Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mind the Bridge on Corriere.it - first steps


A banner in homepage, a detailed article by Marco Pratellesi as introduction, plus 14 insights, focused on all semi-finalist startups and an interesting map of innovation: the collaboration between Corriere.it and Mind the Bridge is bearing the first fruits.

We expect more actions in the following days (watch for the magazine and Corriere in paper...)





Tuesday, October 27, 2009

20 years to pull Italy back on its feet

I'm still digesting the overdose of information I gathered during the 3-day Pio Manzu conference.
So many are the reflections on the future of our youth (in particular Italian youth) discussed by eminent experts from all corners of the world, that I could write several days of relevant posts.
Here're a few snapshots: (on. Meloni, first picture) "Italy has been living for the first time ever an era where the current generation are in a worst situation than their parents."
"The trust that
Italians place in their media, politicians and future is drastically less than anybody else in Europe (research from La Sapienza university)".

My panel was supposed to play the role of the positive actions facing a situation that is not less than alarming.
Here's my presentation (in Italian).
The general session seemed very similar to a UN summit (or so I can extrapolate). I was sitting in between Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel (who surprised me when I saw him taking notes on his hand, the part with no tattoos), Gianni Minoli (who seemed to like his blackberry a lot) and Emerson Gattafoni (from whom I watch all series), all recipients of a gold medal from the Italian president.

Sitting behind me, the hilarious Bros (1st italian graffiti), who spent most of his time, taking a graffiti of my back (pretty nice actually).

[more to come]

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) starts in Pisa on Nov 16


This year, the inaugural event of the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Italy will be held in Pisa on November 16th, at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna. The event, organized in collaboration with Mind The Bridge, will be focused on "Research in Italy: entrepreneurship which starts from science and technology".
Marco Marinucci, Alberto Onetti and Matteo Daste from Mind The Bridge will join the event through video conferencing.



For the full program and updates see www.sssup.it/gew.
To register please send an email to generazione1@gmail.com

Friday, October 23, 2009

Start up in the spotlight: TargetBet.

Let's meet TargetBet's Luca Pettini, while getting ready for November 6 Venture Camp in Milano.

Q.
Luca, can you tell us briefly what is your company about?

A.
TargetBet is a new internet service to support people to place online sports bets and improve their chances of winning.
Basically we give the opportunity to our users to share their bets, compare with other users and be notified when best users place a new interesting bet.

It’s all about turn sports betting social.

Q.
How did you get in touch with the Mind the Bridge project?

A.
I heard about Mind the Bridge about one year ago, reading an internet site that now I don't recall.
I forgot about it, until one day, in my University, I attended a meeting about this great opportunity. The meeting was led by last years finalist, Augusto Coppola (eris4).
His speech was very interesting and I knew from then on, I had to apply to MTB2009.

Q.
How do you think that the MtB experience can help your company to develop a global presence?

A.
MtB literally helped my company an immense amount.
Targetbet's first business plan was born especially to compete in Mtb Challenge: I entered the startup Italian scene with my participation at MtB, it’s the first important step for me and for TargetBet.

Q.
What about your expectations regarding the time you will eventually spend in Silicon Valley?

A.
I think it will be a terrific opportunity for me and for TargetBet: all the people I met during these years told me incredible things about Silicon Valley, it’s like the heaven of entrepreneurs. I think an opportunity like this can be a big step for me, and a bigger one to TargetBet.

Q.
What are your personal views of the italian startup scene?

A.
I’m new in this territory, I don’t know many people from the Italian scene, but what I can say is, I see an incredible force of will: maybe here is hard to find capital, is hard to contact angel investor, venture capitalists, but I met a lot of people with a lot of intelligent and winning ideas: I’m sure that 15min under the flashlight and investors will understand that also in Italy we have a little Silicon Valley.

Thank you Luca, and good luck then!







Start up in the spotlight: Adant.

