Sunday, May 24, 2009

Attending TechGarage ....

Last Friday I attended the TechGarage event in Rome.
Rome was unusually hot outside (I mean, 30+ degrees) as it was the atmosphere inside the impressive Luiss' event room.

I had been invited to participate as part of the jury for the selection of the best project. I was positively impressed to see around me all the usual suspects of the Italian startup world.
That also included the mythical Elseverino Piol (arguably the first Italian VC) and Franco Bernabe', Telecom Italia CEO, presenting his Working Capital project.

Even our friend Saeed Amidi, Plug&Play CEO (where our GYM is located) was there, admiring the surrounding fresco.
Great attendance, I thought.
The startup pitches went on smoothly, although, in general, with the usual debatable presentation skills (no surprises there). That, together with the lack of previous information (how about a copy of the business plan?), made the judging process pretty challenging.
At the end, the winner of all prizes, was Criticalcity, a no-profit project aimed at urban collaborative gaming.
Although the no-profit positioning of the project seemed more of a principle of the founders rather than a lack of monetization options, apparently they were able to raise there, right on the spot on the winner stage, the 100K EU they were looking for, finding 10 donors among the audience.
Here is their pitch.

To me, that was a further prove that:
1. tangible passion, is what really makes the difference, and they show lot of it
2. there's a particular attention for projects marketed for the good of the community rather than an improbable money machine.

Further validation that the Mind the Bridge project should blossom!

Last but not least, the MtB-ed Eris4 got the second position, in practice the real startup business winner.
Augusto did a great job in presenting, showing that our efforts during his 2 months in Silicon Valley really paid off! The judges that were sitting close to me had an hard time believing that was the same project that presented in Venice 9 months before.
Well done Eris4, we now expect more successes from you.