This Is Where Innovations Change Industries: Turin

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Located in north western Italy, Turin has developed a thriving startup scene in the last few years. Read our guide to make sure you'll get all the insights!

One hour away from the Olympic mountain, one hour away from the Italian Riviera. At the center of a new industrial revolution. Come and join us in Turin!

There’s a startup community growing up here that brings together the digital innovation and the industrial productive fabric. The result is a network of professionals, bright students, SMEs and new entrepreneurs, fighting together against the economic and occupational crisis with the weapon of innovation.

Turin is the center of the Piemonte Region, home to almost 300 innovative startups and 3 incubators, certified by the new Italian Startup Policy. In recent years the Italian government has set up some initiatives oriented towards startups and entrepreneurs. In particular, the Italian government developed the Italian Startup Visa, a policy to attract innovative entrepreneurs from all over the world who are interested in developing their business in the cultural, digital, designing or manufacturing sectors.

Italy is the 5th manufacturing country in the world. As suggested by the Italian Startup Visa: “if your business has to do with manufacturing, you will be able to rely on a wide, flexible and highly-developed network of SMEs, able to act as high-quality and low-cost suppliers in countless sectors. available at competitive costs.” And Turin with its strong industrial tradition is one of the best choices in Italy for startups in this sector. Turin is not as big as Rome or Milano, of course. But living expenses and workforces are cheaper here and thus the quality of life is better.

In The Piedmont Region

We won’t welcome you with hugs and kisses, but with a cup of Italian coffee and a business meeting. We won’t organize a party for your departing, but you will leave with the work done. Turin is not the place where people chat about innovation, it’s the place where innovation happens. It’s not always easy, because Italy is still rife with bureaucracy. But many things have changed over the last few years, also thanks to the Italian startup law.

Advantages Of Starting A Startup In Turin:

  • Turin is home to one of the main Italian startup ecosystems with the oldest and biggest Italian University Incubator, I3P;
  • more than 4.000 new graduates per year, 1.300 of whom are engineers;
  • more than 140.000 companies in several sectors including automotive, design, robotics, information and communication technology, aerospace, agriculture and food processing, textiles, tourism, cinema, multimedia, and emerging clusters such as bio and nano-technologies, intelligent transportation system and renewable energy. This industrial productive fabric has made it cheaper and easier for startup to find suppliers.
  • investment in R&D: Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region, in the heart of north west Italy. Piemonte is the top Italian region for private investment in Research and Development (source: Invest in Piemonte)
  • cheap cost of living: the cost of living in Turin is 48% cheaper than in San Francisco, California. (Check the cost of living index website). There are also social housing opportunities such as sharing.to and Luoghicomuni.
  • cheap cost of working with a flexible labour law: “the Italian government’s startup policy has introduced a flexible labour law with 6 to 36-month temporary contracts applicable for the whole startup’s life cycle (up to 4 years). Moreover, startups have the chance to introduce performance-related pay and remunerate workers and external consultants with stock options and work for equity respectively, with a privileged tax treatment for stock options. Finally, there’s a 35% tax credit for hiring highly-qualified personnel with open-ended contracts. When you hire a developer costing 50,000 euro a year the Government will pay 17,500 for the first year (source: Italia Startup Visa)”.
  • many tourist destinations within reach: Turin is a 1 hour drive away from the mountain (the Olympic Mountain), 1,5 hours from the sea (Italian Riviera) and 1 hour from the countryside (Langhe and Monferrato), where startuppers can spend their free days enjoying the beauty and the taste of Italy.
  • Turin is also well-connected with some main European cities: It is only a 1,5 hour flight to London, Berlin, Monaco, Paris or Rome.

Turin and the other startup cities by Cinzia Bongino

 What Startup Founders Have To Consider:

  • The Italian bureaucracy: we are quite good at complexifying things, we have to admit that. Incorporating a company, creating a contest, adjusting the privacy policy for a startup, takes more time in Italy than in other countries. However, even if we are in a bad place in the ease of doing business we have the same ease of Starting a Business as in the US (source: Doingbusiness). Until a few months ago it cost around €10,000 to get a limited liability company compared to $100 in the US. However, this is changing. In fact, “the Italian legislation has made some progress in streamlining bureaucracy in the process of building a startup” (source: China.org.cn)
  • High taxes in Italy: 22% of VAT
  • Language: lots of Italian people don’t speak English very well. But we are willing to learn!
  • Turin’s difficult market: people say that Turin is the hardest city in Italy to sell a product. But if you are successful here, you will succeed anywhere!

