For all the news that Tech.eu brings you, a shockingly small percentage (1.25 percent) of it pays mention to startups and/or tech news originating from Italy.
As noted by our semi-regular contributor Julia Gifford in her “What 21 investors have to say about investing in Italian startups” report: The Italian startup scene is a conundrum. An abundance of innovation and accessible, highly-educated talent in Europe's 4th – and the world's 8th – largest economy should have sufficed to nurture a blossoming startup ecosystem.
With that said, Italy isn’t devoid of activity, by far in fact, with names like Scalapay (Italy’s very first unicorn - as of February 2022), Casavo, and Bending Spoons coming immediately to mind, and likewise, the country isn’t without its own homegrown accelerators and propellants.
However, there’s consistently something missing. Something non lo so. Maybe, and this is just a maybe, Italy’s startup scene could use a bit of an external push? Or perhaps northern European VCs have been hunting for a nascent garden to foster? But why either, or? Why not both?
“2022 was the year that Italy amped up its challenge to take the European startup crown. Further investment into the region and easier access to infrastructure is needed to help a new generation of entrepreneurial talent to succeed.” - Henry Lane Fox, CEO, Founders Factory
Perhaps herein lies the thinking behind London-based Founders Factory and Swisscom-owned Milan-based Fastweb joining forces to build, fund, launch and scale more than 30 Italian and international innovative digital businesses over the next five years.
With a history stemming back 8 years (on paper at least, much, much longer in practical experience) Founders Factory is set to provide access to capital, a global network, and proven operational support. On Fastweb’s side of the table, entrepreneurs will open the doors to technological and commercial scaling potential and facilitate entrepreneurs’ connections to both local and international markets.
The joint venture is slated to focus on startups operating in the fields of smart home, cybersecurity, healthcare, edutech, and industry 4.0. The accelerator will focus on assisting pre-seed and seed-stage startups to scale and expand, while the venture studio will design and launch new startups.
Fabio Troiani, the former co-founder and CEO at consultancy group BIP, will lead the Founders Factory Italy initiative, and concludes with, “Throughout my 30 years of consulting I have often dealt with the issue of how big corporates can learn to innovate from small, agile innovative startups. Up to now, I have witnessed more failures than successes.
Founders Factory’s unique formula conjugates the speed and creativity of the startup movement with the solidity of big corporate management and business cases. For those built and launched by Founders Factory Italy, it gives innovation and credibility while corporates benefit from innovation and capital returns. A unique blend to guarantee success in innovation.”
Lead image: Andreeew Hoang