Among the 2009 Mind the Bridge semi-finalist, the communication company Adant. We have exchanged a short Q & A session with Daniele Piazza.

Q.
Daniele, can you tell us briefly what is your company about?

A.
Adant develops and markets novel and revolutionary antennas for next generation wireless communications. Our goal is to become world leader in providing antenna solutions that can be used in smartphones, notebooks and wireless access points to deliver unprecedented connectivity.
Our antenna technology is also ideal for RFId systems to enhance its reliability in all main industrial applications.

Q.
How did you get in touch with the Mind the Bridge project?

A.
The first time I’ve heard of Mind the Bridge I was attending a congress on the Italian startup scene in the field of ICT.
Fabrizio Capobianco presented the MtB project. It seemed a great opportunity for us… we started from there.

Q.
How do you think that the MtB experience can help your company to develop a global presence?

A.
We believe that MtB can give us visibility with Venture Capitalists and provide us with feedback on how to develop a company with a global presence.

Q.
What about your expectations regarding the time you will eventually spend in Silicon Valley?

A.
Many of the most successful companies in the world got started in Silicon Valley. Getting to know better this environment will be a valuable experience. I expect to make connections with investors and other entrepreneurs and to receive important feedbacks for better developing our business.

Q.
What are your personal views of the Italian startup scene?

A.
There are more and more opportunities for entrepreneurs eager to start a business from their revolutionary ideas. There is a growing interest to invest in startups… We are going in the right direction!


Best of luck, Daniele and Adant!




Start up in the spotlight: WiTech.

Another semi-finalist company, getting ready for Venture Camp 2009: WiTech. Mind the Bridge has interviewed its CEO and EVP Andrea Calcagno.

Q.
Andrea, can you tell us briefly what is your company about?

A.
WiTech is a solutions company founded in 2003 as a spin-off of the University of Pisa, Italy.
The company has gained quickly a foothold in the NGN/NGS scenario focusing on standard 3G and 4G wireless technologies such as HSxPA, WiMAX and LTE. WiTech is the developer of TEA|WiMAX and TEA|LTE, a family of powerful and unique business case analysis tools; as well as the provider of innovative, BPM-enabled OSS/BSS solutions, with a focus on the delivery of turnkey WiMAX CSNs, that leverage the company’s modular and scalable WROP (access & service management) and TelcoGIS (geographic information system) platforms.

Q.
How did you get in touch with the Mind the Bridge project?

A.
Through some friends of mine that work in Venture Capital Sector.

Q.
How do you think that the MtB experience can help your company to develop a global presence?

A.
At the moment I am involved in fund raising activities for my company in order to support its own international expansion; the Silicon Valley is the best location for VCs in Telco Segment and, particular, for 4G one.
I think the MtB experience could accelerate our process.

Q.
What about your expectations regarding the time you will eventually spend in Silicon Valley?

A.
My expectation is to set out our innovative business idea to VCs in Silicon Valley Arena.


Q.
What are your personal view of the Italian startup scene?

A.
I think there are just few startups with good business idesa and well skilled team because there is not the correct Italian VCs culture to support their financial needs and for Italian Startups is very difficult to work with Italian big companies due to political barriers.
You must consider that WiTech is the only Italian start-up that works internationally in WiMAX /4G Segment with innovative products and solutions in Business Case and NG OSS/BSS Arena.

Thank you Andrea, we wish you all the best for your company!



Start up in the spotlight: Tripshake.

Let's meet another Mind the Bridge semi-finalist 2009: Tripshake's Antonio Bonanno (on the right in the picture, with partner Giorgio Montorsino).

Q.
Antonio, can you tell us briefly what is your company about?

TripShake is a social marketplace for travel. We make it easy for travelers to find personalized offers provided by travel professionals all over the world.

At its core, is a question&answer service where users can obtain answers to their specific questions from expert and trustable sources, as well as from the experiences of other travelers.

Q.
How did you get in touch with the Mind the Bridge project?

Through my network: I met a colleague of one of the organizers at a networking event in Milano.

