10 years after the startup law, Italy still has a lot to do for innovative companies

10 years after the startup law, Italy still has a lot to do for innovative companies

10 years after the startup law

They are many, fierce, but they do not grow. Nor do they die. The occasion to take stock of the state of health of the 14,621 Italian startups (source: Ministry of Economic Development - Mise July 2022) was the birthday of the first Italian law for the sector, commissioned in 2012 by Corrado Passera, at the time Minister of Economic development of the Monti government. H-Farm, the historic Treviso incubator, has gathered around a table all the main players of a somewhat heroic season, the one that gave birth to the Italian ecosystem. On stage or in the audience, many of the fathers of the provision: Passera himself, Stefano Firpo (head of the technical secretariat of the same department), Alessandro Fusacchia (member of the task force set up to write the provision). And then, of course, the entrepreneurs who were taking their first steps in those years: Simon Beckerman, founder of Depop (recently sold for 1.625 billion dollars to the fashion giant Etsy) and Alberto Dalmasso of Satispay (three million users, investments from Tencent and Square). Names now known even to the general public.

Grow or die In 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a first report to assess the effects of the package that established ad hoc and facilitated rules for constitution, raising capital and maturity. Firms registered as innovative startups, the data said, are more than twice as likely to receive venture capital funding within their first three years of life. Starting from that, many have made it, some have broken through.

"But to evaluate the success of a company in Italy it still takes too long: only a small part has exceeded one million in turnover, very few have closed their doors - notes Mattia Corbetta, policy analist of the center of Trento for the local development of the OECD -. The Italian ecosystem is too slow in market validation mechanisms ". Translated: you don't die, but neither do you grow up. And, like it or not, the rules of the game, in the ocean where the sharks of innovation dine, are not these.

The problems of an ecosystem The startup model has been refined over the years to immediately show who can swim and who cannot, selecting projects with high growth potential. A method that has proven to adapt well to the digital sector, where the real asset is knowledge and the barriers to entry are low. Another fundamental point: there is no need to transfer finished goods or machinery. If anything, it is the people who move. Here is the problem of attractiveness, often mentioned; here is the theme of the "brain drain".

It's not just fashion. Thus were born Google, Facebook and many of the companies that have shaped the world in the new Millennium. If the industrial policy of a state cannot be based on startups, it is important to remember that technological progress leads to an increase in labor productivity for the same number of staff, therefore a growth in GDP, consequently less debt, in a chain reaction. able to alleviate some fundamental macroeconomic problems. And in generating it, the startups have shown excellent results, replacing the logic of incremental innovation with that of disruption.

Much has also been done in Italy to get in the way. Governments have had the merit of not dismantling the architecture imagined in 2012 by a technical executive. And then the money came. More and more. For example, from Cdp Venture Capital, the national innovation fund of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, it is betting on the technological infrastructure of the country of tomorrow. Led by Enrico Resmini, it has holdings in 240 companies, from life science to cysbersecurity, from agritech to space. There are already 1.8 billion assets under management; another 2.5 billion are on the way. "When we started, in 2020, there were only two-three hundred million", recalls the manager.

But to make the leap in quality, investments must still be multiplied, reaching tens of billions of countries such as France or The UK. For example, involving social security funds. “Corrado Passera, today at the helm of challenger bank Illimity, told sportsgaming.win should obligatorily reserve a quota of resources for initiatives in the start-up or growth phase -. I am convinced that, if well incentivized and regulated, through social security savings it is possible to obtain very interesting effects ".

There is, then, the problem of skills: early school leaving is an Italian scourge. "It's time to put an end to the myth of the entrepreneur who dropped out of university: of the twenty-four transalpine unicorns, most were created by people who have studied, with degrees, masters and doctorates - recalled the Minister for Innovation. Vittorio Colao -. And there is a need for more funding for the growth phase, not just for the start-up of companies: they are two profoundly different things ".

A Passera e Colao echoes Alberto Dalmasso, Turin, founder of Satispay. The company grinds numbers, has three million users, has already been abroad for years. But the founder paws. He doesn't feel supported. "There is an urgent need for an innovation policy", he says. It is a question "of accelerating the scale up phase, when the new company has reached sufficient critical mass". Then the lunge, hard, towards politics: "The executives who follow each other in turn deal with the great industrial crises of the country while the top priority should be on today's young and innovative small businesses, because they will be the big companies of tomorrow, which will make it possible to retain talents and attract them from abroad ”. Dalmasso laments the ineffectiveness of dialogue with the institutions. Consequence? "Precisely in Italy, where a system such as Satispay (which allows you to pay by mobile phone, ed) was born in the recent legislation on the mandatory nature of the POS, the European recommendation of neutrality with respect to payment technologies and systems was ignored."

Paradigm shift In a constantly changing world like that of innovation, the only constant is the need to update. If the startup movement is lively, there are also those who jump off the train and start another bet. It is Riccardo Donadon himself, founder of H-Farm. He explains it to sportsgaming.win while walking around the new campus. All around, the rooms where some of the Italian jewels were born. Now, he tells him, we change.

What legend has it was the first venture incubator in the world (one month prior to Y Combinator) has shifted the axis of activities towards edutech. Thus, from the estate in the Sile park, a stone's throw from Venice, H-Farm tries to launch the challenge of university-level training with masters and advanced courses. It defines itself as an "innovation platform". “After the July sale of the consultancy branch to Jakala, today we are the only listed entity on the Italian market that deals entirely with education - explains Donadon -. Our competitor? Classical training. Universities and business schools ". All levels of education are present on the new campus." Education has a formative value for young people, but it is also a business, and must be treated as such. happens ", concludes the entrepreneur, who involved Carlo Carraro, former rector of the Ca 'Foscari University in the project. The data reported by H-Farm speak of a global market estimated at 254 billion dollars (2021) which in 2027 could reach 605 billion, with a growth rate of 15% year on year.

Powered by Blogger.