Axis Innovation Team | April 7, 2020

Axis Webinars brings Italian innovation to the fore

During tough times, we always search for a glimmer of hope. That’s why Axis Innovation decided to shine some light on Covid-19-stricken Italy, as the 4th part of Axis Webinars highlighted some of the most interesting Italian startups through an engaging online pitching session to worldwide investors. Watch the recording here! With the help of the Italian embassy in Israel, just as Italy starts to return to life, we wanted to direct the conversation towards something positive and assist Italian companies to grow. We virtually gathered a strong and diverse team of investors:

  1. Fabio Lancellotti — Partner @ Aster Capital (France)

  2. Sergey Gribov — Partner @ Flint Capital (USA)

  3. Melissa Guzy — Founder & Managing Partner @ Arbor Ventures (Hong Kong)

  4. David Fogel — Co-founder @ ADV, Alma Angels, and the Israeli Tech Parliament (UK)

  5. Peter Lasinger — Managing Partner @ Capital300 (Austria)

  6. Almudena Trigo — Chairwoman and General Partner @ BeAble Capital (Spain)

We also had a variety of interesting startups who are all making Italy proud with their innovative solutions:

  1. The Data Appeal — human experience intelligence tech which removes the complexity from data-driven decisions.

  2. Djungle — enabling strong customer engagement by bringing together technology and creativity, data and gamification, processes and know-how.

  3. DayBreak Hotels — hotel room bookings for day-time use, transforming any hotel into a temporary office or a daycation destination.

  4. Elemize — the Italian leader in residential energy aggregation, by creating smart energy communities.

  5. FindMyLost — the first digital lost property platform for businesses and consumers.

What became clear, as the investors introduced themselves and described their funds, was their interest in Italian innovation and the excitement that they have about what could come from the country.

Mirko Lalli, of The Data Appeal, kicked us off with the startup presentations. While pitching the startup, he discussed the company’s recent significant pivot, from focusing on the travel sector to a broadened scope including financial institutions and real estate — showing the type of adaptability which successful companies might need during the current times. Giulietta Testa, of Djungle, continued after some investor questions, pointing out the issues that companies face when it comes to customer engagement, and showing that their approach and their end-to-end solution is worth investing in at a time of major digitalization. Simon Botto, of DayBreakHotels, discussed the very low average occupancy rates of hotel rooms and under-use of hotel services, and the lost revenue caused by these — showing how valuable their solution could be in redefining hotel usage. Niccolo Teodori, of Elemize, spoke of the low adoption rate of solar energy and discussed how the startup’s smart energy community solution could speed up such adoption, and enables customers to virtually eliminate energy bills, even without a technical understanding of how their energy works. Elena Belacicca, of FindMyLost, noted the huge amount of lost goods worldwide each day and the costly and old-fashioned methods of recovering them, explaining how their customizable platform for various industries can greatly enhance the efficiency and decrease costs of companies returning goods to their owners.

The panel of investors had very specific questions for each startup, trying to get a clear picture of what makes each one unique in how it adds value. Adapting to the new reality of the coronavirus-hit world was also a key interest of the investors, with the startups having differing levels of ability to take advantage of the current situation.

As it has in previous Axis Webinars, the question of making deals without in-person meetings came up because of the inability to travel now, with the investors asked to give advice on how entrepreneurs can get through that present challenge. Although some of the panel had closed deals in this fashion before, it is certainly an unusual hurdle. The general feeling was that both investors and entrepreneurs need to find a way to get to know the opposite parties as well as possible over the virtual channels which are available, to get a sense of their values and whether they are a good investment match. Melissa Guzy recommended that startups reach out to VCs who they think could be relevant well in advance — in order to get the ball rolling at a time when deals could take significantly longer than normal.

The webinar showcased five excellent startups, and certainly fulfilled its purpose of generating excitement in Italian innovation. We hope that Italian startups will thrive in the near future, and that our pitching session played its role in pushing that growth. This webinar was another example of one of the things which Axis Innovation does best — bring together the global community of startups and investors to help the innovation world come alive. More Axis Webinars are coming soon!

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