company valuation is too intrinsically linked to the entrepreneur himself; the relatively early stage means the risk is too high; the entrepreneur can offer no formal guarantee.

And yet, on the other side of the fence, there are enormous capital reserves: $18 trillion of global private financial wealth are available for alternative investments. Investments that are higher in risk, but that don’t simply track stock market indices and can beat the usual benchmarks.

With Kobo Funds, each entrepreneur has a prefential channel which he can use to access startup or development finance tapping into a global pool.

Kobo Funds offers an open, equitable and transparent system backed up by a network of Venture Partners who are ready to support companies in maximising their potential and to fully leverage capital raised and to be the central trusted point of contact for investors.

Our team has been working together with ExecutiveSurf - the international executive sourcing platform - for many years, facilitating the link between management, companies and capital.

We have thousands of executives in our network. They have competences that are not currently being fully exploited and can offer early stage companies the benefit of their experience in complex business situations: coaches, business leaders and sector specialists who can prepare companies for sustained growth and for an approach to the finance markets.

If that sounds like you, you can become a central link - a Venture Partner - in the connection between companies and financial capital.

You’ll play a crucial role in identifying and selecting investment opportunities, then writing their development plans to take to investors. You’ll work closely with shareholders, leveraging your competences and taking a vital step towards becoming an entrepreneur yourself.

Kobo Funds turns knowledge and experience into powerful assets for the benefit of investors and entrepreneurs. If you’d like to hear more, sign up and tell us about yourself.

Alessandro Tosi, Founder & CEO   linkedin

Alessandro Tosi

Alessandro’s professional experience spans from management consulting to interim management and private equity, always with a focus on rule-breaking business model innovation. After an initial experience at Andersen Consulting, the MBA at SDA Bocconi and a corporate appointment as development projects manager of MTS Group, Alessandro has spent more than fifteen years in senior-level roles at professional services firms such as Bossard, JMAC, Amrop International and A.T. Kearney, where he headed the executive search & interim management unit in Italy. In 2000 he took a decisive step towards entrepreneurship and founded ExecutiveSurf. In 2009 he headed ExecutiveSurf's private equity advisory unit, built around the venture management model connecting senior executives and investments, that has led to the launch of Kobo Funds.


Davide Grasso, Founder & Board Advisor   linkedin

Davide Grasso

Davide Grasso is Converse's CEO starting from June 2016. Before this appointment, Davide has been Nike's Chief Marketing Officer, in charge for all of Nike's marketing and advertising efforts across all categories and regions. He has an extensive background in fashion and high-end apparel. He is one of the industry's leading brand marketers and has been a key contributor to Nike's style and performance direction over the years. Davide's past roles have included Director of Marketing for Italy; Director of Apparel Marketing for Europe, Director of Brand Marketing for the USA, Vice President of Brand and Category Management for Asia Pacific, Vice President of Global Brand Marketing.

Davide has worked in all six of Nike's global regions and all six sports categories. He has business degrees from SDA Bocconi in Milan, Italy and the University of Turin, Italy.


Maurizio de Martino, Partner   linkedin

Maurizio de Martino

Maurizio is a senior banker specialized in asset management and investment banking. He is currently Senior Advisor for the London Stock Exchange Group. Previously he has been Head of the capital introduction business at New College Capital, Director at Banca Finnat and Operating Partner of Garnell Advisory, Managing Director of CAAM AI SGR, Online Sim and BPM Ireland ltd and BPM Ireland Asset Management. He also held various senior managerial positions in financial institutions including: Intesa San Paolo Group, Unicredit Group, TradingLab Banca, Abaxbank, Citigroup. He started his professional career at Coopers & Lybrand (London Office).


Filippo Sabatini, Partner   linkedin

Filippo Sabatini

Filippo Sabatini has over 28 years’ experience in the financial industry. Filippo joined Citi in Milan in 1987 and has covered during his career various senior and executive roles: GTS EMEA Public Sector Head, EMEA Head of Power Energy Chemical Metals & Minings Client Management and Transaction Services Global Public Sector Head with the responsibility for the global strategy and the business execution for Public Sector Citi Transaction Services business on a global basis. From May 2013 he has been Managing Director of EMEA the Public Sector Group in relation to Corporate and Investment Banking business. Furthermore, Filippo has been contributor to the International Advisory Group for World Bank task force for Government Payments, to the World Economic Forum task force for Developing Future Social Protection Systems and to the UN Disaster Risk Reduction taskforce.


Rod Bailey, Director, Executive Sourcing   linkedin

Rod Bailey

Rod is ExecutiveSurf’s CEO and has spent most of his career creating or investing in innovation in the executive search sector. Rod’s former experience includes a partnership at SpeedEgg, early stage venture fund belonging to Syntek Capital and the first ten years of Nicholson International, an executive search firm which he co-founded, expanding to global proportions (from 2 employees, £120,000 revenues to 420 employees and £20m in 31 offices and 24 countries) over 10 years.


