The Italy of startups is an entrepreneurial model that struggles to change, and that still needs time to adapt to the innovation system already launched in the major European countries.
Alessandro Arrigo is co-founder and CEO of Startup Bakery, a startup studio, or a team of serial co-founders of startups aimed at building sustainable innovation, but above all purchasable from our entrepreneurial fabric. We asked Alessandro why the Italy of startups is so far behind Europe, the USA and Asian countries.
"The are 2 causes: systemic and cultural – says Arrigo -, Silicon Valley was not built in a day but with a central planning of the evolution of the ecosystem, financing universities and companies in order to experiment and propose innovation, but with freedom to fail. Indeed, with a push towards rapid failures (go big or go home), because only by experimenting with many projects you have statistically the probability of finding one that works. And this is the cultural aspect: in the US, but not only, people welcome the culture of failure, as they understand its usefulness".
"In Italy - continues Arrigo - systemic planning is timidly seeing the light only now, and here the culture of failure almost does not exist, neither founder side nor investor side. For us, the only change we seen we could call it "innopardesco": the one that tends not to change the previous result".
The low Italian propensity to risk, combined with a system that is a little "system", leads to startups that are on average not very "profitable", with investors complaining about their quality and are not willing to invest in early stage startups. In the background there is the Italian entrepreneurial model, which would have an extreme need to innovate and that cannot afford to acquire foreign startups with valuations now out of scale (in the US a seed startup is valued 10x its Italian counterpart, in the UK and France 5x, in Spain 2x).
"I add that it is not the business idea that counts – continues the manager -, but its "grounding". And, then, it is necessary to understand what makes startups fail. I would say a not enough study of the reference market, the disagreement between co-founders, a team not suitable to manage a company at 360 degrees, the lack of funds and a little prudent cashflow management. Ultimately, Italy tries to slavishly replicate innovative systems without having the prerequisites to do so. And, it is not a question of lack of ambition, but of awareness. And so the Italian founders had to go to Silicon Valley to create unicorns".
He has been writing of technology & innovation for more than 25 years, spending his time in the spasmodic search & write of useful and inspirational contents for managers and entrepreneurs.
Favorite quote: never believe what you think.