UNLOCKING ITALIAN POTENTIAL: INNOVATION, INVESTMENT AND FUTURE SCENARIOS
Elina Berrebi, Founding Partner of REVAIA
Pietro Bezza, Managing Partner of Connect Ventures
Nick Brown, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Imaginary
Alberto Cartasegna, Founder & CEI of miscusi
Enrico Casati, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Velasca
Valerio Chiaronzi, CEO & Founder of hlpy
Massimo Ciociola, Founder of Musixmatch
Erik Engellau-Nilsson, Co-Founder Norrsken Launcher – Norrsken House Stockholm
Eric Ezechieli, Co-founder of NATIVA
Giuliana Ferraino, Journalist at Corriere della Sera
Alberto Forchielli, Investor, Managing Partner at Mindful Capital Partners
Massimo Gaggi, editorialista del Corriere della Sera
Anne Glover, Chief Executive and Co-founder Amadeus Capital Partners
Magnus Grimeland, Founder & CEO of Antler
Alessio Lorusso, Founder & CEO of Roboze
Giorgio Metta, Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss, Founder & CEO at Dance, Founder of SoundCloud
Alec Ross, Professor & Author
Donatella Sciuto, Rettrice Politecnico di Milano
Andrea Scrosati, Group COO & CEO Continental Europe Fremantle
Navin Thukkaram, Investor, Advisor and Entrepreneur
Giorgio Tinacci, Founder & CEO of Casavo
Vittoria Zanetti, Co-founder & Executive Director of Poke House
Founding Partner of REVAIA
Revaia invests in European growth-stage companies with global ambitions and sustainable leadership positions such as Aircall, Frontify and Deepki, helping them navigate throughout entire life cycles from the growth stage to IPO and beyond. Prior to founding Revaia, Elina was involved in the creation of Eurazeo Growth, Eurazeo’s growth equity arm where she supported leading tech companies such as Farfetch, PeopleDoc and ContentSquare. Elina has experience in the financing, structuring or the oversight of 30+ growth companies, and was previously an investment manager at Bpifrance. Elina sits on the boards of Frontify, Welcome to the Jungle and GoHenry. Elina has been consistently recognised as an investor and a young leader by the industry. Some distinctions she has received include Venture Capital Journal’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars, Best Young Private Equity Personality of 2021 at the Private Equity Exchange & Awards, Les Echos’ France Tech Personalities of 2021, inclusion in the Choiseul 100 and France Invest’s “Coup de Coeur trophy” of 2019. Elina graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and Columbia University in New York.
Managing Partner of Connect Ventures
Pietro is a founder turned VC. He has invested at seed stage for 10 years, focusing predominantly on B2B software. He is first check and on the board of several unicorns, including: Typeform and TrueLayer. Pietro learned the whole rollercoaster journey of tech entrepreneurship as co-founder and CEO of Neo Network, a mobile communication platform. Started in Milan in 2001, scaled up to 25m ARR, acquired in 2008. Prior to that, he did 5 years of Product and Marketing Management at Kraft Food where he experienced with Philadelphia the power category domination. A classic journey from soft cheese to soft…ware. Pietro’s passion and expertise is in everything SaaS, in product-led growth and in category design. He likes experimenting with new frameworks like his notorious Minimum Viable Category Design or the PLG Trifecta (LINKs) Pietro lives in London with his wife and two boys who has coerced to become Inter Milan fans.
Co-founder and Managing Partner at Imaginary
Nick Brown is Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Imaginary Ventures. Founded in partnership with Natalie Massenet in 2018, Imaginary Ventures invests in best-in-class brands, platforms and entrepreneurs that are changing how a new generation of consumers live, eat and shop. Notable investments include Skims, Reformation, Glossier, FarFetch, Daily Harvest and others. Prior to starting Imaginary Ventures, Nick was a Partner at 14W Venture Partners. Nick received his BA from Harvard University.
Founder & Ceo Miscusi
Born in 1989, at eighteen he took his first plane to London for a sabbatical and immersed himself in catering. He returned to Italy and graduated with honours in Economics from Bocconi University, spending a semester of his MBA at the Kelly School of Business in America. After a brief experience in Boston Consulting Group, he joined Rocket Internet in Berlin and founded Helpling Italia, helping to raise 57M€. At the age of 26, he founded miscusi. In 2019, he was nominated by Forbes among the 100 young Italians who will change the future.
