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Campania climbing the ladder of top regions for innovative start-ups

by Vitaliano D’Angerio

Something is changing in the world of Italian innovative start-ups. According to a report by the Ministry for Economic Development, Unioncamere and Infocamere, in the third quarter of 2016, Campania has made the top five list of Italian regions with the largest number of innovative new companies: 404, 6.35% of the national total.

Campania got ahead of Piedmont (402 innovative start-ups), which is one of the highest-performing territories in the field of Italian innovation thanks to the presence of certified incubators and the Turin Polytechnic. Lombardy ranks first with 1,382 innovative start-ups, followed by Emilia-Romagna (782), Lazio (625), Veneto (492) and, as mentioned, Campania. At the end of September, overall innovative start-ups listed in the corresponding section of the Register of Enterprises totaled 6,363: 420 more than at the end of June.

Cities, partners and young people
Of all Italian provinces, Naples ranks fifth in number of innovative start-ups (202): Milan ranks first (935), followed by Rome (539), Turin (299) and Bologna (203).
On a national level, at the end of September, there were 6,217 new innovative start-ups with at least one partner, and the total number of partners was 25,622. The report also shows that prevalently ‘young’ start-ups (whose principals are no more than 35 years of age) “amount to 1,425, 22.4% of the total, a percentage that is over three times that found among established corporations (6.85%).”

Incubators and aperitifs
“We are not a veritable incubator. Nastartup is an accelerator of Neapolitan start-ups,” points out Antonio Prigiobbo, designer and founder of Nastartup. “Our objective is liaising four start-ups a month with potential financiers. We have already organized 27 events in Naples, launching 108 new enterprises.”
Their web site, Nastartup.it, lists all of the start-ups they have presented over the past two and a half years.

The latest foursome, launched on October 19, consists of: Tripogy, which proposes a mobile app to create customized travel itineraries based on the user’s preferences; ArtRooms, marketplace for the marketing and promotion of select and certified artists through the sales and rental of works of art; Puffmap, a center for sharing music, designed for record companies and young musicians or performers looking to emerge; and Cherrasa, a marketplace and social platform where users can get all kinds of useful information on the fruit and vegetables sold. Nastartup sets up meetings in a wide range of venues, on business days, after work; so much so they often take place in front of an aperitif glass. “There are at least 200 potential backers each time – adds Prigiobbo –, some of them from Lombardy, the Piedmont and Tuscany.”

Digital Magics Naples
Campania also houses one of the branches of Digital Magics, one of Italy’s major incubators, listed on the MSE. Gennaro Tesone founded the Campania chapter in 2012: Digital Magics Napoli, incubator for southern Italy based in Salerno, featuring several well known and award-winning start-ups like Buzzoole, the first Italian IEO (Influence Engine Optimization) platform, enabling both SMEs and major Italian and international corporations to identify quality influencers in the respective markets and generate a buzz on their products and services.

Apple and the academy
Apple’s arrival in Naples with a training center for programmers is well known. In order to create such a structure, there was strong collaboration with Cupertino from the Federico II University of Naples. Today, a great number of corporations have apparently already ‘reserved’ the iOS developers that will come out of the Neapolitan Apple center.
With the arrival of the big American multinationals, the academy of Campania has been able to take a further step towards innovation. The universities of Salerno and Benevento had already been showing interest in the world of start-ups; today, however, thanks to these developments, the interest has grown.