Category: Valutazioni d’azienda e di intangibles (page 1 of 5)

La bancabilità delle start-up

Nei primi anni della loro vita, le start-up sono tipicamente prive di indebitamento, non essendo in grado di generare flussi di cassa positivi o di concedere garanzie adeguate. Il capitale raccolto risulta pertanto riferibile al patrimonio netto (equity), che rappresenta il serbatoio di cassa che consente alle start-up di sopravvivere sino a quando maturano un surplus di liquidità. Quando una start-up raggiunge la sua maturità e il break-even finanziario, grazie anche alla finanza ponte di intermediari specializzati (venture capital, private equity, finanza agevolata), può iniziare a indebitarsi. Ciò rappresenta un importante traguardo, riservato alle scale-up che sopravvivono alla selezione darwiniana, oltrepassando la «valle della morte» (che comporta l’azzeramento della liquidità e del patrimonio netto).


Le start up innovative rappresentano società neocostituite ad alto potenziale di crescita, che solitamente assorbono molta liquidità nei primi anni di vita, per finanziare lo sviluppo, a fronte di attività raramente utilizzabili come garanzia. Ciò le rende poco appetibili per gli intermediari bancari tradizionali, di norma rimpiazzati nella fase di seed e scale up da altri intermediari specializzati come i fondi di venture capital o private equity, che diversificano il loro portafoglio, fondando le proprie strategie su un exit pluriennale con forti incrementi di valore attesi dagli investimenti che sopravvivono ad una selezione darwiniana. La valutazione di una start up è intrinsecamente problematica, a causa della novità del business e del settore (che ne incorpora i connotati di innovatività, che non consentono di trarre utili indicazioni di natura storica), nonché per la natura della struttura aziendale e del modello di business. Gli scenari della valutazione cambiano molto nelle diverse fasi di vita di una start up, durante le quali variano, anche sensibilmente, i ricavi, i costi, il circolante, gli investimenti, i flussi di cassa e l’indebitamento verso soci e, in prospettiva, terzi finanziatori.


Traditional business planning follows a managerial top-down approach where forecasts are conceived within the firm and occasionally compared with market returns. The increasing availability of timely big data, sometimes fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT), allows receiving continuous feedbacks that can be conveniently used to refresh assumptions and forecasts, using a complementary bottom-up approach. Forecasting accuracy can be substantially improved by incorporating timely empirical evidence, with consequent mitigation of both information asymmetries and the risk of facing unexpected events. Network theory may constitute a further interpretation tool, considering the interaction of nodes represented by IoT and big data, mastering digital platforms, and physical stakeholders. Artificial intelligence, database interoperability, and data-validating blockchains are consistent with the networking interpretation of the interaction of physical and virtual nodes. Flexible real options represent a natural by-product of big data consideration in forecasting, representing an added value that improves Discounted Cash Flow metrics. The comprehensive interaction of big data within networked ecosystems eventually brings to Augmented Business Planning.


Discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis is a method of valuing security, project, firm, or asset using the time value of money. All future cash flows are estimated and discounted by using the cost of capital to express their present values. Cash flows in the numerator of the formula need to keep an intrinsic consistency with the cost of capital in the denominator that incorporates risk factors. This well-known framework reflects the forecast business model of the firm that incorporates trendy issues like Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) drivers, and other sustainability patterns, ranging from corporate social responsibility (CSR) concerns to circular economy issues. The digital dimension also contributes to reshaping the DCF metrics, easing the circulation of big data that soften information asymmetries. Intangible-driven scalability potential reflects in higher economic and financial marginality, proxied by the EBITDA or other parameters, and fostered by B2B2C-enabling digital platforms. The impact of social responsibility and ESG compliance on the creation of market value for firms and investors is still questioned. Rating issues for ESG-compliant funds remain controversial. Further research is so needed to analyze this interdisciplinary issue.


Marketing or technology-related intangibles foster economic scalability. This increased return on operating profit derives from a higher EBITDA, a key economic and financial margin widely used in firm appraisal that is reflected in the ratio EBITDA / Sales (a sort of “monetary” Return on Sales). Intangibles have a scalable impact on the EBITD(A) if they contribute to boost monetary revenues and/or to decrease monetary OPEX. EBITDA represents the real engine behind value creation and economic-financial growth. EBITDA has an impact on most profitability ratios and market multipliers, ranging from ROIC, ROE, EVA, MVA, the economic profit to Enterprise Value/EBITDA, Price/Book Value, Price/Earnings, etc. This study analyses these links starting from a comprehensive accounting perspective, critically examining the causal relationship according to which intangible investments increase the EBITDA and have a positive impact on both profitability ratios and market multipliers.