As already mentioned, there are some advantages such as low living costs and simplified hiring processes. Thanks to the excellence of the Politecnico of Turin and the attractiveness of the city’s lifestyle, qualified personnel is abundant here.

Turin’s Lively Community Is Awaiting You

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Once upon a time (read: 4-5 years ago) there were only developer groups here. They were the main grassroots innovation communities in Turin. After that came the startup communities along with the maker and designer groups. And now, with those communities being old enough, they are ready to mingle and create a multidisciplinary net of innovators.

Find Info About Upcoming Events, Meetups & Other Occasions:

Regular Events & Meetups:

  • TreataBit events: events targeting digital entrepreneurs and professionals: everyone working in the field of software, design, communication. TreataBit organizes different formats from networking events to hackathons. Many of them are held in Italian. But there will always be somebody willing to translate and introduce you to the community.
  • TEDxCrocetta: TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Live speakers and TEDTalks videos combine to spark deep discussion and connection among the participants.
  • Enzima events: a bi-monthly meeting with a focus on creativity and innovation.
  • OGGI events: a series of events where teaching excellence and entrepreneurial experience come together to create the acceleration of knowledge.
  • GDG Turin meetups: a point of encounter for technology, web and social media enthusiasts. The aim is to create a community where people are free to share their ideas, their knowledge and experiences. One should not necessarily talk about Google technologies, although it is a good place to start.
  • Quantified self Turin: The Turin Quantified Self meetup is modeled on the Bay Area Quantified Self meetings. They are trying to set up regular show & tells for people who like to use various personal self-tracking tools and methods to gain more knowledge and awareness about themselves, others and the world around them.
  • Pioneers Turin: The Italian edition of one of the most important international conferences created to bring together innovators and to create connections between the world of new technologies, startups, business angels, businesses and investors.

Yearly Or Major Events, Festivals, Conferences:

  • Turin Startup Weekend: where Turin’s startup enthusiasts come to build skills, meet incredible people, and launch successful startups.
  • Droidcon: high-class talks covering different aspects of the ecosystem, including core development, embedded solutions, augmented reality, business solutions and games.
  • SMAU: Turin exhibition of Made-in-Italy innovation including startups, innovative SMEs, research centres and Italian Regions Governments.
  • Italianventureforum: one of the most important competitions in Europe for high-tech companies operating in ICT, Life Sciences, Clean Technologies and any other technology sectors. Organized by the Belgian Europe Unlimited and sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Turin and Unioncamere Piemonte.
  • Viewconference: VIEW Conference is the first international event in Italy on Computer Graphics, Interactive Techniques, Digital Cinema, 2D/3D Animation, Gaming and VFX.
  • GammaDonna: female entrepreneurship conference.

Be Even More Producitve In Turin

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In Turin we appreciate loneliness and quietness. But we also understand the strong value of working together and sharing experiences. That explains the success of our historical coworking space, Toolbox, and a new network of small coworking spaces where you can go to mingle with people or participate in events.

Co-working Spaces In Turin:

  • Toolbox, one of the biggest and oldest coworking space in Turin. Near the Porta Nuova rail station. It host the Fablab Turin.
  • Talent Garden Turin: part of a network of European coworking spaces. Near the Porta Susa rail station.
  • Spazio19: in the center of the Vanchiglia district, a neighborhood full of design studios, near the city center.
  • Lombroso16: in the center of the San Salvario district, a neighborhood where you can taste the Turin nightlife.
  • Insidelab: a workspace that aims to distribute rental costs and find a new approach to the working reality, based on coworking, commitment, fun and honesty.

Budget Boosting Options In Turin

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Getting funded has always been quite a big problem in Italy. There are few funds, they are difficult to reach, and they require a long due diligence process. But something has been changing since 2012. First of all, the new Italian government’s startup policy has introduced incentives for investors. Second, the development of new Italian funds is creating a faster process for financing startups. This process is based on a network of incubators and accelerators that helps entrepreneurs develop their business. Instead of having to scout the startups in the different Italian Regions, the funds now rely on the local incubator/accelerator that suggest the startups that need funding. This new generation of funds has helped the growth a new generation of startups that are now ready to be funded by VC firms.

Incubators:

  • I3P: founded in 1999, the Innovative Enterprise Incubator of the Politecnico of Turin is the main university based incubator and one of the best at European level. It provides open spaces or offices and professional consulting services to start your business, as well as a network of entrepreneurs, managers and investors. It is focused on (but not limited to) the industrial and digital sectors. In 2011 it launched TreataBit in order to support digital startups such as portals, e-commerce, social networking sites, web and mobile applications. Has partnerships with Italian funds such as CII2, P101, Club Digitale, Siamosoci, IAG.
  • 2I3T: the incubator of the University of Turin. Provides office and consulting services to start your own business as well as a networking and mentoring opportunities. Focused mainly on the biomedical sector.
  • MIP: a support service for non-innovative startups (new businesses that are not necessarily innovative and scalable but that have good business opportunities) or freelance work.
  • Hangar Piemonte: targets startups and professionals in the tourism and cultural fields.

