Sunday, January 23, 2011

MtB Italy Tour 2011: we hit the road again

The Mind the Bridge Italy Tour 2011 is about to start.
We have not yet defined all the dates and venues of the tour, but we know where and when we start: Rome, February 11th, at 10am.

During the Social Media Week (SMW)in Rome, Mind the Bridge organizes(in partnership with Augmendy)the Startup Lab, to be hosted in a really special venue: the Ministero della Gioventù (L.go Chigi 19).
An amazing line of speakers (including Alexis Ohanian, Reddit cofounder, Euardo Carlos Espinal, Seedcamp Partner, Alberto Onetti, Mind the Bridge Chairman) will discuss how to create successful web startups and provide hints to launch great companies. Giorgia Meloni, Minister of Youth, will join the discussion moderated by Marco Montemagno.
At the end a Gym sessions, with 5 startups lining up and presenting their business idea and plan.
See you there and stay tuned for more information about the next dates!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Genefinity graduates from the GYM

[written by Stefano Maggiolino]

I am Stefano Maggiolino Managing Director of Genefinity Srl of Trieste, a company that, as we say here in the U.S., is defined as "Applied Research Company".
In other words we develop technologies to prototype, pilot plant and then we analyse if it better to enter in the market directly, sell patent, license the technology or create a spin off to develop the business. These opportunities depend on the technology, the market or the investment needed to start the projects.
We have already created a spin off to developed a new technology for photovoltaic panels and we are in the market directly with a fashion product: 2D jewels.

I arrived in San Francisco with the prestigious victory of "the Start Up of the Year" awarded in May 2010 in Naples.
The prize was a small amount of money and the chance to reach San Francisco and Silicon Valley with the help of the Mind The Bridge foundation. We are a company that operates in thin films with different fields of application as you can see from the first few lines, one in particular is a novel technology to deposit the circuit sensors for glucose analysis, biotech / medical devices field.
My first time here in the U.S., honestly, was kind of hard!
I thought and acted too often with the mentality of doing business with "the Italian style".
Eventually I realized that, if we wanted to "play" here, we have to do it with the rules of the game of the "far west".
So I started to envestigate, analyze and try to understand how the US the business world really works and learn the rules of the game. Here Mind The Bridge help was crucial.

As a first rule that I feel I communicate to others is to "Americanize" the company you want to build here because the different cultures, the way we do business and approaches with other Americans are rather simple and linear between indigenous and between foreign and indigenous.
For this, the the mentor assigned to us by MTB, Charles Versaggi, was crucial. Our mentor is an experienced communications and marketing professional in the biotech sector with decades of experience.
Although he could easily be my father (sorry Charles!) there was a harmony and complicity in a collaboration that would probably be very difficult to obtain in Italy with mentors or other consultants.
The thing that gives us confidence to continue this experience (although now I'm about to leave US), is that Charles himself believes so much in investing in us.
My second humble advice is to analyze well throughout patterns of investors and present the project in a way that is, at the same time, simple but compliant with their schemes.
In our case, we are now looking for seed funding to continue our pilot.
Soon, we'll have to switch to mass production, and there, we'll need to raise real money (a few millions).
In addition to the technology, we have developed strategic plans to approach the market and we have a couple of customers in China and Korea that are at the validation stage of our process for their sensors.
Our vision is more ambitious than ever. But didn't someone said "you have to dream make big dreams"?
That's what we are doing.

Thanks Mind the Bridge!
See you soon guys!

- Stefano