“Our mission as Microsoft Italy is to help traditional businesses understand the extraordinary potential of the data driven economy,” Carlo Purassanta, CEO of Microsoft Italy, told ItalyEurope24 in an interview. “We are in a world where competition has gone global and yet not all companies are rising up to the challenge. It is important to understand that technology allows a company, even if it produces locally, to sell and have an impact in any part of the planet.”
Purassanta gives a particularly poignant example, that of Uber. “Uber did not create anything new – explains Purassanta –, it’s great idea was simply to put together demand and offer and today its market capitalization is much higher than that of any carmakers. Yet without them it would not exist, because without cars there would not be Uber. The important message here is that Uber is not the only company that can become a colossus using the data-driven economy. Any traditional company can add a piece of data driven economy to its traditional activities and generate a multiplier effect on their value.”
“All Italian companies have the potential to become the next Uber or Airbnb and is difficult to explain why this has not been the case in the past – says Purassanta -. Last fall our global CEO, Satya Nadella, came to visit our headquarters in Milan and asked me why Uber had not been created in Italy and what we could do for this to happen. Our response, which fortunately was already in the works, has been the launch of GrowITUp, a platform that allows startups to benefit from the relationships between private and public entities to stabilize their growth.”
GrowITUp, explains the CEO, is the result of a synergy with Cariplo, a bank, and Invitalia Foundation, a public investment fund, and aims to accompany startups during “the last mile,” preventing them from migrating abroad in search of important funding. “There are many small start-ups that die at the embryonic stage. Here we want to help them grow as strong plants able to bear fruits.”
“What we have created is a hyper-accelerator of startups in the digital and software industry – adds Purassanta – not an incubator. Actually we work with incubators and financiers to help grow new companies” in seven major sectors: Food, Fashion & Design, Manufacturing, Energy, Financial Services, Tourism & Entertainment, Health & Well Being. The goal is to be able to create about 10,000 new job opportunities for young people.
GrowITUp has been officially launched on July 1st and currently a committee is selecting one hundred promising companies with a business that can be scaled at international level that will be admitted to the “campus.” Physically, the headquarters will be in Milan and could even be incorporated into the Italian Institute of Technology set to rise from the ashes of the Expo Milano 2015. On campus, companies will have the possibility of having a digital platform for trials and there will be several meetings with experts from Microsoft and other Italian companies. The chosen companies will also be assisted by professional figures like chief marketing officer, sales managers, technology officer, directors and financial directors of human resources. “We are working with 20 companies – concludes Purassanta – These include General, UniCredit, ENEL, ENI, Benetton, Illy, Technogym, but the number of companies interested in taking part to the project keeps rising.”
by Corrado Poggi – ItalyEurope24