Accelerators:

  • Breed Reply is an advanced incubator for startups delivering Internet of Things solutions responding to the real needs of people and companies. They are based in the UK with offices in different European cities.
  • iStarter business accelerator founded in Turin, it is currently based in London but does invest in Italian startups.
  • Rinascimenti sociali: accelerator for social innovation projects.

Grants & Subventions:

  • StartCup Piemonte Valle D’Aosta: a regional business plan competition organized by the main incubators in the Piemonte region and Aosta Valley.
  • Turin Social Innovation: a public program that supports new young enterprises that address social needs in different fields (as education, employment, mobility, health, inclusion), and wish to create a blended value for the society, both social and economic.

Crowd Investing Platforms:

  • SiamoSoci: a platform dedicated to startups. It aims to facilitate the contribution of resources towards innovative entrepreneurship. SiamoSoci shortens the gap between business, innovation, research and finance.
  • Starteed: the social crowdfunding where you can realize your idea with the support of a passionate community.
  • Eppela: one of the first Italian reward-based crowdfunding platforms.
  • Starsup: the number one Italian portal authorized by Consob for the online collection of risk capital by innovative startups. At the moment, this model only applies to innovative startups of a technological or social kind.

Angel Investors:

  • Club degli investitori: a group of entrepreneurs, professionals and managers who invests in new and recent companies with innovative content and a high potential. The club is not a financial institution or an investment fund: the members invest their patrimony in every single project, acquiring shares in the company.
  • Italian Angels for Growth: IAG members invest in startups which are characterized by high growth potential, proprietary innovation, sustainable competitive advantage, and managed by full-time committed entrepreneurs.
  • Italian Business Angel Network: a network of Italian business angels.

Venture Capital Investors:

  • CII2: accelerator enhancer. Simplified access to risk capital for Italian startups. It offers pre-seed capital in conjunction with the major Italian incubators and accelerators. The startups are selected by incubators/accelerators with which they signed a memorandum of understanding. Since the selection and the mentorship is made by the incubator/accelerator, the investment process of CII2 is really quick and it can be finalized in less than one month, often in just one week.
  • Club digitale: aims to contribute to the growth of digital in Italy, providing the necessary capital for the best startup territory to develop their business. Club Digital acquires a holding in the selection of startups who are completing a process accelerated by the incubators (such as I3P in Turin) of enterprise project partners.
  • P101: a VC firm focused on early-stage investments in the digital sector.
  • Innogest: VC that does Seed, Early Stage Venture, and Later Stage Venture Investments.
  • 360capitalpartners: Venture Capital firm, investing in innovation at full scale, in Early Stage startups in Europe, with a focus on France and Italy.
  • Principia: VC firm with over €80M under management. Actually Principia has two funds investing in digital startups and expansion capital opportunities. In particular cases, they also invest in seed opportunities.
  • United Venture: a stage agnostic VC firm focused on Consumer Internet, Software and Mobile.

Science/Tech Parks & Research Centers:

  • Environment Park: innovation accelerator for businesses looking to use eco-efficient solutions to expand their markets.
  • ISMB: research and innovation centre operating in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) domain.
  • Microsoft Innovation Center: established technical partnerships with industrial players willing to innovate leveraging on Microsoft platforms. Offers high skilled experts in designing and developing software applications and services with the most advanced Microsoft technologies.
  • SITI: a non-profit association, the Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation aims to produce research and training orientated towards innovation and socio-economic growth.

Ask For Help In Turin

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You’ve got a business idea but no idea where to start? Go to a business incubator targeting the sector that you are interested in, whether that’s industrial, digital, biomedical, or cultural; even if you want to be a freelancer or an entrepreneur without creating an innovative startup there is a place for you. Have a look at their website and at their portfolio in order to understand how much expertise they have in your field. Then make an appointment with the business consultant and talk to other startup teams. That’s the best way to understand how to proceed. They will help you in developing your business model, in teambuilding and in fundraising. Most of them can help you access private and public capital thanks to their network of investors. When you are ready to create your company, you have to register with the Chamber of Commerce (here you can find the Company Compliance Operation). And if you need more informal advice just write a line in one of the FB groups or register for one of the many events. There will always be someone willing there to help you.

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Last updated: July 29th, 2016

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