Co-founder & Co-CEO of Velasca
Enrico Casati is the co-founder and co-CEO of Velasca, together with Jacopo Sebastio. In the early years of his career, he worked for the HSBC bank, mainly abroad between London and Singapore, both in the field of management support to top management and directly on the markets in the Asset Management division. In 2013, he decided to follow his entrepreneurial vocation by starting his own business. That same year, he founded Velasca, covering all company roles according to the company’s needs. Today he focuses on strategy, human resources, marketing, operations, technology and customer service, overseeing and coordinating a team of dozens of people towards the common goal of sustainable growth. Passionate about business and entrepreneurship, over the years he has shared his experience with other startups in the Italian ecosystem, with students of university courses and on Linkedin. Velasca is the first Italian style brand, created online in 2013, to adopt direct sales to the final consumer (first online and now omnichannel) as the centre of its growth and development. Velasca's mission is to bring "beautiful, well-made Italian style" to the world. The brand started from men's handmade shoes, but is rapidly expanding into the women's sector and into other total-look product categories, consistent with a lifestyle brand strategy that unites people in the world with the same values of style, craftsmanship, appreciation, and high quality made to last.
CEO & Founder of hlpy
Born in Rome where he graduated in Social Sciences from Sapienza, he grew up professionally in Milan where he began his working career in the ‘new economy’ of the late Nineties. He directly experienced the great enthusiasm of the first wave of digitisation in those years, followed by the bursting of the speculative bubble, first in Freedomland and then in Genie (British Telecom's digital brand). After two years of Sales & Marketing consultancy mostly in the automotive sector, in 2004, he joined Europ Assistance, the Generali Group's assistance providing company. In those years, in addition to covering various roles with increasing responsibilities in insurance, operations and sales & marketing, he developed his academic career by completing an Executive Program in General Management at Insead in Fontainebleau. In 2017, having exhausted his experience in Europ Assitance, he joined AmTrust International, the European arm of the American insurance group AmTrust, a player specialised in P&C and Warranty business, as General Manager. Since May 2020, Valerio Chiaronzi is CEO & Founder of hlpy, a European company based in Milan that is redesigning (digitising) the vehicle assistance services industry, serving car manufacturers, car rental agencies, motor insurance companies and mobility players. Hlpy has just concluded a Series A funding round and is expanding its activities into major European markets. Valerio is passionate about music, guitars and sports, and he is married with one son.
Founder of Musixmatch
Product-focused, balance-sheet driven entrepreneur with a 25+ year track record in pioneering, launching and growing profitable business in the media and tech space with broad experience in product, business, and content development. Massimo Ciociola is the Founder and CEO of Musixmatch, the global leading consumer and business Music Data company based in Bologna, London and San Francisco. The company focuses on building the best languages, transcriptions and meta data out of any audio formats. From Music to Audio. Musixmatch has more than 70 million users worldwide throughout all consumer platforms and global distributions agreements with Apple Music, Amazon Music, Instagram, Google, Facebook, Vevo, Spotify, Tidal, Youtube, etc with the goal of enhancing the consumer music experience. Musixmatch since July 2022 is a TPG Growth's portfolio company.
Co-Founder Norrsken Launcher – Norrsken House Stockholm
Erik Engellau-Nilsson is the managing partner and co-founder of Norrsken Launcher, a VC that backs deep tech companies that fundamentally can change the future of the planet. Prior to Launcher, Erik was CEO of Norrsken Foundation, an organisation that helps entrepreneurs solve the world’s biggest challenges, and worked for the payments unicorn Klarna.
Co-founder of NATIVA
Eric Ezechieli is a regenerative entrepreneur. He is co-founder of NATIVA, a company that accelerates the transition of companies towards regenerative models, and author of the book Un'impresa possibile (A possible Enterprise). After graduating in Business Studies from Bocconi University, he completed a Master's Degree in Innovation for Sustainability at Stanford, California. He helped conceive and launch CO2alizione, and he is co-founder of the Regenerative Society Foundation and AssoBenefit. From 2015 to 2017, he was Chairman of The Natural Step International. He was nominated 'Most Valuable Player 2016’ in the global movement of Benefit Corporations for helping to introduce legislation on Benefit Corporations in Italy.
