How to start-up in Italy

Italy has traditionally a good reputation in sectors like Fashion, Food and Tech, but unfortunately investing or opening a company in Italy has always appeared very difficult to a foreigner: lots of red tape, a byzantine bureaucracy, few funding opportunities.

Since few years though the situation is changing and several measures has been taken to help local and foreign startuppers both for opening and funding their ventures. The first and most effective was the introduction of srls companies, an entity very similar to uk ltd with a minimum share capital of 1 €, no notary fees and a reduced, for Italian standards, cost of incorporation.

This new type of company allows now to operate on the Italian market at a fraction of the previous investment required.


Furthermore since 2014 there’s a funding program of Invitalia, the Italian development agency, named Smart & Start; it aims to stimulate investments in innovating companies operating in Italy (thus also local branches of foreign companies).

The aid consist in a free-interest loan up to 80% of the project value and if the company is set up in southern Italy (from Abruzzo to Sicily and Sardinia) 20% is non-repayable.To reduce the timing Invitalia guarantees the evaluation of the startup’s project within 60 days, and a visa program for extra-eu entrepreneurs is also available.

With such stimulus is much easier to develop and try products in a country that represent the state-of-the-art especially in sectors as Food tech, Fashion and Tourism.



Never underestimate grandparents in your living room

Almost everybody has good memories of the grandparents. Lovable people with white hair, telling their incredible life experiences and stories near the fireplace while petting the dog.

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Famous grandparents petting their dog

Well forget this naif picture. Modern gramps & grannies in fact are another kind of people, at last for Barclays Business, that in their last report have find “Olderpreneurs” – over 55 entrepreneurs starting up new ventures – are on the rise.

The Bank has analysed their client base of more than 1 million businesses and found that, over the last decade, the over-55 running a company increased by a remarkable 63%. Just to give an idea, over the same period, the 25-34 group grew up at a rate of only 23%.

Even more impressive is the increase in the over-65 segment that has seen a grow-rate of 140% in ten years, being the best performing age group of the whole research.

This result give a new picture of elderly that is very different compared to the one of just few years ago. At an age that usually was the beginning of retirement now people set up new ventures, giving their experience and skills back into the market.

This new area of entrepreneurship could definitely represent an asset for the startup world and the investors should consider this dramatic change in such an important sector.



What’s the world like from startups perspective?

The Silicon Valley Bank has recently released the Startup Outlook Report 2017, a survey meant to know deeper the situation of startups and the mood of their funders.

The report had 941 respondent companies mainly working in US, China and UK  on sectors like tech and health.

The picture coming out from the survey points out probably for the first time a pessimistic outlook for business, 16% of companies in fact thing that the business conditions will be worse for the future. Just one year ago pessimists were a mere 1%.


Funding is still an issue for almost every startup, only 19% in fact find raising capitals for their business not challenging while the remaining 81% is somewhat rather then extremely challenged during fundraising process.


Regarding Brexit, it seems that UK startups are not scared of remaining as only 17% are considering to move their headquarters outside UK or Europe following the triggering of article 50 of which only 1% will leave Britain for sure.


It’s still to define instead how Brexit will affect talent recruiting that is considered, by 76% of responders, as the main public policy issue affecting their companies. It’s very likely though, in my opinion, that at least for EU nationals will be put in place bilateral agreements for permanent working visa in the UK.

All images are courtesy of Silicon Valley Bank.

Deadly costly startups

London, New York and Silicon Valley have never been famous for being cheap places to live in. According to a recent report of Knight Franks though, also office rent costs for startups are sky rocketing and, of course, London is leading the race.

Renting an office in Shoreditch district in fact, cost more than 66,000 US$ annually that is enough for relegating Brooklyn and San Francisco Mid Market to 2nd and 3rd position respectively with a good 62,000 US$ and 61,000 US$.

Infographic: Where Startup Costs Are Sky High | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

The top ten is completed by Paris, Boston, Dublin, Los Angeles and then far east trio Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore.

Till now the bad news. But Knight Frank has also calculated the rent for a 4 seats shared office and the good news is that prices are far lower also if not properly cheap. In this case London Shoreditch and Brooklyn would cost “only” around 29,000 US$, while San Francisco 24,000 US$.

Oddly enough Hong Kong has dedicated offices cheaper than serviced ones!

