The 2014 edition of Working Capital is successfully continuing. It is an initiative by Telecom Italia aimed at creating new businesses by providing financial and managerial support to accompany them along their business development path. In fact, the 40 most innovative proposals were selected and awarded business grants worth 25,000 euros each, for a total of 1 million euros.
The new businesses will immediately join the acceleration program and will be included in the Albo Veloce (fast-track registration process) of Telecom Italia, the tool that puts the Working Capital startups on Telecom Italia's vendor list.
Over 1,600 aspiring entrepreneurs proposed more than 1,300 ideas in just over a month to participate in the program with which Telecom Italia supports the Italian ecosystem of digital entrepreneurship providing space and visibility to the best startups with Internet, digital and green projects, thus stimulating the development of an actual innovation Rainforest in Italy.
The incubation paths of Working Capital will be held in the four "accelerators" in Milan, Rome, Bologna and Catania, and will become a place of work and sharing for four months for the 40 young startuppers where they will have the opportunity to see their business idea grow also supported, in addition to the infrastructure available to them, by the precious tutorship of a team of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and innovators who will accompany them all the way.
The ideas chosen cover many areas: from a device for glasses by HORUS, which will allow the blind and visually impaired to perform their daily activities more easily, to the modular kit by R2P for the rapid prototyping and remote control of robots and mechatronic systems, both selected for the accelerator in Milan. The projects in Bologna include KOPJRA, which presents a software to monitor the unauthorized dissemination of digital works on the Internet, and DATANINJASCHOOL, a platform that promotes the participatory development of quality data journalism. At the accelerator in Rome, ideas will be developed, among others, by ARMNET, the app for tablets which allows viewing in augmented reality mode the subsurface network infrastructure to be viewed in augmented reality mode, and GAMEOTIC, the gaming platform that allows real vehicles to be driven in real places online and through multimedia devices. The accelerator in Catania will offer hospitality and support to an international team, the English of SPATIALIST, with their geo-referenced data analysis software that predicts the crime risk in a given period of time and space, and to GEOUNIQ, the location data management platform that allows users to set rules and authorizations and guarantees their privacy.
In addition, for the first time, 9 special mentions were awarded to as many teams that, given the particular degree of maturity of the business project submitted, do not require the acceleration path: they will however be guaranteed access to the Albo Veloce of Telecom Italia.
Finally, this year an ad hoc jury panel also selected, from all the projects, the winners of "Funkygrant". This is a very special grant also worth 25,000 euros - dedicated to the memory of Marco Zamperini by Working Capital. The special prize was awarded to Marioway, an innovative means of transport for people with disabilities that allows users to assume an upright posture and drive without having to use their hands. This team will also have access to the acceleration program at the accelerator in Milan together with the other 40 startups of Working Capital 2014.
Since 2009, Working Capital has collected more than 7,000 projects, supported 220 startups and awarded 150 business grants, providing an important contribution to the entire value chain of the digital economy and contributing to the development of an Italian "Rainforest", an innovation ecosystem.
The 2014 edition of Working Capital also targeted international teams for the first time and, compared to previous editions, it has been enriched by two important innovations. The first is TIM Ventures, the new company of the Telecom Italia Group which will make "seed investments" of 4.5 million euros in innovative startups over the next 3 years and at the same time seeks to encourage the participation of other national and International investors for another 4.5 million euros. The second is the new crowdfunding platform (reward and equity based), developed in collaboration with Starteed, one of the WCAP 2013 startups, where ideas, projects and companies will receive funding from the web community.
Rome, 11 July 2014