Ultranews #03

On the road

Ultraspazio among participants in research on innovative start-ups in Turin sponsored by the Investors’ Club. Here’s what emerges from the research.

Ultraspazio participated in the research on Turin’s innovative startups promoted and carried out by the Investors Club. This is the snapshot of the Turin ecosystem: 27 incubators, accelerators and startup studios, 14 investors, 400 business angels, at least 5 corporate ventures in addition to realities that cross-fund innovation such as banks and the two major banking foundations in Turin. Not forgetting realities not included in research such as the polytechnic, public and private universities and coworking: all territories where innovation is born, grows and feels at home.

All well, then? On the one hand, yes: between 2021 and 2022 startups grew by 11 percent, and the general Italian trend favors the establishment of innovators in large cities. Turin’s innovative startups and SMEs turnover over 300 million euros in 2021, creating 6,500 jobs.

On the other hand, if we widen our gaze to Europe, we discover the weakness of the “Italian system” and consequently that of Italy’s northwest… Here are some comparison figures.

Turin and its surroundings and Munich have more or less the same inhabitants (2,208,370 Turin and 2,932,668 Munich) but the former has 548 startups, the latter 2,043. Investments on Turin startups touch 400 Million Euros, those on Munich startups reach 2,400 Million Euros. If the comparison is broadened to two other cities (Lyon and Rotterdam), we see a substantial parity in investments (400 million in Turin, 334 in Lyon, and 335 in Rotterdam), but the latter, with a population of only 1.8 million (the “Greater Turin” has about 2.2 million) deploys an army of innovative startups consisting of 1,693: three times the figure for Turin.

Widening our gaze, we see that in 2022 Europe, for the first year, experienced a slowdown in startup investment. This did not happen, however, in Italy, a European anomaly, where investments reached 1.8 billion. Super positive news? In part yes, but the truth is that Italy has to catch up with other European countries in a huge gap: in fact, Germany finances startups with 20 billion euros and France with 15.

Said with some sarcasm one has to ask: “Short arm of the Italian economy and the Northwest in particular? Little inclination to believe in innovation? Laziness? Backwardness?

We have borrowed an image from 1996 by Jean-Paul Goude (brilliant French communicator) to fix the current race with an image: Turin, alone, is running but for now it is out of left field, perhaps Turin and Milan, together (3,364 startups in total funded with 1,351 million Euros) are the athlete in the blue dress, while the athletes in the black and white dress are the unicorns.

The hope is to see that blue dress much closer to the finish line already in the coming years.

P.S. Research estimates the amount held by wealthy families in Turin at 78 billion. It would be nice for the culture of innovation to knock on those doors.