Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Preparing the Venture Camp - Go early birds!

-16 days to the opening of the MTB Venture Camp 2010. The heat is on!
The agenda is almost final, and it includes an amazing line up of speakers.
The event will unfold around three axis:
  • Policy: removing the roadblocks that are in the way to develop more innovation in Italy
  • Role models: learn from the success stories
  • The new talents: our semifinalist startups
From US we'll have several personalities, starting with Steven Koltai and Richard Boly, both representatives from the Obama administration. Together with Shuly Galili (executive director of the California Israel Chamber of commerce) they will participate to the panel focused on how to learn from other countries that developed successful innovation policies over the last decades.
From the industry, we'll have Vittorio Viarengo, Giacomo Marini as representatives of the Italian Gold in Silicon Valley, Bernardo Hernandez, Head of Consumer Marketing at Google and angel investor, Javier Olivan, head of Facebook international development, Tony Espinoza, serial entrepreneur, super-angel and now head of MTV social gaming.
On the Italian policy front we expect the On. Alessia Mosca (parliament member) and, likely, On. Brunetta, our Minister of Innovation.
And many, many more...
During the evening, we'll have the pleasure to mingle and meet all these amazing guests.

So, you'd better hurry up and get your seat!
Today is THE LAST DAY to enjoy a substantial "early bird" discount.
We also offer a 40% discount per people under 30 (ID required). The discount code to use for this week is: 30less
Last year we got fully booked several days before the event (we have just 250 seats available), so you'd better hurry up if you are serious about getting inspired!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The other Italy

I just received this message from our friend Charles Versaggi that I thought would be interesting to share. It gives a good prospective on how second/third generation Italian-Americans are perceiving what's happening in Italy. It follows a pretty interesting debate raised a few days ago during the BAIA event "Transplanting start-ups in Silicon Valley: does it work?"

Buongiorno Marco,

As I work more closely with the Mind the Bridge Foundation and the Italian business sector, I'm learning more and more about the "other Italy."Underneath the romanticism of Tuscan villas and La Dolce Vita, lies another Italy I'm only now beginning to comprehend and understand. Starting with the enigma of Berlusconi and the 'sclerotic gerontocracy' he oversees, to the mass exodus of its educated youth, I can't help but conclude Italy is undergoing a socio-economic crisis that threatens its future stature as a 21st Century world player — and I'm not talking about the World Cup.

I appreciated the thoughtful comments you and the other panelists provided at last Thursday's BAIA event. Sensing you and others were only scratching the surface of an ongoing dilemma, I dug deeper and read your recent blog http://siliconvalley.corriere.it/2010/10/italia_si_italia_no.html and the string of TIME links that gave me an eyeopening overview of Italy's growing dilemma.

I agree with your three points recommending a global view. Indeed, we are all citizens of the world and participants in a global economy. But as an Italian-American who was conceived in Italy and born in the U.S., like a salmon that moves relentlessly upstream to its spawning grounds, I still have an instinctive yearning for my homeland. The dilemma of this first-generation Italian-American is that sometimes I'm not sure where home is. For today's bright Italian youth attempting to embrace a world view, I suspect the conundrum is all the more frustrating.

All the best,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

IAG invests in Spreaker

It's finally official.
We are really glad to report that IAG (Italian Angels for Growth, the main Italian angel investment group) has agreed in investing in Spreaker.
We are talking about a seed investment (250K Euro), but still, I'm sure that Francesco & Co will go a long way with that.

That's a good testament of the impressive work that Francesco has been able to accomplish when still in bootstrapping. During its 3 months at the GYM, Spreaker built up a pretty solid reputation, coming up as one of the most interesting new kids in town.

Congrats kids, that's another important step forward.
I'm sure, we'll see you soon around here...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Interview to Francesco Baschieri

Today we want to introduce our special friend,Francesco Baschieri. He is the founder of Spreaker, the first start up that has joined the Mind The Bridge GYM this summer in San Francisco.
Francesco is a serial entrepreneur, passionate about new technologies and business models and always interested in the next innovation that will change the world.
Spreaker, his last adventure, is a true Web Radio 2.0 where every show is created by the audience itself. Spreaker has shifted the paradigm from creating a complete radio stream to producing a single show. Radio stations are then created by assembling single pieces (one after another) into a continuous stream of audio.
“Creating a show is easy and does not require any technical expertise: all the necessary tools that users might need are available online at www.spreaker.com. The DeeJay Console TM allows users to mix live audio input from their microphone with music tracks and sound effects which are available online as part of a large user-friendly library.

The entire service is free of charge for the user: it is Spreaker that manages the whole infrastructure and pay for music royalties.”

At the well-known Pier 38 Francesco has spent 3 months trying to bring his start up to an international dimension: he has participated to numerous events, business meetings and social happenings and was actively participating to the entrepreneurial life of the city. For this reason we thought to realize the following interview in which he presents his company and tell us his experience in the Silicon Valley.

For those that might join our crew in the future, take into consideration all his suggestions.
Ciao Francesco, It was a pleasure to work with you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

It was a great Boot Camp!

In Varese we welcomed the 32 startups selected from our 2010 MTB Business Plan Competition. We opened them the doors to our Boot Camp, a 3-day training and coaching program, aimed at helping startups to clarify, create, and communicate their entrepreneurial vision into a viable business plan worthy of financial support. During the workshop, we continued our selection process, extracting the short list of 15 semi-finalists that will present @ Corriere della Sera in Milan on November 5th-6th.

