Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where you can meet MtB this week

MtB Italy Tour is on the road also this week. 3 presentations are scheduled in Milan. See below for the details

Tuesday, March 30th, 10am
Politecnico di Milano
Ingegneria Energetica
Corso di Impianti industriali (Prof. Chiaroni)

Tuesday, March 30th, 2:30pm
Politecnico di Milano
Ingegneria Gestionale - Corso di Finanza immobiliare (Prof. Colarossi)

Wedesday, March 31st, 4:30pm
Università degli Studi di Milano
Corso di Economia e gestione dell'innovazione (Prof. Ganzaroli)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gran Finale Stanford: videos available

You can find the full event here:

Special thanks to Gabriele, for another sleepless night.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mtb moves to the East Cost: on Thursday we are in NY

After the Gran Finale at Stanford, we replicate on the East Cost.
On Thursday (Mar 25th) we are in New York, hosted by Consulate General of Italy (690 Park Avenue @69th Street) and in collaboration with ICE (Istituto Commercio Estero).
Join us and meet the selected finalists from the Mind the Bridge business plan competition. Click here for the full program.
The event is close to be sold out. Registration is required. Click here for reserving your free ticket.

This week the Mtb Italy Tour is again on the road. On Thursady we are in Milan, at Politecnico (Campus Bovisa). We present at the Corso di Sistemi per l’energia e l’ambiente (starting at 2.15pm). Thank you to Prof. Manzolini for the accepting to host our tour
On March 26, we are at Corso di Sistemi per l’energia e l’ambiente held by Prof. Silva, again at Politecnico in Milan.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

VRMedia is the 2009-10 winner!

Yes, you must have heard it already... VRMedia (augmented reality for industrial maintenance) is officially the winner of the 2009-10 MTB Business Plan competition.
But I'll take you there step by step.

It's been an intense week of meetings, presentations and set up with one main objective in mind: the Gran Finale event!
As the name suggests, this is virtually the equivalent of the worldcup final for our participating startups. Almost one year of building the right strategy, plans, presentation gymnics and much more, go into a mere 7 minutes of passion in front of 5 members of the selection committee (the best of class of investors), 150+ people watching you live in the room, but many, many more watching online.

We've been raising the bar constantly for our startups. The first edition of the Gran Finale 2008 took place in a San Franciscan art gallery, followed in 2009 by a presentation in the renowned Plug and Play center, where our startups spend a few weeks, from time to time.
This year, following the already memorable Venture Camp event @ Il Corriere della Sera, we decided to include Stanford University in our plans.

In addition, we added a keynote focused on the Israel case study, the keys to replicate a successful model of bridges between the country of origin and the Silicon Valley.

So we started, putting up a very full program, mixed with some good Italian food & wine, with very high expectations on the results.
And, in fact, the event, didn't disappoint anyone (nor did the food&wine).

We'll add a few videos shortly (once we recover), but let me summarize my personal highlights before my memories begin to blur:
  • the work done by a passionate community, that strongly believes in good faith in a project, can make wonders
  • Italians are generally unreliable, mostly unprofessional, unequivocally whiners ... but most of all, Italians are good people. When you put them together, their ability of mixing and matching, of being affable and deeply warm goes unsurpassed
  • a country can change its corse of history in a very short time for the better if (that's a capital IF) it's able to produce, retain and nurture its best talents. Exactly as a company.
But this will be the topic of future posts.
For now, let's raise our glass of prosecco to the winners.
Chapeau to them, and chapeau to all the other talents. Go back and show what you have!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Selection Committee for Gran Finale

We are very pleased to announce our Selection Committee for the upcoming MTB Gran Finale 2010 event @ Stanford:

Fabrizio Capobianco - Funambol (Coordinator)
Alessandro Biral - KeyNote Ventures
Dino Vendetti - Formative Ventures
Michel Wendell - Nexit Ventures
Hashul Sanghi - Motorola Ventures
Yoav Andrew Leitersdorf - YL Ventures

This group of top notch Silicon Valley investors will have the hard task of selecting the "best business idea" among the 5 participating startups.
The startups have been mentored in the last few weeks by: Alessandro Zago, Matteo Fabiano, Maurizio Liverani and Elisabetta Ghisini.

Now, we really look forward to hearing their pitch!