Davide Grasso, Founder & Board Advisor   linkedin

Davide Grasso

Davide Grasso is Converse's CEO starting from June 2016. Before this appointment, Davide has been Nike's Chief Marketing Officer, in charge for all of Nike's marketing and advertising efforts across all categories and regions. He has an extensive background in fashion and high-end apparel. He is one of the industry's leading brand marketers and has been a key contributor to Nike's style and performance direction over the years. Davide's past roles have included Director of Marketing for Italy; Director of Apparel Marketing for Europe, Director of Brand Marketing for the USA, Vice President of Brand and Category Management for Asia Pacific, Vice President of Global Brand Marketing.

Davide has worked in all six of Nike's global regions and all six sports categories. He has business degrees from SDA Bocconi in Milan, Italy and the University of Turin, Italy.


Shlomi Selim Benbasat, Board Advisor   linkedin

Shlomi Selim Benbasat

Entrepreneur at heart. Actively invests and develops companies in various stages of maturity and industries. Selim started his carrier as a professional investment banker leading technology based start-ups from seed stage to exits in Israel and in London. Later he joined Gulman Group, one of the leading family offices in Turkey, and was in charge of strategic business development and portfolio management. In 2004 he acquired Gulman’s chemical division and grew it 22 time fold. In 2006 he founded BenTek aiming at T.elecom I.nternet M.edia E.ntertainment (TIME) and Advertising industries. In 2011 Selim co-founded BenTek Group’s PEVC investment arm focusing on T.I.M.E ventures. Its first investment is adMingle.

Selim holds PEVC executive education from Harvard University, Executive Education and BA in Business Administration from Middlesex University in London and Baruch Collage in NYC.


Open to all investors, business ideas and professionals.

Trasparency to all users. We will avoid conflicts of interest or inequitable information flow which gives rise to unfair advantage to the few to the detriment of the many.

Professionality. We value the human capital and intellectual property that is often overlooked in the capital markets.

Entrepreneurship. We believe in value creation through balanced growth, not through financial shortcuts.

Sharing the wealth generated by hosting charitable fund raising campaigns free of charge and making no financial gain from selected partner organizations.

What are the costs involved for an entrepreneur who is seeking finance?

The cost of publishing an investment opportunity depends on the initiative's status. In fact, in order to maximise chances of success, each opportunity will be put through a qualification process (examination of documentation, interview with the shareholders and management etc). The selection process will take no longer than two weeks and if successful, will allow for publication on the Kobo Funds portal. That process, which entails pre-qualification and input from a venture manager, does of course have a cost. This cost varies according to the activities required. In addition, Kobo Funds gets a commission on funds raised. Each individual campaign has a minimum target investment. If this target is not hit, funds commited by investors are released, unless otherwise agreed with investors.

What are the costs for investors?

It costs nothing to invest.

Is there a limit to how much I can/must invest?

The minimum investment varies depending on the type of campaign. Club investment initiatives for professional investors require a higher minimum commitment.

Is the investment made directly in the target company?

Kobo Funds has decided to maintain maximum flexibility in terms of investment vehicle. Depending on the campaign entity and on the nature of the agreement with the entrepreneur, an investment can be made in a dedicated fund, a special purpose vehicle, or directly in the target company.

What are the risks involved in an investment of this type?

As with all equity investments, there is a risk of entire investment loss. For this reason, most expert angel investors allocate only ‘surplus money’ for this type of investment.

Which sorts of company can carry out a campaign with Kobo Funds?

Any. From startups to SMEs.

How easy is it to cash in my investment?

As the market grows up as a sector, so a secondary market for acquired shares is appearing. But as of today, unless specific conditions are attached to a particular deal, you should consider your shares tied in until a listing, a full trade sale or a replacement deal.

Have investment opportunities been screened?

Yes. Both the Kobo Funds advisory board and the Venture Partner analyse the investment to ensure adherence with Kobo Funds policy, that all necessary information has been made available and to provide a fully informed opinion as to the viability of the investment. Besides this, you can evaluate the strength of an initiative by the presence of professional investors in a capacity of ‘cornerstone investor’.

How is company’s confidential information protected?

Before starting a campaign, Kobo Funds agrees the level of confidentiality required with each company. For example, any information deemed confidential will only be sent to potential investors under the authorization of the Venture Partner responsible for that particular campaign.

By which process does a Venture Partner get assigned to a company?

Before accepting a campaign, Kobo Funds kicks off a search to identify a shortlist of suitably qualified Venture Partners. Between them, Kobo Funds and the company make the final choice. From that moment on, the Venture Partner becomes the investment manager responsible for all activities connected to the initiative including all information flow to investors both pre and post investment. The Venture Partner is often investing in the company, and thus acting as the syndicate leader.