In Japan, Italy is a country well-known for its luxurious brands and football, but nowadays Italy is becoming well-known for its startup ecosystem. At this event, we talked about the special pitch of overseas food tech startups from “Food-Tech Accelerator,” a startup program for the food industry from Milan, as well as “Innovation collaboration between Japanese and Italian companies.”
The Startup Environment in Italy and the Rise of Food-tech
Throughout Italy, advanced initiatives are taking place in the field of food-tech. Thanks to the ample support from the government, startups and innovation are active.
Moreover, an event for economic development and investment through innovation and startups has been held for many years. This event continues to grow and succeed year by year and is now an essential event for creating innovation
The investment amount for startups in Italy in 2014 was 3.5 billion Euros (about 420 billion Yen), but in 2019 it was 9.7 billion Euros (about 1,165 billion Yen). In five years, this amount has more than doubled. Foreign funds account for about 65% of the total investment amount. Traditionally, the food industry is Italy’s most important industry, so it draws a great deal of attention and leaves room for innovation.
In recent years, business partnerships related to “food” between major companies and venture capitals have been expanding, and, as a result, a startup ecosystem is being built.
In 2019, an acceleration program focusing on food-tech ventures around the world was held, with 300 startup companies and 41 countries participating in a wide range of fields from food to production and sales. Seven companies’ proposals from Israel, the United States, and Italy were selected for the purpose of creating new businesses and PoC opportunities with large Italian companies.
The Know-how of Expanding Business in Italy
Business in Italy is customer-centric with an emphasis on long-term approaches and partnerships. Cultural compatibility with Japan is also good. Italians understand that Japanese have a positive impression of Italy. This is a very important point.
To be successful, it is important to consider markets and competitors and to learn from cases of successes and failures. Being aware of various cases can help one achieve success.
Japanese startups and companies need to find reliable partners such as development partners (European regulation, authentication, adherence), sales partners, manufacturing partners in the food and apparel field, among others. It requires a core consensus with partners, so communication is extremely important.
Case Studies and Pitch Sessions
Also, a case study about the collaboration between Asahi and Birra Peroni, one of the biggest beer companies in Italy, was shared, and pitch sessions by two startup companies, which were adopted by Food-Tech Accelerator, were given.