This is an important week in Italy for everyone who swims in the innovation and digital technologies see. From yesterday (17 Oct) up to tomorrow (19 Oct), the city of Milan is the main scenario for the 49th edition of SMAU, the most important ICT trade in Italy, which since eight years ago showcases best Italian startups with Percorsi dell'Innovazione (Paths of Innovation), powered by Startupbusiness.
Smau is the connector for start-ups, incubators, ICT multinational companies and Italian counties to work together on “Digital technologies and Innovation to let the economy restart” (that’s this edition’s emblematic title).
As one of the main events of the first day within the fair, we want to mention the Confindustria-Smau conference that took place yesterday evening Young entrepreneurs, start-ups and ICT multinational companies dialoguing together. Confindustria and Smau put together young entrepreneurs, the PoliHub Startup District & Incubator and international corporates like IBM, Microsoft, HP, Dell, Computer Gross to debate on the future of our Country and on how international companies can help young and small start-ups grow.
"The world has definitely changed. Young people today have to have the courage to innovate and work on their future", said the Radio24 journalist Sebastiano Barisoni who moderated the panel.
"No one has to fear entrepreneurs today, nor becoming an entrepreneur himself" , said Giorgia Iasoni, President of the Emilia-Romagna Confindustria Association for Young Entrepreneurs.
The debate was full of positive and proactive ideas and it emerged the will of the international companies to give young entrepreneurs opportunities to grow side by side.
Natural conclusion of it was the ceremony for the 1st Lamarck Award for Innovation - Giovani Confindustria, powered by Startupbusiness, in association with PoliHub, IBM, HP, Dell, Computer Gross, Microsoft and the Italian law firm Portolano Cavallo.
The jury awarded the 7 most promising start-ups of the many here at the Smau fair 2012.
Emil Abirascid, Startupbusiness founder and Ceo, called on stage each one of them and gave them the prizes, offered by the co-sponsors of the event.
Let’s see in detail who is behind these start-ups (some of them are very young!) and what great ideas received the prestigious Lamarck Awards.
The first one is SEABREATH-Wave Energy, by Luigi Rubino: a system that uses waves to produce energy. Made of reused containers or recyclable substances and materials, the mechanism is assembled using a modular structure.
This Parma start-up won the HP prize: the company will offer them 3 days of coaching. "Especially now that we are at the beginning and we have a lot of costs - Luigi says - the Lamarck Award is a very remarkable encouragement for us".
Marco Manunta and Nadia Marino, founders of M2TECH SRL, won the Lamarck Award sponsored by Computer Gross, for their product Joplin 384/32 ADC, a digital storage product that gives us the possibility to convert our analogic music into digital files, with the highest quality possible, from any old device (recorders, mixers, radio).
Marco thanked Startupbusiness for the opportunity. "We are so happy about this award! Our product is so different from the average of the other products here at tPercorsi dell'Innovazione that it was a wonderful surprise for us to be awarded".
Just for you to know, this nice couple from the Pisa area calls each of its products with musicians’ names. Exactly like Joplin!
The third award, sponsored by IBM, went to MEEFARM, by Fabio Biccari from Foggia. Their team has been awarded for MEETALE, a social network that links authors and readers: using a Creative Commons license, the authors publish their books, which are then converted into e-books, and the readers can express their opinion on what they read: a collaborative social interaction that in the future will in the founders’ hope evolve into a collective writing integrated system.
IBM sponsored their prize, offering them to be part of the Global Entrepreneurs Program. "This is the 1st time we receive an award, I’m so happy people like our idea! The path is long and difficult, but this is a great opportunity for us to grow" commented Fabio.
MENTE IN MOVIMENTO created by Marco Menichelli and Massimo Nunziato from Rome, won the award sponsored by the Portolano Cavallo Law Firm. Their product, Leonardo – Human Language Code (HLC), is the first programming language with which everyone can develop every kind of software by just using the HLC. "If human beings invented computers, why shouldn't they teach to "the machine" the natural human language also for coding? - says Marco - We have 3 kids each. Everyday, you see how many beautiful ideas they have that they cannot express because of their lack of knowledge, but yet their ideas are amazing. We want to enable everyone to express and develop ideas". These are the convincing thoughts behind their powerful Leonardo concept.
