The future will be written with tools that we are creating right now. The key ingredients are open innovation, sustainability and technology. Italy, where Enel’s headquarters are located, is one of the European countries with a big concentration of innovative startups.
On 16 December, 2019 Milan was home to the StartupItalia Open Summit (SIOS), Italy’s most influential platform when it comes to enabling startups, investors and corporations to create, discover and launch new ventures. With 200 Italian and international guests attending, alongside 1,000 new companies, the aim of the event was to explore the role of technology, design and innovation in the future of creativity, culture and business.
Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Chief Innovability® Officer, attended the all-day event. He took part in the session on Leading the Energy Revolution and presented some of the startups that have “grown” with Enel Group. They include Nozomi Networks, Peekaboo Startup Community, iGenius and Pedius. Ciorra said “It was a pleasure to share the stage with them and with the Planven Entrepreneur Ventures fund, which is investing in Italian startups and helping them to grow.” Enel supports them “as a client, co-innovator and industrial partner.”
Together for the future!
This was the slogan with which SIOS 2019 hoped to inspire attendees to work together with creativity and innovation for a better future. At Enel, we have been doing this for some years, with numerous startups through different Open Innovation initiatives. As Ciorra pointed out, “We help Italian startups conquer the markets where we operate. We become their customers.” And the figures confirm this: “We have already given over 20 million euros to Italian startups, 17 have enjoyed international success with us and seven are worth more than 100 million.”
Many of the ideas that were presented will have a major impact. A compelling example is the case of Pedius, an app that facilitates telephone calls for deaf people. Fabio Bosatelli, RoBoost Leader at Enel Green Power, explains how this project has changed his professional life: “For me, as a person who was born deaf, Pedius is a piece of technology that has had a major impact, as it enables me to take part in conferences and phone calls and I am completely integrated in the organisation with all stakeholders.”
iGenius was another startup that was present at SIOS. Its aim is to develop Artificial Intelligence-based products with the power to redefine the way people do business. Its mission “is to lead the path of innovation that Artificial Intelligence has paved in the business intelligence and decision-making areas,” explains the company’s CEO and founder Uljan Sharka. With this in mind, he and his colleagues created Crystal, the first virtual data intelligence advisor that “adopts a real data-driven decision-making approach at any level in order to have an impact on business.”
Peekaboo Startup Community, on the other hand, is one of the leading open innovation communities in Italy, where it helps startups develop their ideas. “We support the best talents with digital skills to transform their ideas into validated startups on the market through a three-month pre-acceleration program. This is the Lean Startup Program, which is currently active in Italy in Rome and Milan,” explains the organisation’s CEO, Paolo Napolitano.
Since 2017, several large companies in the energy and pharma sectors have chosen Peekaboo to connect with the startup ecosystem, discover its talents and technologies, and find solutions to their business challenges with the support of startups. “We work with major multinational brands such as Enel, Unilever, Allergan and Nestlé on Open Innovation projects aimed at innovating internal processes and introducing new business models to the market,” Napolitano adds.
Enel’s focus on Open Innovation and sustainability is bearing fruit. According to Fabio Bosatelli, “It is real Innovability®. Enel plays a very important role with its ecosystem and mission, both of which are strongly focused on sustainability.” Our presence at SIOS 2019 is proof of our commitment.