Investor, Managing Partner at Mindful Capital Partners
Alberto Forchielli, born in Bologna in 1955 – obtained an MBA with Honours from Harvard and a summa cum laude Degree in Economics and Business from the University of Bologna – he is a Founding Partner of Mindful Capital Partners. Forchielli is an expert in the development of international business, with particular focus on SEA (South East Asia), USA and China, thanks to his strategic skills based on 40 years of experience. Currently, he also deals with dynamics and issues related to the global labour market and the management of talents and skills at international level with particular attention to the problems of young people and vocational training. A long-standing expert in economics, he writes for Caixin Media (fugeli.blog.caixin.com) and has also published his own blog in English (www.albertoforchielli.com). He is a regular guest on Piazza Pulita, Class CNBC, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and on the Chinese state television, CCTV. In the past, in addition to being Special Advisor to the Italian Minister of Defense, to the Minister of the Budget for the South of Italy, and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he has worked and lived for several years in different parts of the world: Singapore and Kuala Lumpur with Finmeccanica, Washington with the World Bank, Luxembourg with the European Investment Bank, Rome with the IRI Group, Boston, London, Santiago, Lima, Milan and Rome with the Mac Group, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Munich with Mandarin Capital Partners (now Mindful Capital Partners).
Chief Executive and Co-founder Amadeus Capital Partners
Anne co-founded Amadeus in 1997 with Hermann Hauser. Building on her scientific training and operating experience, Anne has been a venture capitalist for over 30 years and has been investing in emerging markets for 15 years. Early in her career Anne lived in the USA, working in manufacturing with Cummins Engine Company and in strategy consulting with Bain & Co, before returning to the United Kingdom to join Apax Partners in 1989 to invest in early-stage companies. She became COO of one of her investee companies, Virtuality Group, after it listed on the LSE in 1993, and then returned to investing as a business angel before founding Amadeus in 1997. A former Chairman of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and Invest Europe, Anne was appointed Non-Executive Director of the Court of the Bank of England in 2018 and in 2019 became a member of the Investment Committee of Yale Corporation, which is responsible for oversight of the Yale University Endowment. In 2021, Anne was appointed as an external member of the Venture Capital Investment Committee of British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution. Anne holds an MA degree in Metallurgy & Materials Science from University of Cambridge and a master’s degree in Public and Private Management from Yale School of Management. She was awarded a CBE in 2006 for services to business, is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2021.
Founder & CEO of Antler
Magnus Grimeland is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Antler (www.antler.co), recognized as the most active seed-stage investor globally, backing the world's most driven founders from day zero to greatness. He leads a global team across 6 continents and 25 locations that has invested in and helped build over 750 portfolio companies worldwide. Prior to Antler, Magnus co-founded ZALORA.com, Asia’s largest fashion e-commerce company. He served as COO and Managing Director of Zalora after it was acquired by Global Fashion Group (GFG) and expanded it across 26 countries. Magnus is an alumnus of Harvard University. He was a Junior Partner at McKinsey & Co and worked in North America, Europe, and Asia in the global telecommunications, media, and tech industries. Prior to this, he served as a Navy Seal with the Royal Norwegian Navy Special Operations.