Q.
How do you think that the MtB experience can help your company to develop a global presence?

A.
The on-line travel market is big in Europe, but it's even bigger in the US: a gateway (or a bridge!) in that direction could be a great opportunity for us.

Q.
What about your expectations regarding the time you will eventually spend in Silicon Valley?

A.
Meet with strategic partners: someone who could help us developing our business overseas, or with whom we could start working with to lay the foundations for our future landing in the US.
And meeting with investors: TripShake could be presented as an investment opportunities to business angels and second-tier VC in the US.
The size of the investment we're looking for weighs about 400.000 €.

Q.
What are your personal view of the italian startup scene?

A.
From what I could see during this year as a startupper, I believe neither the investors nor the enterpreneurs are ready to think on the scale needed to really make the jump and build a relevent start-up scene. Too little money and ideas who are not ready to be invested in are the weak points of a growing start-up scene. I'm sure we'll get there at some point, but I fear it might be too late - other countries, like Spain or Eastern Europe, are moving faster than us!


Thank you Antonio, all the best for your project!





Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Presenting MTB @ Pio Manzu' conferenze


This coming Sunday (Oct 25) I will present the Mind the Bridge dreams and aspirations to a vast audience attending the 35th edition of the Pio Manzu' conference in Rimini.

I have to admit that when I received the invitation, several months ago, I had never heard of Pio Manzu'.
I blamed it to having spent a long time far from the Il Bel Paese.

When I saw that folks like Jovanotti, Vasco Rossi, Mubarack had been invited this year, I started paying attention.
Then I realized that the first conference took place in 1969, when I was still happily wearing diapers. In fact, most of our modern history was partially written at the Pio Manzu', including the cold war, Reagan, Gorbachov, Prince Diana and even Jovannotti had participated to previous editions.

Then I started feeling honored, and humbled to have the opportunity to tell the Mind the Bridge story to such a prestigious, international audience.

This year conference will focus on the values and illusions of the modern (errant) youth.
In particular, the historical challenges that the Italian youth is being facing for decades now, and why, as my friend Richard Boly used to characterize it, there is no fire burning in Italian young people.
That's my favourite topic, and I'm pretty opinionated about that.

So, if you happen to be not too far from Rimini, I strongly recommend to stop by. Entrance is free and a lot of "red-carpet" style people is expected to attend (and just in case you are ill, or something, you can watch it on RAI2 on Sunday morning).


From the "Presentation Skills" seminar in Milano, a famous rule by Guy Kawasaki.

Maybe many of you already know the famous 10-20-30 presentation rule by Guy Kawasaki, but even if you know it, this video - which is being shown during Mind the Bridge "Presentation Skills" seminars is a presentation lesson in itself. Enjoy!







Friday, October 16, 2009

Startup in the spotlight: Adhome.


Leonardo Costa of AdHome - one of the 14 semifinalists of this year's competition - has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about Mind the Bridge and related topics, seen from his perspective.

Q.
Leonardo, can you tell us briefly what your company is about?

A.
AdHome is a startup Internet Company with the aim to empower offline advertising through a web application that supports advertisers and publishers.

Q.
How did you get in touch with the Mind the Bridge project?




Giulio, another AdHome team member read an article about Mind the Bridge foundation and event, we liked the idea and we decided to participate with the project.

Q.
How do you think that the MtB experience can help your company to develop a global presence?

A.
I think that MTB can give to any good business idea the right exposure to the investors world which could help the venture to start and in the end to create value and benefits to the worldwide economic system.

Q.
What about your expectations regarding the time you will eventually spend in Silicon Valley?

A.
I expect the Silicon Valley event to be really productive in particular in terms of networking and I also expect to meet some ex colleagues and friends that still live there.

Q.
What are your personal view of the Italian startup scene?

A.
Honestly I'm relatively new within this world, I think I will have a more clear picture after MTB events; for sure I can say that looking around there are a lot of good business ideas and opportunities for the investors.

