Azzurro Digitale: When Digitalisation Fuels Company Success

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Jacopo Pertile, co-founder of Azzurro Digitale, explains why he chose the startup over corporate life, how his company is taking over consulting & why mentorship is important especially for young companies:

A couple of months ago, while reading a local news feed, I was impressed by the success obtained by this brand new consulting company: Azzurro Digitale. Subjects like industry 4.0, digitalisation and company growth are normally the domain of well established consulting firms. How a relatively small team from Padoa dealt with a large MNC? How to make an impact with more and more demanding companies? I spoke to Jacopo Pertile, one of the founder, to find out how this company managed:

Describe Azzurro Digitale in 50 or less words.

Azzurro Digitale is a stragetical digital consulting company, it helps corporates to innovate their businesses and to be at the forefront of innovation. It operates at the intersection of business and technology, which is transforming every organization. Therefore, clients need new strategies to take advantage of opportunities. Azzurro Digitale drives values, shapes new businesses and designs operating models for the future.

Why did you decide to create your own consulting company instead of joining existing big players?

Actually I started my career working in Milan, at the headquarters of one of the most famous strategical consulting company, Arthur D. Little. This was a very important experience for my professional and human growth because there I had the opportunity to learn work methodologies, how to cope with a big amount of working hours (the average was about 80h per week), and to work in several industries. I think that the most important value that this experience gave me was an open mindset and an analytical approach to solve different problems that need different solutions. So, before starting my entrepreneurial experience I spent two years in the consulting world, and only after this I decided to build my own startup.

At we really like and value entrepreneurial diversity. Can you describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it?

I start my working day at 7:15 a.m. I usually read the news and then I go to the office. The best moment to work is until 9:30 a.m. because I do not receive any emails or calls, so I am more productive and I focus on the goals of the day. From 9:30 I work on different projects, I meet clients, I attend different events and PR activities. At 6:00 p.m. I start the operative activities once again.

Every Monday morning we organize a weekly scrum session in order to have a general overview of Azzurro Digitale’s projects.

In 7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

We have already started making a difference. We are working with one of the most important white goods companies in the world and we are going to change the platform concept implementing Factory 4.0.

In collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University, we are launching a new project to reduce the gap among universities, young talents, corporates and startups. We launched the Innovation Boot Camp, a six weeks long experience where young talents learn about the design thinking methodology, the business model canvas, the lean startup approach and the narrow science for management. The interesting fact is that after the first week, in which they achieve this technical knowledge, they put it into practice during the following five weeks, accelerating real corporate projects. In the end, talents get a disruptive experience and they learn things that universities are not teaching them. Companies develop these new innovative ideas based on the open innovation approach and they have the opportunity to meet potential employees.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

We started our activites bootstraping. It was an easy decision because we were born as a consulting company and we didn’t invest a big amount of money. We immediately generated revenue to finance our business and during our first year we developed several kinds of software and now we are looking for investors that can launch our products on the market.

What do you look for in team members?

We call our team members “Azzurrini”. All of them have a common mindset: they are T-shaped people. The vertical bar represents the skills and expertise in a single field, while the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas.

In our team we can count on developers, consultants, psychologists, designers. We are a very inter-disciplinary team and that is what makes us so efficient and open-minded.

Why would a talent join your team?

At the moment we are not looking for new collaborators, but I think that a talent may want to join Azzurro Digitale for three main reasons.:

  1. The first one is “freedom”: everybody is evaluated according to his/her performance and not for the hours spent at the office. We do not have any holidays, because all the team can manage their work and free time on their own with regard to the requirements of each project.
  2. The second point is “variety”. Every day is different: we work with really different corporates and we manage different projects. In this way we have the opportunity to know different businesses and to find different solutions for different problems. Boredom doesn’t exist here. On the other hand, every day is a different challenge so you are strictly required to have common sense and use your brain. Each year spent at Azzurro Digitale corresponds to one year spent at a structured company.
  3. The third reason is continuous training. We invest 10% of our annual revenue in our collaborators’ training, so at Azzurro Digitale you never stop learning.

What was your most memorable moment so far? Can you describe your most recent achievements?

There have been so many special moments. The funniest one was when we received an email from a multinational corporate in the white goods industry and we thought that it was spam, so we deleted it. The day after, we received a notification on LinkedIn and we discovered that the plant manager, who had sent the email to us, visited our profile. We immediately recovered the email and sent them a reply. In this way, we were able to arrange a meeting with him. Today, this company is our most important client.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

I suggest that they find a great mentor who may help them to avoid making mistakes during the initial phase of their startup life. While I was working at Arthur D. Little I had the opportunity to collaborate with a highly skilled team, with great managers both from a human and a professional point of view.

In Azzurro Digitale, instead, I feel this lack of mentorship and I am looking for a senior advisor who can help us scaling quickly, holding our course at the same time.

Are you thinking about switching to consulting? Do you have an amazing idea to transform in a business opportunity? I think Jacopo has just given you very helpful hints. That said, if you want to discover more about his business ventures, don’t hesitate to contact me.



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