Slot 4

Funding Innovative Startup in Technology and Science
Massimo Vanzi, Italian Angels for Growth


World statistical data on successful innovative startups show that the vast majority of them are founded and developed by entrepreneurs who consolidate and productize ideas coming out of various technical and scientific disciplines and research and development (R&D) centres. However, the technical originator team rarely drives the initiative forward, and good product ideas are often left behind and die due to a lack of ‘real entrepreneurs’.

The mission of this short course is to augment ‘entrepreneurial thinking’ within the technical and scientific community, setting out the typical mistakes that research teams make when looking for funding for their startup idea and the DOs and DON’Ts they have to carefully follow in order to maximize the probability of raising enough interest from potential equity investors in innovative startups, namely business angels (BA) and venture capital (VC) funds

One classic mistake, as an example, is to think that technology sells by itself and that technology ideas will be liked by definition.

In this case, one of my recommendation will be that the technological team will need to convince their investor audience, that they are not too technology driven and are conscious of the fact that there is a long way from edge technology to the market. Many very successful products that make investors rich are full of obsolete technology, while research centres are often full of unique technological assets never brought to market.

This course will bring the real-world opinion and experience of a person who has invested in about 15 startups and is respnsible, within the largest BA network in Italy, for selecting investment opportunities to present to the general audience.

In the last lesson of my short course, participants will be able to give an elevator pitch. This will be a simulation of a practical case where the startupper will face an investor audience and our questions and comments will aim to help the team to avoid mistakes and maximize the pitch quality.


Massimo Vanzi is a highly experienced manager and entrepreneur with 40 years’ experience in the semiconductor and ICT industries. After earning his Dr. Eng. degree in electronics in 1976 from the University of Genoa (Italy) and his Master’s of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1979 from Stanford University, Massimo worked with Signetics, Innovative Silicon Technology and STMicroelectronics. In 1993 Massimo founded Accent. As Accent CEO Massimo transformed a small startup of five engineers into the leading IC design and fabless ASIC company in Europe and one of top 5 in the world. In 2008 Massimo exited Accent and started working as advisor to SMEs and innovative technology startup. Since then he has become a shareholder and co-founder of more than 13 technology startups in Sophia Antipolis, Lausanne, Milano, Bologna, Padova, Udine, Genova, Cosenza and Torino; he is senior advisor / mentor of more than 10 high-tech startups and SMEs; senior member and member of the Screening Committee of Italian Angels for Growth (IAG), the primary Italian business angel network, and voluntary mentor for several innovative startup incubators. He participates as a jury member in many startup contests and as an invited lecturer to several university courses on startup entrepreneurial model. He has been advisor to Genoa University on startup and to EPFL, Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne, and Bologna University on Technology Transfer. He is member of the Scientific Committee of ISICT in Genoa and has been member of the Scientific Committee of the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnologies (CSEM) of Neuchatel. Currently Massimo participates as contract professor to the ‘Innovation Management’ course of MIBE (Master in International Business and Entrepreneurship) and to the Master in ‘Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ at Pavia University.

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