Thank you Leonardo, and... buona fortuna!




Internship in Silicon Valley with MTB: interview with Gabriele Scoditti

Gabriele has spent a few months in Redwood City, collaborating with several projects within the Mind the Bridge operations, and - besides enjoying the Californian lifestyle - he has done quite a lot of precious work before returning to his native city, Rome.


His views on our activities reflect the attitude of an Italian young professional who's seen the entrepreneurial system of the Silicon Valley from within.


Q.
Gabriele, can you sum up in three words this particular experience in your cv?

A.
Only three? Well, challenging from a personal point of view, stimulating and extremely useful from a professional point of view.

Q.
How did you arrive at MtB?
Was it in your interest radar already?

A.
I started to be interested in topics such as entrepreneurship and venture capital about a year ago.
While writing my thesis about business angels investing and while working as intern with "Italian Angels for Growth" in Milan, I heard several times about Mind the Bridge, and I became interested in this bridge between Italy and Silicon Valley.
With that being said, when I heard about the possibility of spending some months in the Bay Area, helping out the foundation in some activities related to the business plan competition and the Gymnasium, I thought it could be a dream. Well, sometimes dreams become reality...

Q.
What are your feelings about the Italian start-up community you met while collaborating?


A.
After some months spent working in close contact with the Italian start-ups scene, I have a positive feeling: the scene is moving, the community is growing and becoming more aware of all the opportunities offered by a globalized economy.
Nevertheless what we really need in Italy is to learn how to do business. Several times I met smart engineers with excellent idea in their minds, but without any knowledge of how to build a business from scratch.
In the majority of cases, they give up before starting. In this direction the work that needs to be done is still a lot.

Q.
Do you think that this experience helped you build your professional background? if yes, how?

A.
A work experience abroad is always very important, and, I must say, working in the Silicon Valley is definitely the best abroad-experience you can get.
With 5 years of business-related studies, with a thesis about the startups world, and with a strong interest in these topics, spending few months here has been simply perfect.
In this way, I had the opportunity to learn about this great eco-system and to better understand the importance of the fundamental factors the Silicon Valley is built on, as well as the relationships among these factors.

Q.
Imagine yourself 10 years from now: where do you see yourself: Italy, Silicon Valley or else... ?

A.
This is the hardest question. When you are 24, it's really difficult to make plans for the future. On the one side, I really wish in 10 years I could be satisfied and really passionate about what I'm doing and therefore the issue should not be where I'll live, but what I'll do.
On the other side, if I spend some years abroad (especially in the Silicon Valley), I hope one day I could go back to Italy and do something useful for the Country I really love.

Q.
What's the best and the worst thing that happened to you in this time?

A.
The best thing was being able to know a lot of really interesting people with different backgrounds, as well as increasing my network of contacts.
The worst? Probably, the lost I suffered in the semi-final of the foosball tournament organized with the Funambol guys.

Q.
Your plans for the immediate future?

A.
Don't miss the plane to go back home. Is it a good answer? =)




Startup in the spotlight: Echolight.


For our interviews with 2009 semi-finalist, we have had a chat with Echolight's Matteo Pernisa.

Q.
Matteo, can you tell us briefly what your company is about?

A.
Echolight is a bio-medical start up company pioneering breakthrough solutions for osteoporosis diagnosis and related bone diseases.
"World Healing" is our vision statement and we aim to lead the Compact Revolution in the healthcare scenario, developing non-invasive technologies for widespread clinical use.

Q.
How did you get in touch with the Mind the Bridge project?

A.
It's pretty funny. Several months ago I was on my way to the office and i heard Fabrizio Capobianco talking on the radio.
At the end he left his personal e-mail (so american!!) ... and... it all started.

Q.
How do you think that the MtB experience can help your company to develop a global presence?



A.
MtB gives you the belief and confidence that you can make it!!
This is the main message along with all the practical and educational activities.

