startup night

A fresh Italian tech scene emerges over wine and pizza

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Startup Night

Italy, like a few other European countries, is way behind in the construction and creation of a “tech startup scene”. That being said, as of last Saturday there was almost no scene in Italy. Not because we lack the actual people, but because we do lack the sense of community and cluster of a place like, for instance London or Berlin.

There are different explanations for this.

The first and most obvious reason is that italian startups are small in number and in most cases are really, really young.

Secondly, networking is not seen as an important activity for an entrepreneur (which, in my opinion, should be). People here tend to see networking as a waste of time and would rather be working than attending tech-related events.

Third, no one actually was doing anything about it.

Startup Night

But last Sunday night, the guys at Mikamai organized the first ever Startup Night in Milan, practically creating a new tech scene from scratch. The event took place in their office for a while and saw more than 100 people attending. It was moved to a pizzeria later on, becoming a Startup Pizza Night.

It was a total success, with many entrepreneurs, geeks, enthusiasts, some investors and a few consultants. It surely wasn’t anything like London or SIlicon Valley events but it was a really great start where relationship, and hopefully friendships, were born.

Startup Night

That’s surely not enough though. That’s why we are working with the most involved people to create monthly networking events in Rome and Milan. We already have a Venture Camp in November and, you never know, a TechCrunch Europe event in Italy may well happen at some point ;-).

  • Alessandro La Rosa

    Hope to see cool events like this in Rome in the next future! :)

    • Matteo Capitanio

      Yeap, I’m waiting for a Rome edition too…

    • Stefano Bernardi

      Don’t plan anything for the end of October then..

      • Guk

        Let me know when there’s a Roman night!

      • Johanna Brewer

        As new arrivals to the Roman startup scene we (in conjunction with some of the fabulous Mikamai extended family) organized a 20 person kick-off event to activate the networking here in Rome. Join the group on facebook ( to stay updated on our next big meeting – we’ll be joining forces with Stefano to keep the ball rolling here :]

  • Markus Goebel

    In all these fotos, I would have liked to see more of these yummy original Italian pizzas your title promised. ;)

    Maybe the second picture shows half a piece?

    • Stefano Bernardi

      ahahha yeah you’re right.
      I’ll post in the comments some more pics of the actual pizza night. Those are the ones at their office :)

  • Edward Sanchez

    So long as we can co-exist in peace and you don’t put horse heads in our London beds we’ll be cool!

  • Nicola Cassolato

    I’m in the middle of the first picture… In a certain kind of way I can say I’ve been “featured” on TechCrunch :D

    Thank you Stefano, you’re doing a great favor to the Italian entrepreneurial community! :)

  • Monica Giambitto

    Hoping for more meeting like that, I’d love to participate to the next one!

  • Ola Malomo

    Congrats to Ivan and the Mikamai team

  • Lorenzo Viscanti

    Thanks to everyone who was there. I didn’t expect so much people!

    Thanks to Stefano and everybody from Rome, you made a real long journey to attend the event:)

  • Lorenzo Viscanti

    Thanks to anyone who was there, I didn’t expect s much people, we were more than 100 in our office.

    Thanks also to Stefano and the brave ones who came from Rome by car, such a long journey;)

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  • francesco

    hello Mike, good stuff, but just for the record, not “the first ever Startup Night in Milan”…

    Minibar Italy, Milan, February 2008, 300 people, 12 startups presenting


    • Stefano Bernardi

      I wrote “the first” because it actually was the first “informal” and networking-focused event I can recall on.
      There were no suits involved and it was in a startups-office.

      We already saw other events such as Minibar, Techgarage and Working Capital, but they have completely different approaches and goals.
      I thought this was a new, and perfect, approach.

