Sunday, July 29, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
To cut is short, she made it happened, clearly playing the right cards (way better than how we, Italians, would have been able to...).
- send an email to email@example.com with your video pitch, or, rather, if you want to increase your chances and provide us with more relevant data, apply at survey.mindthebridge.org, adding @TechCrunch.Italy to your startup name.
- deadline is Aug 10th
- the invited startups will be communicated on Aug 20th
- within that date, invited startups will have to have filled out the registration form (299 Euros for a bunch of stuff)
Thursday, July 26, 2012
The first 2012 Summer Edition of the MTB Startup School is nearly over!
During the second week we had 10+ super interesting modules held by some of our Mentors, between them The Venture Capital Process by Marco Marinucci, Intellectual Property Rights by Vijay Toke, Drivers of Silicon Valley Success by Gigi Wang and others mostly on legal aspects and marketing strategies. To recover from this challenging week we organised a really relaxing trip to Santa Cruz on Sunday: good food, beach and rollercoaster, such a great day!
If this video made you curious about what’s going on at the MTB Startup School (BTW the Mangatar Team is doing a great job by video-recording their experience here), follow us on our MTB GYM group on Facebook or on Twitter #MTBStartupSchool.
Here you can find more information. If this haven’t convinced you yet, September is supposed to be the warmest month of the year in San Francisco, one more reason to apply!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Thursday, July 5, 2012
We really want to thank all the local actors who actively supported the event: a special mention to our MTB local Alumni, in particular to Giuseppe Suriani from eRalos3, who devoted his time and passion helping and supporting the startups and dealing (together with Indigeni Digitali) with all the logistics. All that "community-effort', created the right atmosphere and contributed to make it a blast!
Thanks to Principia SGR, the best startup of the Gym Session was awarded with a free entry at the MTB Startup School.
The winner is... Flavio Fazio with his project Flazio, a web platform that allows users with no technical skills to create their own personal and customized website in a snapshot.
Flavio in September will fly to San Francisco with his great passion and skills. Good luck!
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
A recent article on ReadWriteStart raised the issue of whether startup accelerators actually accelerate the path to success or not. All over the world nowadays there are more than 200 of these programs, large and small, known and unknown, all working toward the same goal of helping startups become successful companies.
The article questions whether most of these programs actually work. As supporting evidence, the authors cite a study released last year by Aziz Gilani, a director at Houston-based venture capital firm DFJ Mercury. In a nutshell, Gilani’s study looked at 29 North American accelerators and found that:
- 45% of the accelerators did not graduate any company able to raise additional funds
- Only 2 accelerators (Y Combinator and TechStars) graduated companies that went on to have meaningful exits (the full study is not available, so we are unsure what “meaningful” exactly meant in the scope of the study)
- Many of the accelerators were not at all known by the VC community that should be funding their graduates
Given that only a handful of startups are able to get into a top-tier program, the question for entrepreneurs becomes whether second-tier programs are worth a look, and which ones should be on the list. What are the variables to look at to make a decision? Gilani says those startups should ask themselves three main questions:
- Will the program help me get additional funding?
- Will it help me develop partnership that can promote growth?
- Will it connect me with mentors that can truly increase my chances of success?
How do you measure success?The topic – which is part of a larger discussion on whether or not we’re in the midst of a “startup bubble” – is a hot one and triggered an animated debate in the comments following the article. Many of the readers mentioned some of the limitations that the study seems to suffer from:
- Exits can take time. Did the study focus on a timeframe that is too short?
- Exits are not the only parameter for success. A startup that goes on to establish a profitable revenue stream cannot be counted as a failure for the accelerator and its founders.
- Even if the startup eventually fails, the people involved might have gained experience and skills that will lead to future successes. For-profit investors in the accelerator will certainly not count this as a success, but did the program really fail? An institution like the Kauffman Foundation - which commissioned Gilani’s study and is one of the main MTB supporters- might take a different, broader perspective and see the positive, long-term outcome as a success.
- Even if the startup eventually fails, without the support of the accelerator the entrepreneurs involved would not have been able to give their idea a try. Here too, for-profit investors in the accelerator will rightfully see the outcome as unsuccessful, but some of the entrepreneurs involved might see it differently, and the overall contribution to society as a whole is hard to gauge (e.g. will those entrepreneurs be more likely to “give back” down the road, if successful?).
Tips to selecting the right acceleratorDimensions of success aside, there’s no question that startup entrepreneurs need to be careful when evaluating different acceleration programs. Here are some things to keep in mind in the selection process.
- Size of the seed funding: are you given enough money to quit your side job and give your idea a full try, at least for several months? The size of the seed also tells you a lot about how serious the accelerator really is about its program. Look for $50,000 in financing or above.