Q.
What about your expectations regarding the time you will eventually spend in Silicon Valley?

A.
If you are a young dreaming-big entrepreneur you must visit Silicon Valley one day.
Hope to have a very practical agenda with investor's and entrepreneur's meetings in order to get connections and feedback.

Q.
What are your personal views of the Italian startup scene?

A.
Something is changing and there are more and more opportunities and inititatives to support young entrepreneurs... so keep looking and don't settle !!!


Best of luck for the competition, then, see you soon!



Friday, October 9, 2009

How to present your idea to a venture capitalist. The seminar in Milano, Italy, Oct. 20-21.

It's your chance to learn all techniques, tips and tricks. Don't miss it, apply now!
video


See you in Milano!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Startup in the spotlight: Prossima Isola


Today we start a round of interviews with this year's semi-finalists.

The first entrepreneur we've spoken to, through Facebook first and then in person in our Milan office, is Daniele Idini, co-founder of Prossima Isola.

Their "Whereisnow" project is one of the Mtb 2009 semi-finalists.

Q.
Daniele, can you tell us briefly what is your company about?

A.
WhereIsNow is an innovative Internet service which allows every kind of information to become"self-updatable": it applies to documents, addressbook or web links.
WhereIsNow allows any user, in a quick and easy way, to have the
contacts (email phone number, fax, etc. ..) of friends or colleagues
always updated, to check for the latest version of a price list or a
technical document and to be sure that an article on the web is always
reachable even if the address has been changed.

Q.
How did you get in touch with the Mind the Bridge project?

A.
Thanks to my associate Marcello Orizi, he is much closer than me
finding these opportunities (ah ah ah!)
In fact the first time we heard from "Sardegna Ricerche" during the
entrepreneurial training course shortly before the final of MtB 2008.
Then we had the opportunity to learn more about this project through
the community startupbusiness.it, through BAIA (Business Association
Italy America) and some other channel on the Internet as Twitter.

Q.
How do you think that the MtB experience can help your company to
develop a global presence?

A.
We believe that MtB can give greater emphasis in our project
against a Venture capital and that a Venture Capital can bring his
experience in our company so as to take off our ambitious project in
the global market

Q.
What are your expectations regarding the time you could eventually
spend in Silicon Valley?

A.
First we are ambitious to know and compare with the world elite in
our sector. This will let us know if we are going in the right
direction and will allow us to expand our knowledge and thus to grow
professionally. Then if we could also find an investment from a
venture capital of the Silicon Valley...it would be the top :-)

Q.
What are your personal view of the Italian startup scene?

A.
I think that in Italy there are many good ideas but many of these
remain in drawers for various reasons. First of all, many young people lack the culture
of risk. For example, my associate and I have
given up a safe and a well-paid job to pursue our vision and our
dream. It is true that developing new ideas and create a startup
requires also, in addition to a great business capacity, the help of
someone who has had similar experiences, a good amount of money and a
bit of luck. In Italy is not always easy to find these ingredients

Q.
Best of luck, Daniele, and thank you for your time!

A.
Thank you for your interest in our company and... see you in Milan in November!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reserve your seat for Venture Camp, Milano nov. 6th - 7th

November 6th - 7th are Venture Camp days.
In the beautiful premises of our host and partner Corriere della Sera, we will listen to an amazing line of speakers, and will be able to hear from the 14 semi-finalists of the competition their elevator pitches to the members of the international venture capital community who will attend.

We have limited capacity, so, reservations are mandatory.
Please do reserve your seat in advance here, and...


...don't forget the Gala Reception on Friday night!
This is your opportunity to get to know all the speakers, investors and to get the best out of your networking skills... while becoming a donor of the Mind the Bridge foundation.
The best part?
We have rented the entire Pinacoteca Brera for this special occasion.
We'll have a truly memorable, intimate guided tour of one of the best museums in the world...while networking!
A pretty good deal.