The Boot Camp kicked off with a workshop and public forum designed to address the challenges and opportunities of Italian entrepreneurship. It was hosted at the Faculty of Science. During the Open Workshop Alberto Onetti presented some data about Italian startups and highlighted the main issues entrepreneurs face in Italy while starting up a company (here is the link for the slides). Charles Versaggi, the Boot Camp Program Director, explained how to tell your business story. At the end of the workshop Elizabeth Robinson (Co-founder, NicOX), Marco Asquini (Co-owner, General Manager, SUPER/FLUO) and Maurizio Liverani (Baryon Capital) told their own entrepreneurial story. Francesco Baschieri provided some feedbacks from his recent stay at the MtB Gym in San Francisco. You can access the videos from our MindtheBridgeTv channel on You Tube.

The remaining part of theBoot Camp was held in the gorgeous venue of Villa ToepliTz. The Program was run by top notch instructors and included the following topics:

- The Story: Articulating the Value Proposition (by C. Versaggi)
- Business models and strategy — understanding the value chain (by A. Onetti)
- Project, product or company? How to assess and qualify technologies as a basis for starting a company (by A. Onetti)
- Legal considerations in forming a company (by T. Cherubino)
- Financing: the capitalization process and financing strategies (by C. Maifredi)
- The capital raising process - Pre-money/post-money valuation, the term sheet (by M. Liveerani and A. Onetti)
- Anatomy of a Business Plan (by C. Versaggi and A. Onetti)

It was a great Boot Camp as you can perceive from the comments some participants posted on our Facebook Wall. You can feel the energy and passion we experienced during the 3 days we spent with the startups in Varese.

"Hello guys, I'm really happy to attended the Bootcamp, one of my best experiences. I met very smart people, from whom I learned a lot"
"Great BootCamp! All tutors where really top level. Charles was en-lighting. MtB organizers and Onetti have done a terrific job! Thanks all for the great experience and good luck to all partecipants"
"Thanks all for amazing experience. Thanks to MTB team and to Charles, that he sent us the right enthusiasm to take forward our plans well...See you all in Pavia soon"
"Thanks to all of you Folks! Continue in this direction with enthusiasm, passion and a vision to realize your business dreams!"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Introducing the Italian MtB Team

Together with our activities, the MtB Italian team is growing quickly, with the arrival of 2 new MTB members, Federica and Simona, and the external support of 3 members from the CrESIT reseach centre (Alessia, Marco and Manuela).
Some of you met them in Varese @ the MtB Boot Camp (the pic on the left was taken right there, at Villa ToepliTz). It is now time to introduce them, one by one.

Federica Pepponi has a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance from Bocconi University. During this summer, Federica was able to manage the hundreds of business plans and ideas we received and coordinated with the Selection Committee members. "Most of the startups submitted the very last day ... July 31st was quite a day (and night), I needed 3 days to recover".

Simona Bielli graduated in Economic and Management from Insubria University. She spent the summer (without enjoing a single day of sun, but meeting "genial minds and delicious people") in San Francisco and now she's back in Italy as part of our team. She coordinated all the logistics of the Boot Camp, chasing the partecipants one-by-one.

For the main events the MtB team is supported and integrated by 3 members of the CrESIT Research Centre (University of Insubria).

Alessia Pisoni holds a Ph.D. from the University of Insubria in Economics of Production and Developmenic and coordinates the CrESIT Research Unit.

Marco Talaia is member of the CrESIT Research Centre and Ph.D. candidate at University of Pavia. He has been Visitin Scholar at San Francisco State University in 2007.

Manuela Menegotto is member of CrESIT Research Group, where she manages activities in the areas of innovation and international business.

All of them are young people. They bring a fresh breath of enthusiasm and passion, and, most importantly, they share our vision: to promote a new Italian entrepreneurial ecosystem that is ethical, highly professional, internationally focused and excellence driven
Thank you guys for the good work you did and will do!

Living the MtB Social Community

[Published by Leonardo Ratti, MTB Community Manager]

There is something new going on in these last few months within the Mind The Bridge world, beside the terrific success of our summer special events in Torino and Cagliari and the MtB Boot Camp just terminated in Varese.
An entire new wave of friends, fans, followers or people simply interested in the subject are joining our online community bringing enthusiasm and passion but also precious comments and feedback on our activities and future events.

Born with the MtB blog on our website and the Silicon Valley blog @Corriere.it , the MtB Social Community has been experiencing in the last two years a tremendous increase in terms of followers and tools used with the introduction of the MtB Facebook page, the MtB LinkedIn group, the Mind The Bridge Tv Channel on Youtube and the Twitter profile.
But there's something more than a simple increase of attention on our social media profiles.
The Foundation has a strong awareness that building a social community is crucial from different perspectives.
On the one hand, being involved in these channels means being part of the social network, the space where, for the most part, our start-ups are promoting their projects.
On the other hand, this allows us to collect "the buzz" on entrepreneurship, new ventures and innovation in Italy and to take advantage of these inputs to leverage our strategy and better help all the stakeholders involved in the process of innovate the Italian eco-system.

We have a dedicated team within the Foundation that will be in charge of exploiting each communication channel in the most effective way. Obviously the most important resource to reach this goal is the contribution from our start-ups, Alumni, followers and friends. In one word YOU!
This movement will really spearhead the backbone of the MtB community. Let's get started! Take a look at the videos just uploaded on our MindTheBridge TV on the latest BootCamp and start posting your comments and feedback.
We expect to have special promotions, prices, etc. for our active online community members.

See you on-line!

Leonardo Ratti, MtB Community Manager.