Giving back to the community: mentoring startups at H-Farm

When 4 years I decided to move to London I wouldn’t have expected that things were changing so fast in Italy and of course I’m very happy to see how things are different now.
There’s still a lot of work to do, but I am positive. That’s why this summer I decided to spend some time working with the community where my passion for digital was born, having had the opportunity to speak at Web Marketing Festival in Rimini, one of the biggest marketing festival in Italy and mentoring startups part of the acceleration program at H-Farm.

H-Farm is an amazing project, born in 2005 nearby Venice, to help entrepreneurs launching new initiatives. If you think that nobody at that time, in Italy, was talking about startups or building an environment where digital and technology were the king and the queen, now we can say it was an very thought-out vision. It’s an area where you meet smart and motivated people, where you can “smell” innovation and where everyone is working on personal projects aiming to change the reality we live in, and you know, innovation is contagious.

In two days I’ve talked more than ten hours about tech, projects, marketing and strategy, ending up being exhausted but happy. I arrived in the morning at the railway station in Mestre, picked up by a private driver taking me to the Campus. Jessica was waiting for me and helped me arranging the room for the workshop I wanted to give about customer acquisition strategies. After that I started immediately with 9 one-to-one meetings with the 9 startups involved in the Wellness and Fashion & Retail accelerator. Talking with people, believing in what they were doing was awesome and I felt privileged to have this chance.
I also learned that opportunities are not coming alone, you need to create them, and  that being surrounded by amazing people makes easier overpassing difficulties.
Giving back to the community is just an amazing idea I recommend to everyone doing it once in life as you’re really feeling well helping others on something you’ve already faced. And for once, money is not involved, at all.   

But bear with me, I’d like to introduce you to all of them!

I met with Bernard, from Loyaly, building a personal assistant to help improving relationships customers and brands in the beauty industry, facing the challenge of building the technology and how to position themselves on the marketing reaching big and established brands. I met with Marcus from Fitsapp, an app to make easier for people looking for trainings to get in touch with personal trainers with a tailored program or a one-to-one premium plan, launching soon in Northern Europe. Indigo Recommendations is creating a mobile tool to help retailers maximising the experience they have while in the shop, I had an awesome chat with Gianluca, helping to understand how reach out to their clients. Xensify wants to help small retailers with information and  tools to optimise customers’ inshore experience, I met with Sergio and Giacomo helping them with the marketing strategy. Rob with Roundstay aims to make easier organising and booking trips for people passionate about fitness, we had a good chat about the concept and the overall idea. Fitssi is a social-training app mainly for women, helping them to gather together and share the cost of a personal trainer in a more fun experience: Danny and I talked mainly about branding and business strategy. InteriorBE is a platform to help users in needs of renovating their spaces with a community of interior designers, and I really enjoyed talking with Federica about their marketing and social media strategy. I met with Cristiano from Train Me creating a platform for gyms to coordinate and better support personal trainers from the gym point of view, with whom I talked about marketing and acquisition strategies. And the last one (but just in order of meetings :D) was Adzuki Mobile, a recommendation/referral platform based on images where with Claus and Veronica we talked a lot about the concept and their business strategy.
What else? If I were you I would follow all of them, they’re doing a great job and I wish them good luck for their demo night in October, I hope I can make it.

But H-Farm is not just an accelerator, in 10 days is launching H-Campus, an educational program based on technology and digital for children and youngers from 3 until 26 years old to prepare the new generations to the challenges of the new century. And it will be awesome, because for once, going to school, especially in Italy, will not just mean passively listening to a teacher but work in groups, solve real problems, interact with each other and technology. ‘Cause in this 21st century we can’t just go to school and university, graduated and wait for a job, we need to invent it, never stop learning and be ready to change our path if there’s not what we’re looking for.
And if you’re not much convinced, here a quote from my most favourite author. 


ps: many thanks to Luca, Laura & Jessica for having made this happen. 

pss:If you’re a startup and you have an awesome idea for a IoT project you should check the IOT-Fintech acceleration program at H-Farm. You have time until the 3rd of October to apply!