How This Entrepreneur Plans To Bring The World’s Tech Elite To Italy

Italy’s tech sector is flourishing getty Italy has the third largest economy in Europe and is renowned for its manufacturing, fashion, food, and tourism industries, and major events like Milan Fashion Week, Venice Biennale, and Venice Film Festival. But when it comes to the tech sector, a lack of public […]

Italy has the third largest economy in Europe and is renowned for its manufacturing, fashion, food, and tourism industries, and major events like Milan Fashion Week, Venice Biennale, and Venice Film Festival. But when it comes to the tech sector, a lack of public and private infrastructure has left the country barely out of the starting blocks.

But that could be about to change, thanks to the efforts of entrepreneur Gabriel Schillinger. The 31-year-old Florida native has already tasted success, having founded and sold two companies, BIM Networks, and Gamma Innovations. With his latest venture, Techtalia, he has been inspired by his Italian heritage to put the country on the global tech startup map. In the same way that Davos brought the international elite to Switzerland, Schillinger plans to bring the tech elite to Italy.

He says: “My grandmother was born in Italy and there is a strong connection for me with Italy when I visit. It’s been a place of refuge and rejuvenation for me, and I think it’s time for me to give back.”

BIM was Schillinger’s first real tech success. Aged 20, he cofounded the company with a mentor from high school. “It was my mentor’s idea, and I had the youthful energy to put the hard work in and focused on the product and our selling to partners,” he says. “We created the lowest cost payment network in the U.S. all on mobile before Venmo, Braintree, and Plaid ever existed.”

They also had a ‘who’s who’ of board members from retail, including the former CEOs of Sears, HomeDepot, Saks, Whole Foods, HSN, and Whole Foods. After partnering with Walmart, the business grew significantly, and five years later, in 2014, Schillinger sold his stake. After taking some time out to go traveling he was ready to start something meaningful again, and in 2017, he invited his smartest and most creative friends to dinner at a family friend’s loft in NYC to brainstorm startup ideas.

“After a few bottles of wine and lots of terrible ideas, one of my friends, who eventually became our CTO and cofounder, came up the idea for Gamma,” says Schillinger. “It was simple; let’s create software that is downloaded and embedded into every device with compute power globally and use that compute power to mine crypto or run AI algorithms when the devices are idle; a [email protected] for our generation.”

The Gamma team raised $2 million from some of the top gaming investors, and last summer the company was acquired by Hong Kong-based, ASX-listed Animoca Brands.

Schillinger’s current venture, Techtalia, is an annual global business, tech, and cultural event that will shine a light on Italy’s potential to be a global hub of tech and innovation, offering top leaders an opportunity to learn, enjoy, and recharge, featuring high profile business speakers, with proceeds going towards inspiring a new generation of Italian entrepreneurs.

“Italy is missing a feedback loop of creators, educators, and investors like Silicon Valley,” says Schillinger. “Our goal is to help bring some of that to Italian founders, and with everything now going virtual, the barriers are that much lower. Previously you had to move to Palo Alto or San Francisco to truly experience it. Now you can simulate this from anywhere in the world.”

The event has won the backing of some major names in tech, including one of Italy’s most famous entrepreneurs, Riccardo Zacconi, CEO of King, the company behind Candy Crush, who was a keynote speaker at Techtalia 2020. He believes that one of the key issues for Italian tech is its focus on the domestic market rather than international markets.

“While a Swedish entrepreneur starts out looking for an idea that is new in the global markets, an Italian entrepreneur will often focus on the home market, so the Swedish entrepreneur has a bigger opportunity than the Italian one,” says Zacconi. “Now we are seeing more Italian tech companies, Yoox, for example, succeeding outside Italy, and this will lead to more Italian tech companies reaching bigger valuations and attracting more international capital to Italy.”

Another sponsor of Techtalia is Endeavor Italy, which promotes economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating entrepreneurs of high-growth, scalable companies. Managing director Raffaele Mauro’s view is that it is outdated perceptions of Italy as the ‘land of the past’ that have conspired to keep it off the radar of international VCs and markets.

He says: “Political priorities have also worked against Italy’s bid to be recognized as a global tech center, as innovation and high tech entrepreneurship were not priorities until very recently. What’s needed is a better connection between private savings and institutional investors and the real economy and the VC industry, and also for local entrepreneurs to build stronger connections with international flows of financial and human capital, including the recent wave of high skilled expats.”

A virtual event hosted on Zoom, Techtalia 2020 brought together speakers and attendees from the U.S., Europe, and Asia to focus on tech and business, with fireside chats from Zacconi and Unity founder David Helgason, mixed in with live cooking lessons from Cecconi’s, bartending lessons from Campari, and music from Matteo Bocelli, plus panel discussions on everything from biomaterials, to the future of fashion and sustainability and female entrepreneurship in Italy and Europe.

Next year Schillinger aims to be hosting Techtalia as a live event in Italy. On his bid to emulate Davos and draw the global tech elite to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs, he is equally upbeat and confident.

He says: “Davos is held in Switzerland, but it is a global destination event. Italy is one of the top destinations in the world, and we have all of its amazing qualities going for us, including the best food, fashion, and consumer and automotive brands. Fancy a trip to Italy to lunch with David Helgason, while learning about some of the challenges of building Unity, or a perfect Negroni lesson with the head bartender of Campari?

“Our goal will only be achieved when we truly become a cultural event where you feel you need to be in the room where it happens, with founders meeting their cofounders, investors seeing the next big idea and investing in the founders building them, and young entrepreneurs, who have no idea how their journey will unfold, getting the opportunity to be mentored, or be part of something that becomes the catalyst for their own dream business.”

Source Article

Next Post

Platform Science makes RPM products available on Samsung Galaxy Tab Active devices

Platform Science and Samsung Electronics America have expanded their collaboration to now include the deployment of Platform Science’s Remote Platform Management (RPM) products on Samsung Galaxy Tab Active devices. Fleets using the enterprise-level ruggedized Galaxy Tab mobile devices can now run the entire RPM product portfolio, which includes mobile device […]

Subscribe US Now