Thursday, December 29, 2011

The best of 2011

Stating that it's been a busy year is just an understatement.

We started the year incubating 12 startups, in addition to our long term guests at the gym.
The Italian Innovation day at Stanford and then in New York were stunning successes, where our startups showed to the world to be ready for the premier league.

At least, that's what the world top VCs who judged our finalists told us (and that was pre-drinks, so we can assume they really think so).

We had a busy spring in Italy, with multiple events around the country as part of our usual MTB Italy Tour. 500+ people attended those events, dozen of startups had the opportunity to present and build their muscles.

In the meantime, the activities at the Gym got more and more dense. We hosted countless open-houses and demo days, often matched with large groups visiting from Italy (plenty!).
Among the several interesting friends we hosted Le Iene, RAI TV, Helmut Esslinger (Frog Design), Pierluigi Zappacosta (Logitech), Nerio Alessandri (Technogym) and many more.

Moreover, we launched our first Startup School: with the support of Wired, we run four 3-week sessions which got fully booked with 30+ participants.
In the midst of all this activity, we also moved our HQ from Pier 38 to the One Market landmark in San Francisco.

To top all off, November was Venture Camp month, with hundreds of participants, a memorable night with Le Iene and thousands of followers (we crossed the 3000 on FB).

What a year folks! The video says it all. As Simona, who made the video on Xmas eve, while cooking, puts it: "while putting together all those memorable moments, I re-lived the emotions and the fun while working with such a unique bunch. It's heaven."

That's exactly how I feel.

Have a memorable 2012.
Personally, I can't wait.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stereomood wins Premio RCS 2011

Stereomood is the winner of the RCS Prize for 2011 as the most innovative startup in Digital Publishing.

As the name implies, Stereomood thrives to re-organize the way we approach, listen and discover music based not on a singer or playlist (still an extension of singers) but rather on your mood.
Feeling Christmas-y these days? Here's the right music for you!
Do you want to transmit a good karma? Here's the music that will fit you like a glove!
I personally tried the "making love" list. It didn't quite got me what I was hoping for. However it did get me pretty relaxed (and with a good karma too).

How do they do that? Their juice is their proprietary algorithm for music taxonomy: stereorank (kind of resembles the famous "pagerank" algorithm, that made Google Google - good karma?) collects tags from music blogs, crowdsource and music habits of listeners.
They are breaking the usual paradigm of listening to music (I listen what I like), and rather create an interesting alternative to discover new music, not the big hits, based on the atmosphere I'm trying to generate.
Something that theme parks or shopping malls have known for quite some time.

Love or not love, I can see why they have over 1M visitors/month with an amazing 75% of returning users. It's fun!
Monetizing their traffic won't be a walk in the park, but they are not alone in that struggle (ask Pandora, LastFM, Spotify and the likes).

And that's what they'll be working on in their 3 months incubation at the MTB GYM.
We'd better start working on the "traveling to San Francisco" music tagging...