- Conditions attached to the seed funding: how much equity are you asked to give up, or what are the conditions attached to the convertible note? Seed funding with too many strings attached might substantially reduce your ability to obtain additional funding. Look for expert advice.
- Reputation and references: what’s the word on the street? And what do the alumni say? There’ll always be supporters and detractors, but a substantially negative “sentiment” (or complete lack of it) are a definite red flag. Do your research, from Facebook to alumni interviews.
- Mentoring community: can you recognize any of the mentors? Do you see people that have a skill set or industry experience that might be a good match for you? Can you talk to anyone to find out? Contact the accelerator to get a sense of how approachable the mentors really are.
- Success stories: in the end, we certainly agree with Mr. Gilani that a complete lack of success stories is a big red flag. What does the accelerator have to show for all the effort and work that it does (or doesn’t do)?
Is Mind The Bridge a successful program?We certainly can’t write an article about startup accelerators without putting our own efforts at Mind The Bridge under the microscope.
Truthfully, what we’ve done in the first 4 years of the program wasn’t a “fully baked” accelerator program (e.g. no major seed funding), but rather an education initiative with a mentoring program attached to it.
That said, a tremendous amount of time and money has been spent making this program a reality, and – even more importantly – helping create unique success stories.
Our business plan competition is indeed becoming a full-blown accelerator program (see the Seed Quest 2012 announcement).
So, let’s look back at what we’ve done so far, glance at what’s head, and come up with a preliminary score card, based on the 5 points mentioned above.
- Size of the seed funding: only a few small investments here and there up to this point, but up to $65,000 of seed funding for the startups selected into the final phase of the 2012-2013 program. Now we’re talking!
- Conditions attached to the seed funding: the seed investment will follow the standard terms from the top notch programs in the world (either a convertible note with minimal terms and conditions or a minimum equity take).
- Reputation and references: our strong reputation in Italy has definitely helped many of the companies that went through the program raise their profile and obtain additional funding. Outside of Italy there’s certainly work to do, and we’re working on it.
- Mentoring community: we’ve got some great mentors, with a wide spectrum of areas of expertise and industry experience. Critics say that we need more non-Italians. Although some of these Italians have been outside of the old country for decades, it’s a fair criticism, and we’re working on that too.
- Success stories: well... here actually the track record is not bad at all. Especially considering point (1) above, the fact that many companies that passed through the MtB program went on to receive additional funding is certainly a success. Looking at the data, of the 15 companies we selected last year for the Venture Camp, 12 were able to get fund raising (1 in US and 11 in Italy) Some of the success cases include Timbuktu (admitted into the 500 Startups accelerator program after winning the 2011-12 MtB business plan competition), NextStyler, RisparmioSuper, StereoMood, Beintoo, Agroils Technologies, Mopapp, Arkimedial, Risparmio Super, Spreaker, and many others.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Genova is a home of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), the new Technology Park "Erzelli" and a prestigious University: an enormous but highly unexploited potential for innovation.
A mission fully shared by Francesco Oddone, Assessore Sviluppo Genova, Paola Girdinio, Dean of the Genoa Engineering School, Paolo Marenco (Silicon Valley Study tour), Renato Soru (Tiscali) and, last but not least, Maria Silva from Genova High Tech who successfully promoted and coordinated this event in Genova.
On June 29th MTB will be in Catania for the last date of our Italy Tour 2012.
Principia SGR will be sponsoring a MTB School to the best presenting startup.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Revolutions are exciting if you realize you are living them.
Recently, we have been spending a lot of time talking and thinking about socio-economic crisis, job losses, frozen GDP and so on.
In the meanwhile, a real gold mine is being built silently through the Internet.
Gazillions of digital data is being created daily: logs, business transaction records, sensor and mobile device data, etc., reproducing digitally the real world in the fields of healthcare, energy, education, public administration, logistics, finance, tourism, etc. not to mention the emotions and life snapshots flowing through the social networks.
The Internet acts as a mirror, able as it is to interact bidirectionally. On the one hand, it describes reality; on the other, it stimulates and influences it – and much faster than any other social transition previously experienced. A sort of parallel world is growing and this gives an unprecedented opportunity to analyze data, decipher and cross-mine them, finding emerging and recurrent patterns, discovering hidden behaviors.
This will ignite a new wave of innovation, increased productivity and global growth as long as new professionals are available to dive into this ocean of data in order to extract potential valuable information and turn it into actionable wisdom.
The McKinsey Global Institute (McKinsey Global Institute, Big data: The Next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity) estimates that the “The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings”.
The rest of the world is likely to face similar shortages and, in addition, the next big company will probably emerge in this field.
