Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Italian Parliament member visiting the GYM

August 26th has been a crowded day here at Pier 38. We had numerous guests intrigued to visit our new location in San Francisco. At 3.00 pm we received a special visit from honorable Alessia Mosca, member of the Italian Parliament along with the Italian Consul in San Francisco, Fabrizio Marcelli.
Alessia Mosca (www.alessiamosca.it), is the current secretary at the Labor commission of the Italian Parliament. She has been the protagonist of numerous petitions for women’ equal opportunities and has a special interest for the dynamics that affect the Italian entrepreneurial ecosystem. Alessia was supposed to be in San Francisco on vacation but she carved some time to meet the MtB factory.

“This place is marvelous”, she said once entered our old-navy-style open space, perfectly fitting the in her jeans and T-shirt. After a short tour of the premises, meeting the start ups and incubators that are based in the Pier, we moved to our favorite meeting room (also used for after-hour video games competitions).
Here we met Marco Campanari, CEO and founder of Hyperfair, and Andrea Ballarini, (COO) responsible for leading the strategies and setting up the company operations in the U.S. Hyperfair is the typical example of an Italian Company managed by talented professionals that intend to take all the chances offered by the market at a global level. Marco gave us a brief introduction about the story of the company and the plans for the future, while Andrea showed us a demo on how they organizes and manages virtual trade fairs on the web. “HyperFair reproduces the trade fair environment just as we all know it: pavilions, booths, workshops and conferences. Inside the virtual fair people are moving around and interact through their avatar (virtual alter-ego), communicating in real time via chat and videocall”.
Coming back to reality we discussed about the major drivers of the innovation process and the problems that a young Company have to face in the actual Italian contest. Alessia was particularly interested in the subject as she is working on future reforms that the Italian Parliament should introduce in Italy to promote the Venture Capital industry. It was 5.30 when Alessia left us to spend the rest of the day in a sunny San Francisco.
We thank our guests for the visit and we hope that our experience in Silicon Valley will contribute to produce significant changes in the Italian entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Silicon Valley Study Tour visits Mind the Bridge at Pier 38.

Yesterday a group of about 20 leading students from Italy visited Mind the Bridge office at Pier 38, San Francisco. They are participating to the 6th edition of the Silicon Valley Study Tour, one of the first initiatives aimed at introducing young graduates from Italy to the Silicon Valley, creating useful links with Italian "insiders" working here and giving awareness of the opportunities in the Bay Area.

After meeting Elance and the theme-park-looking headquarters of Yahoo and Facebook, it's time for them to enter Pier 38, the funky place in which more and more fledgling Web 2.0 startups are renting desks to stay plugged into the ecosystem.

It's 6 P.M. and a chaotic and crowded meeting of "Hackers & Founders" has just started in the open space where MtB works. The first impact of the group is a bit unexpected:
"How can people work here with this noise?" asks Roberta Martelli, studying business at the University of Piemonte Orientale and one of the few girls in the group. A hundred geeks and want-to-be entrepreneurs are in fact having a beer and some pretzels and talking about shiny technologies, new projects, sharing ideas and looking for co-founders. Even if during the day people work hard and are mainly silent, it's routine to have some social events in the evening. Everyone enjoys the atmosphere and starts to meet other interesting people, so that it becomes nearly difficult to start presenting our activity.

"Environment and people are so smart here that you immediately would like to join them and create a startup!" says Enrico Cinquini, a student of the University of Genova interested in criptography.
Nonetheless, the visit goes on and sitting on couches we listen to Marco Campanari, CEO and founder of Hyperfair, one of the 2 new startups that will take part in the MtB Gym program. The audience looks very interested: finally an Italian promise in the Silicon Valley!
After that, we invite our Spanish friend Pedro Moneo to present Opinno, an open innovation network of entrepreneurs and investors, working just beside us, in the same "Mediterranean branch" at Pier 38. People continue to interact, exchanging business cards and eating popcorns. We finally ask Roberto Fonti, a smart Italian guy who founded Buzzbox - a web startup developing Android ad iPhone applications to filter news - to tell his experience as Italian in the Silicon Valley.
Even if tired due to the intensity of the day, students are very glad to meet these people really living the American dream.
What if one day they become the next Zuckerberg...?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Introducing Marco & Danilo @ Team MTB

The desks at our new creative space on Pier 38 are getting filled up quickly.
Since the beginning of the summer, the Pier speaks more Italian with the arrival of 2 new MTB members, Danilo and Marco.
Here how they introduce themselves:

Danilo Cardascia is the founder of Human capital (www.hcapital.it), a Company based in Bari with the mission of promoting entrepreneurship and venture investing in the Apulia Region. Human Capital supports talented young entrepreneur by providing them with funds and other consulting services during the start up phase. In July Danilo moved to San Francisco to collaborates with MTB at Pier 38. After a couple of weeks spent dealing with the airline company that lost his bag, he is ready to discover the reasons that have made the Silicon Valley, the home to many of the world's largest technology companies.

