Thursday, April 14, 2011

MtB Italy Tour 2011: here are the dates

We are going to hit the road again. After the opening on February 11th in Rome, we will be in May in Florence and in June in Pavia and Genova. Do not miss the opportunity to get in contact with our speakers and learn from them the key elements to start a new business.

Here the incoming dates and venues of the Mind the Bridge Italy Tour 2011.
FIRENZE, May 13th
PAVIA, June 17th
GENOVA, June 22nd

Why the MtB Italy Tour?
We receive every day a lot of requests about how to prepare a business plan, how to talk with a venture capital, and so on. Many of you ask feedback about his/her business idea. The MtB Italy Tour is going to provide some concrete answers to these requests. 
The morning session (MtB Start-up School) is aimed at providing education re: entrepreneurship, business planning, venture capital market and Silicon Valley eco-system. Business school style, with a pragmatic approach (we give you the “nuts and bolts”). The modules are provided by Alberto Onetti, Chairman of MtB Foundation, and other top notch experts.
In the afternoon we replicate a session of our MtB Gym, the mentorship program we run every week at Pier 38 in San Francisco with the startups admitted to our incubator. A panel of investors and entrepreneurs provide comments and feedbacks to selected start-ups that present their ideas. If you want to be considered for the MtB Gym sessions, please send your executive summary to the email address indicated at the webpage of each event.

What’s the goal of the MtB Italy Tour?

The key word of the Gym is open discussion comments, honest feedbacks. Ultimate goal is fine tuning the business idea (what and where it works, where and what doesn’t) and improving the presentation. Then participating to the Gym session is a must for all the startups, not only for the ones we selected to present. Everybody can largely benefit from the discussion of all the business ideas as well as the education program in the morning.

Who are the recipients?
If you are a wanna-be-entrepreneur with an innovative business idea, a research or Ph.D. aiming at creating a spin-off or a startup at the early stage, this program is something you can’t miss.

What is required for participating to the Tour events?
Admissions are free, pre-registration is required. You can find details for registration at the webpage of each event.

For further information and updates on the single events please refer to our website

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Virtual IID Fair, today 8AM PST

It wouldn't be a real innovation day if nothing significantly new shows up.
And here you have it!
Today, Thu Apr 7th @ 8AM PST (5PM in Italy) the Virtual Italian Innovation Day fair will officially open.
What does that mean really? It means that:
  1. you'll be able to setup your avatar (not quite Wii style, but you can decide to wear your Arabic look...)
  2. you can visit all the virtual booths of the Startups (room/pavilion B in the virtual world) and SMEs (room A) that participated at the Stanford event.
  3. you can download all the relevant information you expect from a trade show. For every exhibitor that means business cards, marketing material, videos, etc
  4. Watch the videos of the entire conference who took place @ Stanford (hint: do not miss the investor panel)
  5. Only today 8-11AM you'll be able to interact synchronously with the exhibitors. Chat, shaking hands, conduct business, even interview ...kind of like at a real trade show (expect the painful feet part)
It will be a first for me. And I can't wait to try it, eventually.
For the record, the virtual fair is the result of the amazing work done by our friends @ Hyperfair, one of the startups still hosted @ the MTB GYM.

I tried today, here's my personal feeling.
It does take sometime to download the plugin, setup your account, avatar, answer the highly politically incorrect questions, etc...
Also to understand how to move about avoiding to hit the wall at every curve. But once you get the hang of it, it's definitely a new experience.

You'll just need to come prepared with a glass of prosecco. That one has to be real.

See you in the virtual world!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lessons learned at the Gym

People say, time goes by so quickly when you love what you are doing. Well, it seems to be true. A month spent at the Gym? No way, there must be a mistake! But the truth is these days went by really fast and indeed a month has gone.

At the farewell party, while eating the famous focaccia made by Vittorio Viarengo, we asked the startups which are the key lessons they learned during their time spent in Silicon Valley. Here a summary of their thoughts.

1. Timing: In Silicon Valley timing is key. In Italy we are not less smart than people here but we need to learn to keep their pace.

2. No understatement: Too often Italian entrepreneurs underestimate their own qualities and capabilities. In this month here, the startups achieved top posititions at international competitions as at the Plug and Play Internationa Expo. These great results gave them the concrete awareness of their potential in a highly competitive arena as the SV.

3. Networking: The density of people that can give you advices, suggestion, feedbacks and introductions to other people is enourmous in SV. Exploiting this unique SV potential is an essential ingredient for being successful.

4. Packaging: Italian entreprenuers often tend to focus on technical quality, functionalities of the product and competitive price, even too much. But a product need to be appealing for a customer also from an aesthetic standpoint. In SV entrepreneurs have a talent to present products in an appealing way for the customers.

5. Shipping: Feedbacks are very useful and in SV you can find them everywhere. However there's a point when you need to stop collecting feedbacks and start executing. You are the person that cares most about your business, you need to feel you are doing the right choice yourself.

6. Pitching: Pitching is like playing a comedy in a theatre, you need to practise a lot for a good pitch. However you can't be a good actor without the talent for improvisation - in SV there is always an opportunity to pitch and you need to be ready for 30 second pitch, 1 minute pitch, 2, 4, whatever time the other person gives to you.

These were the main lessons we collected but we are sure each startup has a full list of lessons that he/her will remember for a long time.
So, dear startups, wherever you will be in the next future we hope you will share with other aspiring entrepreneurs what you have learned here!

Good luck!