The Portolano Cavallo Law Firm offered them a complete consultancy service. With a remarkable expertise in hi-tech, media, communication and digital businesses "they are the perfect fit for us. We are really happy we got this prize. A legal consultancy service is always very useful, no matter how hard you try to evaluate all the aspects of everything you do in your business - add Massimo.
Leonardo, so far available in Italian and English, will be step by step developed in all the most spoken languages. The product is already a deposited trademark, at both a national and international level, and Marco and Massimo hope they will soon distribute it to the Italian schools as well, because of its great educational added value.
KENT’S STRAPPER is a company born from a Florence family strongly passionate about building things with their hands. They fit the DIY philosophy, indeed. The Cantini family, Lorenzo and Luciano (the brothers) and Ugo (the father), in association with David Montenegro, Lucio Ferella and Alessandro Carelli, designed a 3D printer using a fused filament fabrication technology. Based on the use of a CAD software, this 3D printer is ideal for rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing, for both passionate and professional makers. The project was at first made possible thanks to the engagement of the online community Rep Rap and it’s an open source product: buying it, everyone can fully understand how the printer is made and modify his own, if wanted.
Andrea Langone on behalf of the PoliHub – Startup District & Incubator assigned them the Lamarck Award: Kent’s Strapper will have a 12 months incubating service, including a mentorship program and access to the Politecnico di Milano entrepreneurs, investors and companies’ network.
Lorenzo said "This is our 1st award. We have officially born in November 2011. We are so proud of our team and all the work we did together".
LAURA SAPIENS is another young company founded in Mantova by Matteo Modè, Matteo Fornacciari, Stefano Garusi, Stefano Ghidoni and Stefano Salati with the purpose of giving to people a significantly improved interaction with their computers.
EGO!Smartmouse is the product they designed and it is way more than just a mouse: the integrated video camera and the Bluetooth system allow the user to connect with every kind of screen by simply scanning a QR code; inside the mouse there’s also a wireless memory and a data storage capacity. Thanks to its technology, EGO!Smartmouse can be used as both a traditional mouse and a remote (moving it in the air), giving the user total freedom of interaction with the two devics. High data protection and personal digital identity’s security are guaranteed.
Filippo Ligresti from Dell offered them the prize: 100 hours of coaching at their offices. An amazing opportunity, no doubt!
"We are very grateful for the Lamarck Award. We hope Dell will be a great help for us: since it is a real and relevant presence in the B2B and B2C markets, we hope they will help us commercialize our EGO!Smartmouse".
The last (but not at all the least!) awarded start-up, ZERO12, was only founded in February 2012. Stefano Dindo, the founder, likes to imagine a future where everything will be cloud computing based: no more hardware and software worries for any company. With his team, they designed DRIVEFARM, a ‘File Server Cloud as a Service’, which allows small and medium size companies to store and manage their documents: everything, from contracts to projects, from photos to catalogues, will always be accessible through the clouds. A high security level and a mobile App make of DriveFarm a very appealing product.
The Padua start-up received the Lamarck Award from Microsoft BizSpark and Startupbusiness together: ZERO12 SRL will thereby have access to the prestigious architectural cloud system Microsoft BizSpark Plus, worth about $60.000.
"Besides the economic value of the prize - says the founder - there is a consistent value chain: having access to their retail channels, for example, will be a amazing opportunity for us to distribute our product, while reducing costs within our young company".
All these start-ups did a great job, didn’t they? They all deserve the best of luck to be successful in the near future!
Startupbusiness had a great vision in helping start-ups taking the plunge. "Because a start-up is not a small company: it is an international company just at its beginning" as Emil Abirascid said yesterday at the Lamarck Awards ceremony.
You need a great vision to do great things. And cooperation. As the 1st Lamarck Awards edition pointed out, Italy is moving in both these directions.
Big things are happening!