Mtb Italy Tour: this week program

Also for this week the program of our Tour is quite intense.
Today we presented at Politecnico of Milano (Aula D2.2, Via Golgi 40) hosted by Prof. Baresi (Corso di Tecnologie dei Servizi).
On Thursday (March 18th)two presentations are scheduled: in the morning (starting at 9.30am)in Milan, again at Politecnico of Milan (this time we present at the Course of Corporate & Investment banking held by Prof. Giorgino), and in the afternoon (at 4pm)in Pavia (at the Facoltà di Economia, via San Felice 5), where Prof. Stefano Denicolai hosts our Tour within his course of Innovation Management.
On Friday (March 19th, starting at 930am) we are back to Milan, this time at Università degli Studi di Milano (Aula 13, via Conservatorio 7): we will be hosted by the Course of Comunicazione d’impresa held by Prof. Guzzi.

We are still waiting for confirmation of a presentation in Como at the Design School. Stay tuned for further details.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Good feedback from Milano Bicocca

We were today in Milan, at University of Milano Bicocca.
We had the chance to present the 2010 MtB Business Plan Competition to the next generation of software developers.
The feedback we got is really exciting: 2 and half hours of discussion, with a lot of practical questions asked.
A special thank you to Prof. de Michelis who hosted the presentation and animated the debate. Stay tuned for being informed about the upcoming dates.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

50 ph.ds and lecturers attended the Pavia date

Today MtB Italy Tour stopped today in Pavia, at the Engineering School.
Alberto Onetti introduced the attendants to the challenges of starting-up a new business idea and the issues in spin-offing research.
Over 50 ph.ds and lecturers attended the presentation. It looks really promising: the innovation potential in Italy comes from the university labs. Hope to receive some good proposals from some of them!

Thank you again to University of Pavia (and particularly to Prof. Gianni Danese) for supporting us in organizing this event.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Launching Mind The Bridge Mentor Program

A key element of an entrepreneurial ecosystem is a strong network of entrepreneurs, professionals, university professors, industry experts and managers to tap into when you need advice, introductions or just a sounding board for new ideas.

Mind The Bridge is now launching a Mentor Program to help startups connect with experienced people in a wide variety of industry sectors.

For startups: please signup here if you would like to get in touch with one of our accredited mentors.

For mentors: if you are interested in helping out early-stage startups and you think that you have what it takes to be a mentor, please click here to get involved.

Monday, March 8, 2010

MtB Tour: 6 presentations this week

Week full of events for MtB Italy Tour: we have 6 presentations scheduled in different universities (Milan, Brescia, Bergamo, Pavia and Trento).

On Tuesday, the March 9th (starting at 9.30am), we are at University of Milan (Corso di Economia e gestione dell’Innovazione), hosted by our friend Mario Benassi.
On Thursday, the March 11th, 4 presentations in 4 different locations.
In Brescia(starting at 3.45pm, Corso di Gestione aziendale e marketing, held by Professor Motinelli), in Bergamo (at 4pm, Corso di Management delle imprese multinazionali, chaired by Professor De Massis), in Trento at ICT Days of Trento University (we have a booth for the full day), and in Pavia, at the School of Enginnering (at 4pm, Facoltà di Ingegneria).
On Friday, the March 12th, we are back to Milan, at Università Bicocca: we are hosted by Prof. De Michelis (Corso di Informatica per l’organizzazione). The presentation starts at 1.30pm.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mind the Bridge Tour is going to the Alps

This week Mind the Bridge is going to the Alps. We attend to the ICT Days of Trento University that takes place on March 11th and 12th (from 10AM to 6PM) at Computer Science building, via Sommarive 18 – 38123 Povo, Trento.
The event is hosted by the Computer Science Department of Trento University and focused on Information and Communication Technologies. This event aims at gathering students, graduates and Ph.ds from the ICT fields. The goal is sharing experience and opportunities with companies and partners.

On March 11th, Jari Ognibeni, our local area manager, will introduce the start-up world of the Silicon Valley and its entrepreneurial eco-system. He will also present Mind the Bridge foundation activities for 2010 (Business Plaan Competition, Call for Ideas and Venture Camp).
For more information:
The partecipation to the event is free of charge.
See you in Trento!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mtb Italy Tour: feedbacks from the yesterday date in Pavia

Yesterday, Mind The Bridge Italy Tour 2010 stopped in Pavia, hosted at the School of Economics. We presented at the Course of International Business, held by Prof. Antonella Zucchella. 80 post- graduate students attended to the presentation.

We drove them into the start-up world, talking about business plans, business angels and venture capital. A lot of students were excited about the opportunities provided by the 2010 MtB Business Plan Competition and the MtB Call for Ideas we started this year thanks to Cariplo Foundation.
Hope to get some innovative proposals from these guys!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New York, New York, March 25

The reach of the foundation is getting wider and wider.
While in Italy we are in the midst of our Italy-tour-2010, here in the land of the stars and stripes we are adding a new destination to our Silicon Valley tour.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you guessed it: our startups are heading to Nuova York.