Marco Rizzone is a PhD Student in Technology Management at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa, Italy (www.sssup.it). His research is focused on Web X.0 Business Models and startup creation: nothing could be better than getting plugged into the Silicon Valley network! After investing 4 months in a venture capital fund to learn how the world of innovation financing runs, he decided to elaborate a plan to get in touch with a number of web entrepreneurs and collect data for his PhD thesis.
Collaborating with Mind The Bridge, he has the chance to act into the heart of the ecosystem.
At Pier 38 Marco can interact with incredible startups and creative minds: "it's very cool here - he says - I was studing the Hi5 business model and just two desks behind me I meet the founder, a serial entrepreneur who has now started Buzzbox... or you sit on the couch to post something in your Wordpress-made blog and the person in front of you is just writing... Wordpress code!" (Wordpress is also sharing space with us).
Despite his picture here, Marco seems to be enjoying his new life: social networking at day, social dancing at night!

You'll hear more from Marco, Danilo, our startups hosted at the GYM and their (ad)ventures in the next few days...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Business Plan Competition: Selection is ongoing

Deadline for Mind the Bridge Business Plan Competition is over.
This year we received hundreds of Business Plans & Call for Ideas. Really a lot, better than any other previous Mind the Bridge (which is definitively a great sign).
Now it's time for our Selection Committee to start its job (actually they already have). It is quite a challenge given the high number of submissions we received. But we are committed to complete the selection by the end of the first week of September. And we are not going to miss it.
Below you can find the list of the components of 2010 MTB Selection Committee, that is coordinate by our Fabrizio Capobianco, Funambol CEO: they are all top-notch Italian and international venture capitalists, business angels and professionals. Thank you to all them for their continuous help and support!
Their goal is to select the best 30 proposals. The selected top 30 entrepreneurs will be admitted free of charge to our Bootcamp (that will be held in Varese on Sep 23-25) and Coaching (that is scheduled in Pavia on Oct 14-16). During these two events we provide the startups with tailored training and mentoring and select the 15 semi-finalists who will be admitted to present at the Venture Camp in November (on Nov 5-6 @ Corriere della Sera in Milan).
If you are confident that you business plan is good enough, please save all these dates.
Stay tuned to check the list of admitted startups.

MTB Business Plan Competition
2010 Selection Committee

Fabrizio Capobianco, Funambol (coordinator)
Alessio Beverina, Sofinnova Partners
Claudio Giuliano, Innogest
Fausto Boni, 360 Capital Partner
Leonardo Camiciotti, Top-ix
Gianluca Dettori, Dpixel
Pietro Dova, XG Ventures
Lorenzo Franchini, IAG
Ruggero Frezza, M31
Maurizio Liverani, Classfinance
Massimiliano Magrini, Annapurna Ventures
Nicola Nicoletti, Pricewaterhouse Cooper
Stefano Peroncini, Quantica
Maurizio Petitbon, Kreos Capital
Mauro Pretolani, TLCOM
Nicola Redi, Fondamenta
Elisabeth Robinson - NicOx/Fulbright BEST
Carol Sand, The Angels' Forum, The Halo Funds
Giuseppe Serazzi, PNCube
Maria Silva, Genova High Tech
Pietro Strada, Centerboard Partners
Alberto Trombetta, Finlombarda
Davide Turco, Atlante Ventures, Intesa San Paolo
Luca Ungarelli, Golden Mouse
Charles Versaggi, Versaggi Biocommunications

Sunday, August 8, 2010

MTB Summer BBQ 2010 - Pics

It's that time of the year.
San Francisco is getting flooded by ords of turists, in particular Europeans. How can you tell? They are the ones in shorts and flip-flops (Italians have some fancy ones) freezing while walking the San Francisco Fisherman Warf, immersed in the cool thick fog (dudes, ever thought about checking TripAdvisor before leaving??)

And in this time of year around "ferragosto" the MTB BBQ for friends and families has become a tradition.

This year we moved South, to the warm Woodside, where, in fact, there is a summer.
A great gathering for the startups hosted at the MTB Gym, the full MTB team (including the freshly arrived reinforces), mentors, and MTB aficionados that included startups from the 2009 competition (Francesco Inguscio, VRMedia) and even a witness (and finalist) of the 2008 competition (Michele Aiello, Eris 4).
Drinks, burgers and an illegally imported Italian "coppa" made the rest.
From lunch to dinner, it was a real Italian "festa".

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The GYM @ Pier 38

Since the beginning of July, the MTB GYM has a new home: Pier 38, in San Francisco, right at the beginning of the Embarcadero promenade, past the Giant's AT&T Park.

The highly stimulating open space of Pier 38, hosts several incubators (the most famous are The Dogpatch and Opinno) for a total of ~ 60 startups. Among them, some famous success stories such as WordPress and a couple of others recently acquired by Google.

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Or the recently arrived GYM startups that have started populating Pier38.
Starting from Spreaker, Francesco Baschieri's creature, that is quickly gaining popularity in the Bay Area with its web radio broadcasting.
Pier38 is also home of Mashape, the web tool startup founded by Augusto Marietti, Marco Palladino and Michele Zonca and one of the TechCrunch's favorite.
Since the beginning of the month the Gym is also home for Danilo Cardascia and Marco Rizzone, our new entries in the MTB family. You'll hear about them soon...