“What’s wrong in Italy? It just moves too slow.”
That was the blunt answer of Augusto Marietti during an interview a few years ago.
Originally from Rome, Augusto is the CEO and co-founder of Kong (formerly known as Mashape), who just closed a $18 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Unfortunately this notion still rings true in Italy, and “slow motion” is a capital sin in the world of technology and innovation, in the world of startups.
Our research focuses on scaleups, the more mature outcomes of a startup ecosystem. And Italy ranks among the underper- formers in Europe in terms of scaleups unsurprisingly.
Italy is a late mover the startup game, where it takes time to produce results (i.e. scaleups). It’s difficult to harvest if you start late and move at a slow pace.
But the real problem we face is that Italy is still cruising, not racing. Our investments in the startup economy are simply not enough. You can’t catch up with players who are already ahead of the game if you are going at a lesser speed.
Our data clearly shows how UK, Germany and France (just to focus on the main countries) look simply too far away.
And while these countries are respectively injecting billions per year (UK is about $3.7B, France $2.7B, Germany $2.1B1), Italy is distilling a few hundreds of millions. Even Spain is pouring 3-4 times more capital.
A significant part of this report will be spent attempting to understand and explain the gaps between Italy and other countries in Europe. But, at the end, speed, i.e. capital investments, does matter.
I’d like to close this introduction with a positive note. Italy has made tremendous progress in the last few years.
Compared to just 5-10 years ago it seems to be in a different historical period. Now you can really breath entrepreneurial energy and passion in the current generation. And you can do it everywhere in Italy, not just in the largest cities but even in the small towns. Not only in the North, but also in the Southern regions and islands.
Let’s give wings to this energy.
by Alberto Onetti