Andrew Romans, CEO & General Partner of 7BC.VC, was the guest of the last Innovation Talks – Fall Edition 2019. “In Italian Venture Capital is translated as ‘risk capital’ when in reality, the risk is minimal compared to to many other sectors” said the Californian entrepreneur who shares with the Community BBS the potentiality of investments in technologic startups with Artificial Intelligence, Fintech and Blockchain.
According to Romans, the significant handicap of the Italian entrepreneurial world is linked to excessive prudence, which puts a spoke in the wheel of the increasingly necessary push towards innovation: “Let’s take food companies as an example: are they technological companies? For the challenges imposed from the global market yes, but for you Italians absolutely not “.
An anachronistic approach according to Romans and which threatens to paralyze market growth due to excessive self-imposed barriers. “When I think of the incredible history of your country, I clearly notice that many large companies are in danger of failing or being acquired by foreign investors”.
What are the causes of such a stagnant reality? The absence of an ecosystem is indicated by Romans on several occasions as the great culprit of an unattractive situation for investors and business angels, who end up looking elsewhere: “If I want to find a girl and go into a bar where there are only men, I just have to change bars”, Romans reflects, making the community smile. “The same happens in Italy to startuppers looking for investors ready to believe in them”.
To unlock a situation that is not prone to change, on the one hand governments need to provide a series of fiscal incentives to support large companies, and on the other, individual companies leverage their strengths, shaping farsighted and insightful managerial profiles: “In Italy there is the myth of Silicon Valley, but it must not be a model to strive for: each country is unique and must consider its own limits and focus on its potential, diversifying the product and the offer”. This is where Bologna Business School comes into play, which combines academic knowledge of the Faculty with the presence of industry professionals and the support of a prestigious network of companies and managers.
The Capital Venture is a “win win win … model and I would add ‘win’ to infinity” – exclaims Romans, “as it finances a project betting on its specific resources, and at the same time contributing to developing a more pro-active competitive policy towards investments”.
Moreover, Romans concludes by quoting Brad Pitt in the film Moneyball “The purpose must not be to buy players: the purpose must be to buy victories”.