"We spotted Skype almost by accident and we invested in it. I'd say it went pretty well. "
He is always in search of projects to bet on and it is possible that he may find, on this occasion, some worthy ideas. We are attending the fourth Italian Business & Investment Initiative edition held at the New York office of Loeb & Loeb Llp, one of the most prestigious law firms in the U.S. with more than 300 experts.
12 Italian start-ups active in various sectors will be presented, four of them with offices in America.
This is how Italy will show its skills in undertaking high-tech initiatives of global interest. Felman is categorical with regard to the issue: "The money is out there. But we need concrete business ideas."
He is echoed by J. Skyler Fernandes, associate of Centripetal Capital Partners, a venture capital firm that focuses on newly established start-ups with a tested formula of intervention: from 1-3 million dollars up to a maximum of 10 per investment in exchange for an equity never exceeding 49% of the shares.
He would like to turn Ellis Island into a magnet for innovators coming from all over the world. Dan Kaminski is among them, private equity and longtime friend of Fernando Napolitano, 48 years old, promoter of the event and founder of Why Italy Matters Corp., a company registered in United States aimed at promoting the best of Italian high-tech industry and launching it in the international markets through the Italian Business & Investment Initiative's project.
The key-moment of the event is when business lawyer Joseph F. Daniels, the host, starts off a marathon where the selected young entrepreneurs submit their projects to the top investors who, straightaway, are ready to detect any weak point in a Q & A.
Among the other finance leaders there is Mark Peter Davis, venture partner of the High Peak fund, co-founder of the Kohort fund, reference point for all start-ups on Internet, Max Pellegrini, former partner of Buongiorno and now head of Dada Entertainment with its headquarter in New York, and furthermore there is also Alessandro Piol, founder of Vedanta Capital, in the venture capital field for at least a couple of decades, who has always been active on the New York market.
It's a great chance for the 12 young entrepreneurs, as long as they play their cards right. They will have only few minutes to describe their project, after that, they will have to face a fast 3 minute Q & A with investors and audience.
Only after, is Fernando Napolitano's turn. He sums up two years spent to educate, stimulate, incubate and internationalize the new Italian companies: "In collaboration with Mind the Bridge foundation headquartered in San Francisco, we have "exported" overseas 60 start- ups active in the most different fields, with an overall financing amounting to $ 5 million. "
Among Napolitano's partners there are also Innogest Sgr., the largest national fund for start-ups with assets of more than Euro 90 millions, and, also, Intesa Sanpaolo, with the project Start Up Initiative and Atlante Ventures funds. They are the ones that select the best start ups to be presented overseas. The room is overcrowded. There are at least 200 business angels and finance leaders.
There is ArtistFan, online interactive platform for the distribution and promotion of music, videos and concerts streaming headquartered in New York, which has so far raised $ 1.5 million of third-party funds. Then there is Giovanni Strocchi of Admantx holding a $ 2.8 million check signed by Atlante Ventures and an expected turnover at 4 million dollars for its platform regarding online advertising that matches spots and texts. Elena Favilli, the third start upper to be presented, relies entirely on the parent-child relationship. With her Timbuktu (headquartered in San Francisco,) she has launched the first newspaper for 6-12 year old children for iPad games and all sort of news constantly updated.
Franco Bondi of +Plugg is the most applauded, presenting his smart objects such as meters, scales or thermometer that can be connected to IPhone.
Matteo Cascinari of Blomming is partecipating too with assets of $ 1.7 millions financed by Vertis Venture; Lorenzo Fragola of Real Made in Italy now being launched in collaboration with Eataly food for the part of the platform dedicated to the Italian lifestyle, Antonio Tomarchio of Beintoo with $ 7.5 millions allocated by Innogest Sgr., and Tlcom Capital Partners for the app fans community challenged to play all sort of games. The bedollars won can then be turned into discount vouchers in online and offline partner stores.
Then it is the turn of Daniele Novaga of Stereomood; Ugo Parodi Giusino of Mosaicoon financed by Vertis Venture with a $ 800,000 investment, Claudio Vaccarella of HyperTvx; Alessio Morena of Icoolhunt, financed by Atlante Ventures of the Intesa Sanpaolo group, and finally Alessandro Santo of Homply : the virtual notebook, which makes house hunting much easier, seems to be appealing.