E-Health is a healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication that covers everything related to medicine and computers. Complementary telemedicine is the distribution of healthrelated services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. This industry is relatively young and rapidly evolving. It is so unsurprising that many innovative firms are still in their infancy, belonging to a startup phase. Cutting-edge telemedicine applications aim to achieve optimal patient care and outcomes. They offer indispensable tools for home healthcare, remote patient monitoring, and disease management. A patientcentric vision orientates the strategies and the corporate governance patterns of the composite stakeholders. The analysis of the innovative business model of an e-Health startup is a pre-requisite for its appraisal and embeds scalability options. The evaluation depends on the prioritizing identification of the crucial value drivers. The evaluation metrics is mainly based on expected cash flow and market comparisons.

Cash flow forecasting of debt-free startups

Startups are typically debt-free since they are unable to produce positive cash flows or to provide adequate asset-backed guarantees in the first years of their life. Raised capital is so represented by equity, and its monetary component is the cash reservoir that keeps the firm alive until it reaches a liquidity surplus. Cash flow forecasting is crucial to estimate the financial breakeven (runway cash flow), combining the EBITDA generated (or absorbed) by the startup with its change in net working capital and CAPEX. The unlevered features of the startup imply that its opportunity cost of capital is represented just by the cost of collecting equity. In accounting terms, the EBIT tends to coincide with the net result of the income statement (in the absence of debt service and taxes, due to a negative tax base), and the operating cash flow with the net cash flow. When the startup reaches maturity and financial breakeven, it can start raising debt, so increasing its financial leverage. This represents a mighty milestone that can be reached only by the firms that survive Darwinian selection, bypassing the “Death Valley” (that indicates a cash- and equity- burn out), and overcoming the “winter of capital”. Scalable volumes, albeit appealing, are insufficient to guarantee survival, unless backed by appropriate economic marginality and consequent liquidity generation. To the extent that startup valuation is often based on Discounted Cash Flows, the forecast of its liquidity is a pre-requisite for appraisal. The risk that the real liquidity may be different from the expected one needs to be fairly incorporated in the cost of capital used to discount the risky cash flows. Forwardlooking valuations should never underestimate the importance of liquidity, remembering that “cash is king” and that … all roads bring to cash. Wise valuations cool down irrational expectations, avoiding to back exuberance, and may deflate prices after pumped listing of promising startups.


Essendo il valore “normale” basato su comparazioni con beni e servizi similari, emergono non pochi problemi – fino a sconfinare nel paradosso – quando si tenta di applicarlo alle cessioni di marchi o brevetti. Infatti i marchi sono registrabili e le invenzioni brevettabili se ed in quanto unici e quindi tutto fuorché “normali”: il loro valore deriva dall’originalità ed esclusività, che ostacolano i confronti. Di ciò si sono accorti gli IAS, che non consentono, per marchi e brevetti, una stima del fair value, parente prossimo del valore normale.


Food technology (FoodTech) is a branch of food science that deals with the production processes that make foods. AgriTech (AgTech) is the use of technology in agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture with the aim to improve yield, efficiency, and profitability. Agritech can be products, services, or applications derived from agriculture that improve various input/output processes. Investments in FoodTech and AgriTech will continue to increase to help deliver on the promise of healthier, more sustainable food systems and more efficient supply / value chains. Startups challenge incumbent food producers and offer digital solutions or other innovative results. The analysis of the innovative business model of a FoodTech or AgriTech startup is a pre-requisite for its appraisal. The evaluation depends on the prioritizing identification of the crucial value drivers.

Da Netflix a Youtube e Raiplay: la valutazione delle piattaforme video on demand e over the top

Le piattaforme Over The Top (OTT) rappresentano un servizio di streaming offerto direttamente attraverso internet, aggirando le televisioni via cavo o via satellite che tradizionalmente offrono tali servizi. La funzione video on demand (VoD) consente allo spettatore di visualizzare contenuti multimediali dove e quando vuole. Le applicazioni innovative offrono soluzioni di streaming via internet, disintermediando la catena di fornitura. L’accesso a internet di smartphone, tablet e altri dispositivi è facilitato da Mobile app profilate. I social media contribuiscono alla viralità dei contenuti multimediali. L’analisi dell’innovativo modello di business delle piattaforme rappresenta un prerequisito per la valutazione, che incorpora opzioni di scalabilità digitale, tipica dei beni immateriali non rivali. La valutazione dipende dalla preventiva identificazione dei value drivers, cui sono connessi i flussi economici e finanziari, e dal posizionamento strategico della piattaforma all’interno dell’ecosistema multimediale. I metodi di valutazione si basano anzitutto sui flussi di cassa prospettici e sulle transazioni comparabili.


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© 2021 prof. Roberto Moro Visconti

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