ChinaEU scouts Italian startups in China

In the morning of November 15th, ChinaEU guided seven promising Italian startups into the Beijing 898 Innospace to meet a group of Chinese venture capitalists. ChinaEU arranged this meeting in the framework of the startup roadshow that forms part of the Italy-China Science, Technology and Innovation Week – the regular rendezvous of the very top Chinese and Italian scientific and technological operators. The startup roadshow is held with the support of Campania New Steel, the most important incubator in the South of Italy, and Italia Startup, the Italian association of over 2,000 startups, accelerators, incubators and investors.

The event was hosted by Y-Intelligence, a long-dated partner of ChinaEU. Y-Intelligence is a globally-oriented yet China-based community of innovators, as well as the organizer of the annual Global Innovator Conference. 898 InnoSpace is a brand-new innovation space that re-adapted an old factory into an innovative tech hub combining incubation and acceleration functions and boasting ties with China’s leading academic institution, Peking University.

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The premises of Y-Intelligence Community at Beijing 898 InnoSpace

Claudia Vernotti, Director of ChinaEU, opened the meeting with the Chinese venture capitalists. She reminded the mission of ChinaEU: to intensify joint research, business cooperation and mutual investments in Internet, Telecom and Hi-tech between China and Europe. In this framework, ChinaEU works with its Chinese partners to support European innovative projects to soft land in China.

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Claudia Vernotti, Director of ChinaEU opening the event

The Chinese market has become the focus of attention from all over the world. Likewise, Chinese investors have growing interest in expanding their investments to overseas markets. Mariangela Contursi, General Manager of Campania NewSteel, talked about the Italian investment environment. She explained that regional governments have in place different kinds of policies including tax reductions and immigration visas to encourage Chinese investors in the country, and that a similar open attitude is shown by Italian companies.

In September last year, Carlo Calenda, Italian Minister of Economic Development, announced the country’s “Industry 4.0” plan, which would total investments of EURO 13 bn. The plan proposes that in 2017 the government will promote private investments through a series of preferential treatments such as tax rebates on research and development expenditures.

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Campania NewSteel General Manager Mariangela Contursi
adresses the investor community of Y-Intelligence

Along with Italy‘s “Industry 4.0” plan, the Italian entrepreneurial and manufacturing industries also ushered in a long-term development plan. At the event, Federico Barilli, Secretary General of Italia Startup, said: ‘Today, many investors are interested in the United States, Germany and other key markets. However, Italy has a lot of opportunities as well. China’s manufacturing industry is leading the world, but not many people know that Italy is the third top manufacturing country in Europe. The capital environment of China and Italy has enjoyed a good momentum of development. Now is a good time to invest in Italy.’

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Federico Barilli, Secretary General of Italia Startup talks to Y-Intelligence Community

During the event, seven startups came along with their innovative projects, varying from human-machine interaction, medical care, environmental sustainability to space science and technology. Just as many investors gathered to listen to their pitches.

The first of these startups, Next2U spoke about understanding emotions through technology.

Next2U is an independent spin-off company. It develops innovative solutions for human-computer interaction based on a non-invasive and contactless assessment of the user’s psychology and physiology. In this way, the machine can react to and interact with the user’s actual state, and can perform effective human-computer interaction. Next2U has developed automotive industry products that detect actual driver emotions or psychophysiological impairments to increase driving safety and to design a vehicle that dynamically adapts to actual driving conditions.

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 Arcangelo Merla, President of Next2U

The second was SerVE, speaking about intelligent vineyards.

Serve has developed artificial intelligence algorithms for agricultural, environmental and medical applications. The company’s team includes physicists, engineers and doctors. The company developed an artificial intelligence algorithm used to monitor vineyards in order to optimize grape production quality. Sensors installed on plantations can detect the physical and chemical properties of soils and understand the complex interdependencies between environmental variables to predict the occurrence of grape diseases.

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Piero Chiacchiaretta, CEO of SerVe

The next was Pedius, who spoke about bringing “sound” to deaf mute patients.

Pedius has developed an application that combines speech recognition and speech synthesis to help deaf and hearing-impaired patients make calls. The user texts the information, and the text is converted to human speech through artificial voice technology on the other side of the phone. Currently, the service is available in Italy, France, Spain, the United States and Brazil.

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Alessandra Capriglia, China Operations Manager of Pedius

Number four, Fastissues, who spoke about composite materials and artificial skeleton reconstruction.

Founded in 2014, Fastissues specializes in the design and manufacture of custom synthetic and natural tissue substitutes, and composite biomaterials. The main business covers three important areas: orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery and maxillofacial surgery. Fastissues plays a central role in the treatment of skeletal degenerative diseases and regenerative stents.

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Alfredo Ronca & Ugo D’Amora, Co-Founders of Fastissues

GreenDecision spoke next about their optimal environmental sustainability program.

GreenDecision provides consulting services in the areas of sustainability, risk and resilience. Through the development and improvement of decision-making methods and management systems, it helps to evaluate and optimize the organizational decision-making process in complex environments and sustainable development issues.

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Marco Pesce, Science and Technology Advisor of GreenDecision

Number six, D-Orbit, spoke about their excellent space “cleaners”.

D-Orbit, a small satellite manufacturer and operator, is the first operator in the satellite and transmitter retirement systems market. Company-specific commissioning and decommissioning technologies can be integrated into satellites and launch pads to simplify the initial and final phases of a mission, reducing operational complexity and cost, and extending service life. The company has separate agencies in Italy, Portugal and the United States.

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Jacopo Bettinelli, China Operations Manager of D-Orbit

The last was Narrando; speaking on “grain” nano-innovation.

Narrando is a company specializing in nanomaterials and nanotechnology. The company’s products are used in the fields of energy storage, grease and liquid lubricants, nanocomposites, nanosensors and nanocatalysts, and are used in the synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, graphene, metal sulfides and chalcogenides.

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Paolo Ciambelli, Chief Executive Officer of Narrando

Once completed their pitches, the seven companies answered the questions by the investors. The conclusive remarks were left to the guest of the day, Mr. Zhang Peng, Chief Strategy Officer of URwork, one of the hottest startups in China’s tech scene, backed by the likes of Sequoia Capital and ZhenFund, and today one of the country’s leading providers of innovative co-working spaces for startup entrepreneurs. He recalled the Italian startups that the most difficult thing to succeed in China is to keep abreast with the innovation pace and be informed of the changes and possible competition happening in one’s field of operation.

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Zhang Peng, Chief Strategy Officer of URwork

Eariler this year, ChinaEU and Y-Intelligence promoted a roadshow for selected startups of Startup Lisboa, in Lisbon. In the future, Y-Pitch aims to serve more innovative resources and establish a platform for communication and exchange of innovative projects in China and other countries in the world. The ambition is to attract more and more high-quality projects and build GIC into a well-known cross-sector international exchange brand. In the future, ChinaEU aims at increasing its network and working with even more partners to enlarge the scope and increase the quality of its actions.

The text is an adaptation from the original press release (in Chinese) of Y-Intelligence, which can be found at the following link: http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/UCROWCP25j18_dD5WFxJ5A