Founder & CEO of Roboze
Alessio Lorusso was born in Bari in 1990. CEO & Founder of Roboze, listed in the 2018 Forbes ranking among the 30 most promising European managers under 30 in the Industry category, entrepreneur and visionary in the field of additive manufacturing, earning him the award of "Entrepreneur of the Year" from Ernst & Young. In Italy, he is called "The Italian Steve Jobs" for his passion, perseverance and vision. At just 17 years old, he built his first ‘beltless’ 3D printer dedicated to SMEs and in 2015 he founded Roboze, doubling its turnover year on year. His goal is to bring the value of production back to the point of use by employing advanced additive manufacturing solutions, not only for economic advantages through the reduction of warehouse and shipping costs, but also for environmental and social advantages, thanks to a new globally distributed production model able to overturn the classic approach of decentralised manufacturing, reducing CO2 emissions and increasing engineering skills on the territory, stimulating the creation of new professional figures. With headquarters in Italy and Texas, the company is seeking to make the Bari and Houston offices among the most important 3D printing hubs in the world. Roboze – Re-shaping Manufacturing Roboze is redesigning the manufacturing industry and revolutionizing 3D Printing with the world's most precise technology, capable of processing super polymers and composite materials for the production of finished functional parts for use in the most extreme conditions and sectors. Roboze's ecosystem includes a complete range of advanced 3D printers for high temperature and high resistance super polymers, developed in collaboration with the best players in the world. It guarantees a true optimisation of costs and times along the entire production chain, bringing Additive Manufacturing closer to the standards of traditional production. In addition, Roboze offers the possibility to produce custom finished parts On Demand and Just-in-Time through its global manufacturing network service, Roboze 3D Parts, which enables companies to reduce costs and times by shortening their supply chain steps and digitising their inventory.
Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Giorgio Metta is the Scientific Director of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). He holds a MSc cum laude (1994) and PhD (2000) in electronic engineering both from the University of Genoa. From 2001 to 2002, Giorgio was postdoctoral associate at the MIT AI-Lab. He was previously with the University of Genoa and from 2012 to 2019 Professor of Cognitive Robotics at the University of Plymouth (UK). He was member of the board of directors of euRobotics aisbl, the European reference organization for robotics research. Giorgio Metta served as Vice Scientific Director of IIT from 2016 to 2019. He coordinated IIT's participation into two of the Ministry of Economic Development Competence Centers for Industry 4.0 (ARTES4.0, START4.0). He was one of the three Italian representatives at the 2018 G7 forum on Artificial Intelligence and, more recently, one of the authors of the Italian Strategic Agenda on AI. Giorgio coordinated the development of the iCub robot for more than a decade making it de facto the reference platform for research in embodied AI. Currently, there are more than 40 robots reaching laboratories as far as Japan, China, Singapore, Germany, Spain, UK and the United States. Giorgio Metta research activities are in the fields of biologically motivated and humanoid robotics and, in particular, in developing humanoid robots that can adapt and learn from experience. Giorgio Metta is author of more than 300 scientific publications. He has been working as principal investigator and research scientist in about a dozen international research as well as industrial projects.
Founder & CEO at Dance, Founder of SoundCloud
Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss is Founder & CEO at Dance. Dance is an e-bike subscription service founded with the purpose of having a positive impact on health, sustainability and livable cities. With Dance, you have a state-of-the-art e-bike at your disposal, without the hassle of buying and owning. The goal of Dance is to spark a global movement built on a connected community of passionate e-bike riders, ultimately making cities more bike-friendly and livable. Prior to founding Dance, Quidenus-Wahlforss founded SoundCloud in 2007 and served as its Chief Product Officer for 12 years. SoundCloud is the world’s largest open audio platform with over 200 million tracks from 25 million creators heard in 190 countries; what’s next in music is first on SoundCloud.
Author & Professor
Alec Ross is a New York Times best-selling author and Distinguished Adjunct Professor at l’Universitá di Bologna Business School. He is the author of the recently published The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People and the Fight for Our Future. His prior book The Industries of the Future has been translated into 24 languages and been a best-seller on 5 continents. He is a Board Partner at Amplo, a global venture capital firm and sits on the board of directors for companies in the fields of technology, finance, manufacturing, human capital and cybersecurity. He has served as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and as a Senior Fellow at the Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs. His writing has appeared in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy. His academic writing has appeared as the journal cover articles in publications including the SAIS Review of International Affairs and the NATO Review. During the Obama Administration, he served as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State, a role created for him to help modernize the practice of diplomacy and bring innovative solutions to advance America’s foreign policy interests. Alec served as the Convener for the Technology & Media Policy Committee on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. He co-founded and helped lead a technology-focused social enterprise and grew it from modest origins in a basement into a global organization serving millions of low-income people, with programs on four continents. Among recent recognitions: • U.S. Department of State Distinguished Honor Award
• Oxford University Internet & Society Award
• Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine
• 2020 National Consumers Union, Massimiliano Dona Award “For his commitment on the frontier of change, his gaze to the future and his step into the reality of a world that in order to change cannot betray the trust of consumers.” Alec started his career as a sixth grade teacher through Teach for America in inner-city Baltimore.
