The Silicon Review
In the startup ecosystem, venture builder has been a rising movement. It is not only a new method to create a new venture company but also a platform for entrepreneurs to develop a culture or community to support the activities of local entrepreneurs. When compared to a typical startup incubator, venture-building platforms are different in terms of underlying philosophies and business models. Venture builders tend to facilitate capital access for startups during their development period. This is generally done through a fund owned by the venture platforms or by connecting other ventures to the existing network of investors. Venture builders generally have a governance role in their approach, or they can actively participate in the management of the companies.
Globally, there are various venture builders delivering excellent services, but FoolFarm S.p.A stands out from the rest. FoolFarm S.p.A is a Venture Builder, a platform for startups’ birth, growth, and development. The Venture Builder is an emerging startup model that replaces the traditional incubation and acceleration models worldwide: it’s based on a multidisciplinary strategic, technological and financial platform. You have to imagine Foolfarm as a laboratory continuously experimenting and shipping Ai, Blockchain & Cybersec products. Makers. Builders. Creators, working together, and having fun. The team at FoolFarm S.p.A are founders, investors, and serial entrepreneurs; they are passionate about open innovation, fanatic about lean startups, experts in AI, Blockchain and Cybersec technology, user experience, and digital marketing. The company’s approach is different from incubators and accelerators: it does not limit itself to supporting already formed startups, but it is the co-founder of all its initiatives.
In conversation with Andrea Cinelli, Founder and CEO of FoolFarm S.p.A
Q. Any company, big or small, must have the sense of authenticity and originality to succeed. What do you want to be, a leader or a follower?
We must be a leader, and we will be. We operate in three explosive markets with annual growth between 40% and 80%, such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Cybersec, which together will represent a market of over 3 Trillion $ in 2030. And at the same time, we have chosen to launch in Europe an innovative model of business creation that goes beyond the old ways of incubation and acceleration that have produced limited results and successes, at least here in Europe where the failure rates of new Startups are up to 90/95% in the first five years... We are anticipating the market because we expect that within 5/7, over 50% of successful Startups will come out of venture Building models like ours, which will become a market standard. New entrepreneurs will go to Studios like Foolfarm when they have to create a new Startup as in life, to build a piece of furniture, you go to a craftsman. The Startup is created to measure and through a partnership relationship, not a customer/supplier relationship that makes both parties share the entrepreneurial risk. What we have done in the last two years puts us today in the conditions of being the largest European in the sector, having under the same hat a unique innovation development ecosystem on the market and a development plan of +40 Startups and value creation that already today it is of great interest to major investors.
Q. The biggest challenge a startup may face is ‘adaptability’, how do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this high volatile market?
As we said, we operate in three explosive markets with annual growth between 40% and 80%, such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Cybersec. And in the next five years, we will build over 40 new Startups and 40 new products that will change the market and people’s everyday lives, such as authenticating, paying, and signing with the Voice (as proposed by our Startup Voiceme) or creating digital twins that manage our finances for us, or even more conversational systems as proposed by our Startup IIO, that do not require wake-up words and read our emotions. Here, changing the world and people’s habits by adapting to trends and anticipating them through the serial creation of Startups will allow us to become part of the life of people and companies and anticipate the natural cycles of birth, growth, and development of products on the market, always remaining on the crest of the wave.
Q. How do you deal with the “never ending change” in digital transformation with innovation?
Always being on the crest of the wave. We make strategic choices every year in relation to the areas in which we launch new Startups. For example, last year we focused our attention on the world of Voice and therefore on technologies such as Natural Language Processing & Understanding. We did it because we believe that the 3/5 year trend is an affirmation of the voice as a new human-machine interface. Today, for example, we were focusing on issues such as NFTs and data encryption technologies to be able to respond to customer security and authentication challenges in a world where we will be surrounded by billions of IOT devices and robots. We anticipate needs by choosing strategic development sectors where to operate and create realities that can become unicorns in the next 5/7.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
Yes, we have just launched IIO, a new European “Alexa” which, unlike Amazon and Google, is capable of recognizing the customer’s emotions and does not require any wake-up word to activate. It is an open and multi-channel voice as a service platform that will allow you to create voice-based conversational models for any platform. It also ensures maximum data security: no danger of being profiled by your conversations. With IIO the conversations are exclusively of the customer thanks to cutting-edge technologies, such as that of Data Pulverization, which ensure the self-sovereign ownership of their data by customers. We are also working a lot in the NFT field and we are also ready here to launch something revolutionary capable of changing the business models of a very important IT sector.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
We are anticipating the market because we expect that within 5/7, over 50% of successful Startups will come out of venture Building models like ours, which will become a market standard. New entrepreneurs will go to Studios like Foolfarm when they have to create a new Startup as in life, to build a piece of furniture, you go to a craftsman. The Startup is created to measure and through a partnership relationship, not a customer/supplier relationship that makes both parties share the entrepreneurial risk. What we have done in the last two years puts us today in the conditions of being the largest European in the sector, having under the same hat a unique innovation development ecosystem on the market and a development plan of +40 Startups and value creation that already today it is of great interest to major investors. Our industrial plan foresees to accelerate already this year through the creation of a “dual entity,” a sister company that will be like a sort of fund that will invest in our 5Y deal-flow and in Foolfarm, reducing the investment risk and being able to participate in the creation of one of the major European realities of innovation. We are preparing to expand in Europe and land on the stock exchanges to grow the entrepreneurial project beyond the European borders. Investors from all over the world are warned!
About the leader behind the success of FoolFarm S.p.A in his own words
Curiosity, commitment, vision and method - but above all, knowing how to dare by experimenting where it is often unknown without being afraid of making mistakes. My destiny has always been to invent new things: new products, new ideas, new business models, which have often become products or solutions used by millions of consumers, both in the companies where I have worked and in my startups. The Success Mantra is for me daring, daring, daring and never curbing curiosity without being afraid of making mistakes. My success has always been based on never being afraid of making mistakes and trying to see beyond and pursue my dreams with determination. What I recommend to everyone is not to be afraid of making mistakes to pursue your vision.