The outcome is that co-working spaces are very important for cutting costs of starting up and having an high entry level values for office rent could bring lot of potential entrepreneurs to drop out.

Another service that in my opinion could help in cost cutting is co-living, having house shares with communal facilities such as computer lab, printers, wi-fi connection could bring to cut dramatically office expenditures.

Basically you can have a bedsit and an office at the cost of the bedsit only, for sure won’t be good when you rise facebook-like funding but to start cheap is a good option for sure!

Knight Frank’s analysis:

London is the new European Start up Capital

Despite Brexit and related roller coaster of economic and monetary factors, the first six months of 2016 have stated the overtake of London vs Berlin as capital of start up in Europe.

According to the German EY’s startup barometer report in fact, investments in Berlin have dramatically fallen to 520m€ in the first semester of this year, sinking the whole Germany to a 957m€  amount that is the half compared to the same period of 2015.

Infographic: London Usurps Berlin As Startup Capital Of Europe | StatistaYou will find more statistics at Statista

This tumble, with the contemporary rise of London and Stockholm, has taken Berlin out of the podium as also Paris has  bring investment into startups to a bright 673m€ level.

The amount of 1,32om€ for London is also remarkable considering the fall of 12% in fintech investments and funding on the same period in the city.

The next year would probably bring more clarity due to the mitigation of Brexit effects but London will any case play a main role in the startup funding and development sector.

EY website:



How much do your employees worth?

Human resources are the most important asset of a company, their wellness and happiness on the job environment may change dramatically the performance of the firm and make the difference between glory and failure.

Having a winning strategy on employee’s expansion policy is of extreme importance and whether you are a one-man start-up or a HR executive in a wealthy corporation, you probably asked million times the old-as-time Hamletic question : should i hire a new resource in my company?

Statistic: Revenue per employee of selected tech companies in 2015 (in U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Well, to be honest, such a question is far less Hamletic if you work in the HR department of one of the above companies and corporations.

According to in fact, the most important tech companies have astonishing values of revenue per employee ratios. Apple lead the group with over 2mUS$ but also Netflix, Facebook and Google scored important results breaking the 1mUS$ per employee barrier.

Such a results are even more impressive if compared to IT companies ones.

Statistic: Revenue per employee of major IT services vendors worldwide (in U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

The best of them is IBM with a 289kUS$ per employee ratio.

What’s the magic formula of these companies? How can they get to such results? Of course is the high value of their human resources but the key is, in my opinion, the job environment they were able to set up.

The vision of their founders had as main goal to create a system where you can’t go wrong or make mistakes, a well designed set of procedure and habits that make great people even brighter to turn creativity into innovation.

Keep this in mind when you’ll establish your next startup!

The Garages Era has ended


HP first HQ in Palo Alto

Like it or not we left the Garages Era to dive into the Co-operational one.

Many of the most successful companies of today were born and moved their first steps in a garage. The ones in particular founded in the past century, that shaped our present world, like Apple, HP, Google, Amazon, Facebook (ok it was a dorm-room and this century… ) among others defined the pioneering era of two-friends-in-one-garage companies that were later capable of changing our lifestyle and philosophy of business.

But will this be still possible, in such a magnitude at least, nowadays? Could your nerd next door neighbour kid be the “new Steve Jobs”? Well definitely not to me.


Mr. & Mrs. Jobs garage in Los Altos

The reason is that the world of startups has dramatically changed. Find a new idea, implement it and raise the money to make it a working product has turned from an old, gold retrievers issue into a perfect team co-operation based war.

The key for a successful  startup now is, beside the idea and the team working on it, developing it in a stimulating environment that can at the same time address you and facilitate all the time consuming issues such as find money, human resources, an office rather then housing.

This is thus the Era of Co-working in shared offices, incubators and accelerators where you can share, test and develop your ideas with other startuppers and experienced consultants. This will be the era of Co-living, where you share your house with other mates possibly working on your same sectors in tech houses with wifi, computers and events attended by sector gurus, mentors and experts. Almost all of before said companies, in fact,  have accelerators and co-operating programs to catch the “next Facebook” company.

Co-operational Era is the legacy, on the other hand, of Garages Era companies. Hopefully we’ll have men and women beside new start-ups able to split the tech history in two as many of their Garages Era ancestors did.

Hewlett-Packard wiki:

Google wiki:

Apple wiki: 

Amazon wiki:

Facebook wiki:

Pics courtesy of