Rettrice del Politecnico di Milano
Donatella Sciuto, Rector of the Politecnico di Milano since 2023, is Full Professor of Computing Systems in the Department of Electronics, Information, and Bioengineering. She graduated in Electronic Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 1984. She got a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer. Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder (USA) and a Master degree in Business and Administration from Bocconi University. She has been named IEEE Fellow for her scientific contribution in “embedded systems design”. She has been a member of the Standing Committee of the Bank of Italy since 2013. From 2018 to 2022, she took part to the Supervisory Board of the Human Technopole Foundation. Since 2021, she has been on the Board of the Italian Institute of Technology. She is currently a member of the Technical and Scientific Committee of the National Cybersecurity Agency and a Board Member of the Corriere della Sera Foundation. She served as President of the Council on Electronic Design Automation of IEEE (the world's largest professional organization in technology) from 2011 to 2013. She was named “Inspiring Fifty Italy” in 2018, “IBM Women Leader in Artificial Intelligence” in 2021, and member of the Academia Europaea in 2022.
Group COO & Continental Europe CEO Fremantle
Scrosati joined Fremantle in 2018. Several global functions of the company report to him including Global M&A, Global Strategy, Global scripted (All Drama and Film), Global Documentaries, and all European Activities of the group (excluding Germany). During the last three years Fremantle acquired several companies operating in content production, among which Element Pictures (Normal People/The Favourite), Lux Vide (I Medici/Don Matteo), 72 Films (The Rise of the Tudors/All or Nothing,Arsenal), and grew its scripted output to 115 series and 17 movies delivered just in 2022. Before joining Fremantle Scrosati was EVP Programming of Sky Italia for eight years, with all non-sport programming reporting to him, including the all-news channel SkyTg24, the free-to-air channels TV8 and Cielo and Sky Italia original productions (scripted and unscripted). Under his leadership Sky Italia commissioned iconic shows such as “Gomorrah” and “The Young Pope”.
Investor, Advisor and Entrepreneur
Navin Thukkaram is an investor / advisor with over $3 billion in exits. Having served on 7 corporate boards, Navin leverages his investing and operating experience to advise Founders & CEOs on their mindsets. He’s led mindset workshops at firms like Google and BNP Paribas, and has been profiled in major global media such as CNBC, Fox News and Fortune. Previously, Navin was a partner at Vulcan Capital, the investment fund of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Further, he served as COO / board member of Qwiki, a tech startup that won TechCrunch Disrupt and was acquired by Yahoo!. Currently, Navin sits on the boards of SkyKick, a cloud software platform, and CSIS, the #1 DC-based national security think tank. A former Division I golfer, Navin is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Business School.
CEO & Founder Casavo
Giorgio Tinacci graduated with a degree in International Management from Bocconi and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2015. He then joined BCG, where he worked for two years focusing on digital transformation projects in banking, insurance, and industrial goods. Giorgio left BCG in September 2017 and founded Casavo, the next-generation European platform that matches home sellers’ needs with homebuyers’ desires.
Co-founder & Executive Director of Poke House
Vittoria Zanetti is co-founder and executive director of Poke House. She was born in Desenzano del Garda in 1991, of parents who both worked in the food sector in the production of dairy products. She moved to Milan for her studies, where her passion for the world of food grew deeper. She subsequently gained experience in the catering sector, performing various operational tasks. During a trip to the States, she discovered POKE and decided she would like to bring this concept of healthy food to her beloved Milan, with the dream of disseminating the same Californian energy and mood that she had found in the States. Poke House was founded a very short time after Vittoria's meeting with her current founding partner, Matteo Pichi, then country manager of Glovo. She managed to realise her dream with him, opening the first Poke House in October 2018. Currently Poke House has 130 stores in 7 countries around the world.