Thanks to the fundamental support of ICE New York and the Italian Consulate, our 2009/10 finalists will have the opportunity to explore further opportunities during their Silicon Valley (now, US...) tour.
A day of meetings will culminate with ... yet another elevator pitch session for our champions.
The event is also supported by the incredibly active New York Tech Meetup.

You can register here. Limited availability...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gran Finale, Stanford University, March 18th

We are approaching the final countdown for the MTB Gran Finale event, to be held on March 18th, 5PM.
This year we are joining forces with an exceptional partner: Stanford University, in particular with the Stanford Center for Professional Development.
SCPD is home of the prestigious university's lifelong learning classes for managers and entrepreneurs.
We foresee great potential in our partnership with SCPD, in particular providing joint courses on entrepreneurship
in the future.
In an effort to learn from other country's successful bridges to Silicon Valley, we'll open the Gran Finale with a keynote entitled:

"Israel: how to replicate a successful model"
The panel will be moderated by Shuly Galili (Executive Director of The California Israel Chamber of Commerce) with some surprise guests.

The Consulate General of Italy will offer its precious support and endorsement.
The whole mix will be topped off by delicious Italian food and wine.

Overall, an event not to be missed!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The GYM is open!

The Mind the Bridge Gymnasium is already at work. A few days ago we welcomed the first finalist startup of the 2010 edition, Prossima Isola. The two-year old IT company is run by the two founders Marcello Orizi and Daniele Idini. These two creative and talented Sardinian guys are supported by young and energetic people, most of which are still students.

Despite an almost epic travel, due to snowstorms all over Europe and flight delays everywhere, our two friends brought an unbelievable level of enthusiasm and positive energy. No doubts, this is the right approach guys! From Italy to California, from Sardinia to the Silicon Valley...Although it's too early to have a clear view of this new reality, we'd like to know what are your impressions so far?

Since the first moment in the USA we perceived a strong focus on customers.
We have had the opportunity to visit companies like Google, Facebook, VmWare, LinkedIN and this strong attention to customers is even more evident. We perceived the same attention by entering in shops like Starbucks, Trader's Joe, ect… The shop assistants use to welcome you so kindly, they call you by name and give you their business cards.

What struck you the most, both from a professional and a personal point of views?

Last week we went to the Android Developers Meetup and we were impressed by the incredible number of questions asked to the speaker after the short presentation. It was amazing!
We also realized the importance of networking in Silicon Valley; we already heard something about this and now we are experiencing it personally. It is extremely useful and interesting.
From a personal point view, we have to say that we are meeting a lot of kind people, always available to share their knowledge with us and to help us when we need some information. It seems to be a safe place to live too.

You are incubated at the Plug&PlayTechCenter, one of the most important startup incubator of the Silicon Valley. Plug&Play gathers hundreds of international entrepreneurs from all over the world and hundreds of investors and business professionals. What's the atmosphere like? What does being incubated in Silicon Valley mean for you? How would you like to exploit this opportunity?

Yes, here at PnP there are a lot of cubicles, almost like a labyrinth, and if you lose your way, you may enter the next Google startUp's office. By the way, the atmosphere is great, the competition is really high and we are meeting a lot of interesting people. It’s not difficult to meet new people during lunch-time or during some events organized here, even if we thought it was even more frequent along the working day. We made a presentation to the EiR event too. It was a short and informal presentation to the executives hosted in the PnP. Among attendances there were many people with great professional experiences and they can help you to take some strategic decision. We hope to meet a lot of interesting people, and receive their important feedbacks. Hopefully we’d like to find advisors for our company and, why not, an investor.

Can you give us a brief description of a typical day at the P&P? Did you already get in touch with other international entrepreneurs? Have you met any investor yet?

We usually start the day with many activities related to the Italian day by day operations, that means both conference calls and a bunch of emails. We spend the rest of the day working on the business plan and on other open issues. We didn’t meet any investor yet, because we are working on the Business Plan and on the presentation, in order to be ready to meet an American investor.

How useful do you think it will be, during this experience, to be supported by the mtb team and the personal mentor that mtb found for you? Why?

Our aim is to come back to Italy with many feedbacks about what Prossima Isola is doing. According to this, the MtB help is extremely useful, because they provide us a lot of strategic ideas, suggestion and interesting contacts. Supported by our mentor Matteo Fabiano, we are working hard to transform our technology into a successful service. We want to become the "de facto" standard for updating any kind of digital data. It’s a big challenge.

Once again, Marcello and Daniele welcome to the Silicon Valley! The MTB foundation and its friends wish you good luck and all the best in this new endeavor!
By the way, if you'd like to know more about Marcello and Daniele's adventure in California, please visit and enjoy their blog: !