Can you hear me? No job losses, no crisis, no gloomy scenarios: a gigantic, concrete, challenging job and business opportunity who might position those who grab it in a leadership position in the years to come, fostering growth and creating socio-economic value.
Therefore, as a first step, TOP-IX (MTB long time partner) invited top-notch worldwide experts to talk about Big Data during its last conference at the end of 2011. Now Top-Ix gonna move a step forward: in collaboration with Axant , ISI Foundation and ToDo TOP-IX organizes in October a four-week training program called BIG DIVE , in order to boost the technical skills needed to dive into the big data universe.
The goal is to nurture the growth of a new generation of developers.
A street-fighting gym where high value datasets are the raw material in the hands of a bunch of ambitious smart geeks, tutored and mentored by experts in three key areas: Development, Visualization Design and Data Science.
They are looking for brave divers, it's time to think BIG.
Don't miss this opportunity!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Many great things have happened, since our inception 5 years ago. Today, it marks another critical step forward in our quest for the promotion and support of Italian Innovation in the world.
Friday, June 8, 2012
As tradition, the MTB Italy Tour stops in Genova this summer, one of our favorite city (guess why :).
When? On June 21st, save the date!
Held at Camera di Commercio of Genova, this one-day event brings in Liguria a new culture of entrepreneurship, and gives to one startup the possibility to experience the Silicon Valley.
Indeed, thanks to the partnership with Genova High Tech - one of the more active actors of the local innovation ecosystem -, one of the startups selected to pitch at the afternoon Gym session will win a free seat and attend our Startup School in San Francisco!
How to participate in the event and fly to Silicon Valley? Send your Business Plan to firstname.lastname@example.org and fill the Executive Summary on line here by June 17th. You will be considered for our Gym Session and, if selected, you will present in front of a panel of investors and entrepreneurs. The best startup will win the MTB Startup School in San Francisco.
The event starts at 10am. After the welcome speech, Marco Marinucci (MTB Executive Director) and Alberto Onetti (MTB Chairman) will present the "nuts and bolts" of building a startup and getting funded.
In the afternoon experienced investors and entrepreneurs will give constructive feedback and advices to the startups admitted to present at the Gym Session.
See the full program here and don't miss this opportunity! Participation is free but registration is mandatory (here the link).
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
But we were also supposed to reward the best application... Suspense, curiosity... Who is the winner of MTB Early Call 2012?
Monday, May 28, 2012
Today Mind the Bridge is in Milan at MIfaccioIMPRESA, the saloon of new entrepreneurs which aims at gathering all opportunities and new themes regarding entrepreneurship and startup.
During this two-day event of workshop, conferences and one-to-one meeting, held in Milan at Palazzo Isimbardi, MTB will be presenting together with EUROImpresa, its new activities (Tensostruttura - from 4pm to 5pm). It will be an incredible occasion for you to discover the countless opportunities we can offer you either as a student, as a wanna-be entrepreneur or a startupper.
You will have also the chance to meet the founders of Ploonge, two guys who get to know each other at our Startup School in San Francisco less than one year ago and since that moment started to work together. Isn't it amazing? Take advantage of it to ask them for tips and advices!
Our workshop, "Sviluppa un'idea e costruisci una startup", will be held today at Tensostruttura from 4 pm to 5 pm.
See you there!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Dave McClure - founding partner at 500 Startups - a couple of months ago made it clear in an interview that "families" will be a central area of focus for his program: startuppers typically don't have kids and don't tend to focus on that target market, hence the big opportunity. It makes sense, and Timbuktu's timing couldn't have been better.
The finalists keep finalizing
Many of the other MtB competition finalists including D-Orbit, NextStyler, StereoMood, and Vivocha have already finalized or are finalizing their first or second found of investment. It was great to have them in the Mind The Bridge office in February (and some of them stayed for ad additional couple of months) and help them get to the next step.
We'll run startup-specific stories on each of them in upcoming blog posts.
The bridge is growing
In the meantime, at Mind The Bridge we are working on several exciting projects:
- All Mind The Bridge Web sites are being completely redesigned and consolidated under one roof to better tell the Mind The Bridge story, more effectively showcase the startups that go through our programs, and more prominently highlight the increasing number of mentors that volunteer their efforts to make them grow and thrive. The redesigned Mind The Bridge Web site will be launched in the summer. More on that soon!
- The mentoring program is expanding: it turns out that mentoring and wine tasting go really well together. The program is growing not just in the number of mentors involved, and also in the type of involvement, and we'll have some big announcements in that area soon too.
- More and more companies pass through our offices in downtown San Francisco: it's become a hangout place for entrepreneurs with an Italian connection, and we love it.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
In the past Charles directed several Bootcamps for MTB, so we know he'll do a terrific job stepping up in this new endeavor.
For our Foundation, the Startup School really represents a key opportunity of funding and support for all other programs we run.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
The Latins (and Italians...) called it "par condicio". After 2 years at Stanford, the show-case of the Mind the Bridge startup finalists for 2012 moved to UC Berkeley, kindly hosted by the European Business Association of Haas Business School.
Different side of the bay, same full house, same temperature (after 4 years, the summer-like conditions for our IID are almost guaranteed).
160 people attended to see what this new wave of Italian innovation has to offer.
After an engaging keynote by Peter Arvai, the founder of the super cool Prezi (he's also a super cool dude), the 11 finalists of the MTB and Intesa Sanpaolo initiatives took the stage.
By design, we want to present a diverse showcase of different technologies, ranging from new media to enterprise software to green tech and bio-med.
Among a wide group of investors, this year's Investor Committee was composed of:
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Introducing startups from Italy to the sophisticated audience of Silicon Valley has historically been challenging.
Let's face it.
Italian technology? Too exotic, too naive, too remote.
Besides some sporadic fortunate landings, the "road to Silicon Valley" has been a remote possibility for Italian startups.
So, what the heck is going on now?
Just this week a plethora of events is promoting the booming of the Italian startup ecosystem:
- The Italian startup renaissance, a VC prospective: Andrea Baldini (Early Bird VC)
So many events, that we moved from our first timid attempt last year of a day dedicated to Italian innovation, to a resounding Italian Innovation Week in Silicon Valley!
The bubbling up of Italian innovation that is manifesting itself in the last couple of years is now also spilling over outside its national boundaries.
Mind the Bridge has been beating on the startup-made-in-Italy drum for quite sometime.
But we're not alone now.
We are all pushing in the same direction.
What does it take now to become the next Israel or India for Silicon Valley?
2 words: quality and quantity. We need both.
We need to maintain high standards of startups representing us and constant volumes.
It's clear we've graduated to the major league.
Our track record so far: from ~ 20 companies in the last 2 years more than half have experienced a mind blowing acceleration:
- 2 exits, 1 winner of Le Web, 1 winner of SeedCamp, 1 winner of Microsoft Bizspark, 6 raised (further) VC money
A success rate that is hard to match even by the best in class.
Now we need to harness the potential and start bringing home some big-shot successes.
Italy is ripe. We are too.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The startups are working hard to polish their presentations and wow you with what they have to offer. Come see their new products and services, which this year cover a really wide spectrum, from areospace technology to mood-matching music and an iPad magazine.
Peter will share his experience and talk about the do’s and don’t’s of starting and growing a company with offices and talent working many time zones apart.
And of course, it wouldn't be an Italian Innovation Day without some great food and wine, catered by our friends at C'Era Una Volta.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
Since its start, Openhouse has been a periodic event for startups and our community.
Here a quick 2011's rewind:
Since June, our friends from Istituto de Impresa came twice to visit us during their Silicon Valley Study tour trip. The first time at the beginning of summer and then again last november during the One Market Opening Party organized with SOMAcentral. A great event where we had the pleasure to take part in a firechat with Pierluigi Zappacosta (Founder & exCEO of Logitech, today Venture Partner @ Noventi VC).
If you missed it, here below some highlights:
In July we hosted an outstanding presentation from Fadi Bishara, about "The Startup Genome Project and the Marmer Stages". A group of senior managers visiting the Silicon Valley with the American Chamber of Commerce and some folks from Google Italy also came to enjoy the party.
Below a recap of the event:
In August (after the visit from Le Iene) also RAI TV joined us to record our August Openhouse , interviewing participants and shooting some footage. During this event, we had an inspiring guest speaker: Hartmut Esslinger - Industrial Designer and Inventor and Founder of Frog Design.
We 're pretty sure that all the attendees still remember his presentation "Managing Creativity in Business - Right vs. Left Brain -The ultimate challenge of young entrepreneurs".
If you weren't amongst the lucky ones who were be there you can either have a look of this presentation or watch the following video:
Here you can also find the video that RAI has released.
In September during our "changing time" we had the last, well deserved Goodbye Party in Pier 38, the historical, vibrant icon for startups. Loris Degioanni, founder of Cacetech (acquired by Riverbed) had his introduction speech and we also hosted a photography exhibition from ArtForLove.
Here's Loris' speech:
Last but not the least, in October in the occasion of our move to our new location at One market plaza, we hosted a group of Executives from the industrial associations Confindustria Venezia and Padova. Below are pics taken by our great friend and photographer Paolo Bonaccorsi from B-Crome during the event.
We are planning many other events throughout 2012. So.. stay tuned and be ready to meet and mingle with us!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
After the success of the previous editions, Mind the Bridge is now receiving applications for the 2012 Startup School, which will take place in San Francisco from March 5th to March 23rd.