The most large Italian delegation in Silicon Valley landed at 710 Sansome Street, San Francisco. Here is a place for Italian innovation that is unique in the world. We are between the Financial District and the Little Italy neighborhood. Is called Innovit is a pilot project, a meeting between public and private, the first in the history of our country. It's about a house for Made in Italy innovationalso desired by President Sergio Mattarella, after his trip to California in 2019. The first edition of Smau San Francisco: 154 people, including 44 startups, investors, companies such as Enel, Eni, Edison, Intesa San Paolo, FS, and five regions came to meet, grow and demonstrate to the world that there is a lot of innovation in Italy.
44 innovative companies they had the opportunity to pitch in front of an international community of investors and companies. Stories of generative artificial intelligencestartups for the environment and sustainability, platforms of traceability. Molecular devices who analyze the ownership and origin of food products, augmented reality glasses which allow two technicians, one in the field and one remote, to collaborate with each other, digital passports for bicycles. It's still: robot walking on the rails of the Morandi bridge to clean the windows. Or to inspect, through a huge carbon fiber arm, anomalies, cracks, rust.
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In addition to startups, companies, institutions, investors, there were enablers. The activators. Scientists, entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers. Italians who live between San Francisco and San José and know how the world works in those parts. Ready to give back. And to put that beautiful into practice Pay it forwardwhat does it mean helping others, even potential competitors to solve a problem. They have sparkling eyes and optimism. There was Irina Pesteranfrom Turin in California, today manager at Lift. Andrea VaccaroWaymo's head of security. Christina Dalle Ore, scientist who is studying how to defeat hunger in the world. There was Silvia Veronesefounded a biotech and SVIEC, an association that brings together the Bay Area community. Mark Fourth, the scientist who is studying longevity. Paul Privitera, the "pontiff", the man who builds bridges between people.
"This Italy made up of large companies, startups and institutions has arrived here together to get together around the same table and win a challenge. There is no longer a local market, but a global market made up of relationships. One to one" he says Pier Antonio Macola, President of Smau. The goal: to put different pieces together and see what happens. And in these 1,200 square meters, two floors, inside red bricks, outside a large Italian flag, beautiful things happen.
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"It happens that impossible things become reality - he explains Albert Acito, director of Innovit, a past as a manager in California. "We have been waiting for a place like this for years, which has become a symbol of persistence. And it is releasing so much energy. We have achieved 50 events in a few months. We aim to carry out 4 acceleration programs for Italian startups every year, which we invite to very tough work sessions, thanks to the help of mentors and the many Italians who live here"
There are about 15,000 Italians living in California. The first real immigration started around the 1970s. In the 1972, Enzo Torresi establishes the Advanced Technology Center of theOlivetti, an innovation center that will immediately attract many Italian engineers. In those years a very young man also arrives Federico Fagginthe father of the microchip, who told us in an interview: "I chose to live in California where it's easier to be told 'yes'. Where you can try, try again and fail without fear".
Innovit is such a place, designed to promote the growth of the most innovative sectors of our economy.
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"It is a new concept of Italian institutional presence abroad, it is a strategic place for the growth of our economy and of the most innovative sectors. We want to favor dual companies: companies that exploit what is good in Silicon Valley and bring it to Italy" explains the consul general of Italy in San Francisco Sergio Strozzi. The center is managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with ICE and the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco. The management is private. The Giacomo Brodolini Foundation and Entopan Innovation, accelerator of the Harmonic Innovation Group, won it with a tender.
"There are not only embassies, consulates, ICE, cultural institutes, this is one more place: here we bring delegations from all over the world. New leads start from here. If the project works, we will take it to Singapore, Tel Aviv... " explains Alessandra Rainaldi, director of the ICE office in Los Angeles. After the day, Smau accompanies the delegation to the great accelerators of Silicon Valley, where startups learn the importance of team, traction, vision. "I bring home the Silicon Valley mindset, understood as a general focus on creating value, building something useful for everyone, changing the world for the better. And the invitation not to forget that 'Problems first' which should be the basis of every startups" he comments David La Spinafounder of Flowtech, among the participants of the mission.