The first chapter to our SpinLab Ambassador Program: Italy

11th Feb 2019
6 min read

Finding the best startups around the world has always been a top priority for us, but geographically speaking, the EU has always been a priority for us. In 2018 we wanted to expand our presence around Europe, so we launched the SpinLab Ambassador Program– an initiative where we would find people in various EU countries who are deeply involved in their respective Startup Scenes, and have them part time promote the SpinLab at various events, gatherings, and workshops they attend. The goal, is of course to expand our reach, but to also give people in different countries a direct point of contact in their own country, to help them with any questions or clarifications they may have. Our first ambassador in the program is Claudio Martina, a former Entrepreneur in Residence at the SpinLab, who is now in his home country of Italy. This is his take on the program, and how it can benefit him, the SpinLab, and startups in Italy.

An Interview with our first SpinLab Ambassador

Could you please give me a short introduction to yourself? What are you doing besides being a SpinLab ambassador?

CM: I’m 26 years old and I define myself as a scientist-entrepreneur. Formally, I am a corporate innovation consultant working for the consultancy company called The Doers. I have a Masters degree in Biotechnology and I co-founded a startup, Orthoponics, which I ran for almost 19 months (from March ’17 to Sep ’18). I was the Chief Operating Officer and I coordinated the day-to-day operational processes. During this time period, we raised 60k, attended two startup acceleration programs, and we won several prizes. One of the results that I’m really proud of was to take my startup to be accepted for the Startupbootcamp Foodtech acceleration program. In that period, I was the informal CEO and thanks to a successful application and 3 intense selection days – talking with investors and corporate professionals – we were among the 9 startups selected in a pool of over 750 startup applications worldwide.

Claudio Martina foto

Since September 2018, I have been working for The Doers, a corporate innovation consultancy company. We work with medium to large sized corporates to coach, train, and consult them about innovation processes. We are focussed on implementing startup methodologies and processes in these established companies. In particular: lean management, customer development, business model innovation, corporate intrapreneurship (spinoff/startup developing), small data analysis, and market analysis.

How does the Startup scene in Italy look? Did it change in the past years?

CM:The startup scene and ecosystem is getting bigger and it’s growing rapidly. Of course, currently, we can not compare our numbers to the UK, Germany, or France, thus, the best metric to evaluate is the growth rates. The number of innovative startups in Italy rose from 7,866 to 9,647 between 2017 and 2018, which is 22.6% than last year. In the first 6 months of 2018, 6 new investment funds were born, with a total of 720€ million available. Almost 9 million in  crowdfunding (+85% compared to 2017), 127 million raised in the first 6 months of 2018 (+70% compared to 2017), and 97 raised by Italian startups located abroad (+ 194% compared to 2017). About the general situation: Italy is the 8th country in the world as a Gross Domestic Product, the 4th in the manufacturing industry (even the 2nd in Europe). We are the 3rd country in the world for the number of scientific publications in the last 20 years, with an internal market of 61 million people and 6 million enterprises, we are the 9th country in the world for exports with 448 billion (grew by 7.4% compared to last year).

Italy is the 8th country in the world as a Gross Domestic Product

More on incubators and accelerators, there are 171 among incubators and accelerators. Almost 60% are in Northern Italy. Lombardy is the region hosting the largest number of incubators, with 25.3% of the total, followed by Emilia Romagna, with 10.6%, and Tuscany with 8.8%. The southern area, the island area and the North-East territories represent the areas in which there are fewer incubators. Regarding the legal nature, 6.2% is private, 13.9% is public and 21% is hybrid.

Last but not least, in 2019 public incentives and subsidies to startups and to startup investors will grow. About investors, they could take advantage of a tax reduction about 30-40% in startup investment. My gut feeling is quite positive. This new govern – leaving out the political strategies in other important things and economic situation – is keeping the strategy of the previous one, supporting startups, corporates’ digitalization and industry 4.0.

As a SpinLab ambassador, how does your day like look? / What do you do as a SpinLab ambassador?

CM: As SpinLab ambassador, in these few months, I worked 1-2 hours per week on my ambassador role. These hours are spread during the week. My main job was to find people that could be interested in SpinLab program. I posted in social network groups a blog post that the major Italian startup magazine published for me last year. In the Facebook posts, I updated the new deadline because the article was of the previous deadline. I asked them to publish the new article version with the new deadline date and update information but they didn’t publish it. I’ll try again for the next application deadline. I wrote to people that like the posts to see if they were really interested in SpinLab program and I followed up on any requests. Unfortunately, I was not able to go to any startup event. If you want, I can give you more feedback about what I think could work for the promotion of the program.

Why are you a part of the community? What is in for you?

CM:We work in the same field: corporate innovation. We use different methodologies and tools to help the company innovate further, but we have the same mission. What I see as an advantage to be in your community:

  • Being updated about the startup/innovation ecosystem in Germany
  • Personally speaking, I consider Eric a very clever and smart guy and I really appreciate what he was able to create and what he’s doing to increase the SpinLab’s impact. Eric and his team are doing great work in pushing their model forward. It’s really valuable for me to be connected to people that are improving the innovation ecosystem in a new and efficient way.

What I see as an advantage for SpinLab:

  • Promote the SpinLb program in Italy
  • Find partnerships with Italian corporates to create a SpinLab program in Italy
  • Being updated and connected with the Italian startup ecosystem (trends, events, investment opportunities, accelerators/incubators, corporates that are investing in innovation/startups etc.)

Interested in becoming a SpinLab Ambassador yourself?

We’re currently looking for new candidates to represent us in the EU! If you’re interested in applying, send us an email at info (at)

About the author

Claudio is a former Entrepreneur in Residence at the SpinLab, has founded his own startup, and has a Masters Degree in Biotechnology. He is currently operating as our first SpinLab Ambassador and is responsible for Italy.

Follow the SpinLab on Social

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *