These 15 startups were chosen from amongst 1.200 submissions, and were each awarded an enterprise grant of 25,000 Euros. They spent July studying at the centres in Rome, Catania and Milan, and now, following the summer break, it’s time for them to return to work at Working Capital.
Working Capital in Rome will be welcoming Bancha, Edo, Pathflow, VMSme! and Pedius, a telephone service for the hearing impaired. «It’s a platform which transforms text into voice and voice into text», explains Lorenzo di Ciaccio, CEO of Pedius. «You download the app, enter the telephone number, and then a voice recognition system changes the voice into text up on the screen». At the moment, Pedius is a «beta app, downloadable from the site on request», but Lorenzo and the others are aiming to «consolidate the system and make it a public service» in the autumn.
We move from Rome to Milan, where the youngsters at Welco, the smartphone-operated intercom system, are also keen to get back to work. This accelerated startup is based at Working Capital Milan, together with Starteed, Dropin, ViciniDiCasa, CityGlance, and the newly-arrived GoalShouter.
«Welco is a project designed to replace the traditional intercom with a device which can connect to your smartphone or tablet, enabling you to answer the intercom wherever you are», explains Leo Sculli, CEO of this five-person team, «in addition to responding to it, you can also open the door». You just take down your old intercom and set up this new device, connectable to your home Wi-Fi system. Sculli explains: «We’re involved in the business accelerator scheme at Working Capital Milan. Over the next few months, we aim to develop our business plan and go ahead with research and development. We’d like to enter the market at the beginning of 2014». He reflects on the initial month spent in the classroom: «It was extremely interesting. The mentors give you advice on the practical aspects of doing business. I learnt the importance of good presentation when approaching an investor, an aspect we’ll be examining in more detail in September. And then the coworking environment enables you to share information which you wouldn’t have if you were studying alone – or only with difficulty».
From Milan, we travel to Working Capital in Catania, where the accelerated startups include Butlr, Qking, SharePass, Sportered, and PanPan, a geo-positioned question and answer platform. This last startup is available on iTunes in a temporary version, but is already very well-known. It obtained 600,000 Euros in funding from Finaco of Turin, is about to launch itself as a limited company (at the Catania Chamber of Commerce), and is all ready to attend the Dublin Web Summit at the end of October.
In nautical code, PanPan is a less urgent request for help than a mayday signal. «It allows you to select a specific area and to submit a question to anyone inside it», explains Antonio Famulari, CEO of PanPan. This 28-year-old Sicilian has spent three years in Paris, and created the platform together with Michele Spina and Walter Bellante.
«We realised that there are thousands of unanswered geo-localised questions posted on Twitter every day, and so we decided to set up a purpose-built platform». These requests are arranged in accordance with various criteria, including distance and scope, after which you select the particular area and submit your question. «Our business? Sponsors who want to ask questions – market research organisations, for example. Or else the sale of aggregated user data, again for market research purposes».