      • francesco

        hey stefano, don’t know exactly what you’re on about (“completely different approaches and goals”…), but whatever that is, it doesn’t make it “the first ever startup night in milan”, does it?

        also, minibar was obviously “networking-focused”, what else!? we didn’t bring together startups, media and investors to play cards;

        also 2, the people you call “the suits” are quite crucial to the startup ecosystem, there’s no startup scene without investors;

        also3, location-wise, minibar london happens every month, since 2005, in a bar.. does it make it less startup-oriented?

        anyway, i guess what I’m on about is the typical attitude of calling what you do “the first ever whatever”… there’s no need to do that, it makes sense even if it wasn’t the first one ever in the galaxy

      • Stefano Bernardi

        Ahaha no need to get emotional.

        I don’t know if you were an organizer of Minibar and got upset cause you wanted the prize of being the first, but I don’t get your point.

        I simply thought it was the first of its kind and I wrote about it. But being the second, or the tenth, doesn’t make it less important.

        Oh and by the way, I wasn’t involved in the organization of the event as I met the organizers there for the first time.

        (I won’t get started about the suits, cause I could rant for days, let me just paraphrase your sentence “there’s no startup scene without investors” into “there’s no startup scene because there aren’t investors”)

  • francesco

    Stefano, you’re struggling to get the point, let me try again.

    I appreciate this last event has been one of a kind, so kudos to Mikamai who organized it.

    Having said this, it just makes sense to be accurate if your job is to inform the people. You wrote “the first ever Startup Night in Milan, practically creating a new tech scene from scratch” and that is simply not true because a tech scene was there already and startup meetups have been held before.

    So, it would only seem natural to me to accept a comment that’s building on the information you provided.

    Now if you want to carry on, be my guest. I’m calling it a day.

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  • Marco

    Now everybody understands why there’s no startup scene in Italy.

    • Opensource Obscure

      hehe, già

  • Giacomo

    I guess Marco is right. Petty fights like this aren’t useful at all.

    Francesco I was at the minibar and it was everything BUT useful to startups and wanna be enterpreneurs.

    I did not have the luck to be at the startup night, but all the people I talked to had a widely different opinion on it than they had at the minicamp.

    • francesco

      yea, petty fights are useless and ridiculous, but honestly this wasn’t meant to be one. It only started as an add on to Stefano’s article and I’m regretting now to have kicked off this boring and time-wasting flame.

      Giacomo, I’m sorry you didn’t find Minibar useful (I was involved with the startup and the uni that organized it, so twice as disappointed) and unfortunately I didn’t make it to the Startup Night as I no longer live in Italy, but I’m happy the format worked much better.

      But I guess what I don’t understand is the need to wipe out all the previous efforts by claiming this was “the first ever… creating a new tech scene from scratch…” rather than acknowledging them and building on in order to get to a bigger result.

      I think this is typical not only of the startup scene but of every scene in Italy (the electronic music scene has been very good at this for example), and it’s one of the main reasons why all these scenes never grow enough to make it big. I hope this is the start of something different and I wish you the best of luck.

      Anyway, live long and prosper. cheers

  • Danilo Gasparrini

    it is nice to see that something is happening in Italy. It is a shame that i miss the first event but i hope that other events will come soon.

  • Unconventional Everything (Mikamai)

    The Italian tech scene…

    Geeks, entrepreneurs and web people from the whole country joined the Startup Night on september 7th @MIKAMAI office in Milan.
    You may want to check out some photos or some videos: here and here.
    Here’s a review on TECHCRUNCH!

  • Silvio Revelli

    Evento perso, peccato. Apetto il prossimo!

  • alex grant


    This is great news. We are a young start-up in Rome and would love the opportunity to network with others in the area. We have a representative of ours over at techcrunch50 but there is nothing better than for us to meet other start-ups in our area. Who know what benefits we might get from it. I really hope that there will be a techcrunch event on here sooner rather than later.


  • Federico Feroldi

    The issue with previous events is that they were mostly “showcase” events for “startups” and “investors” trying to make some buzz on the news.
    Mikamai event for the first born out of word of mouth, gathering people that actually wanted to talk each other (the scene is actually pretty small in Milan, most of the people knew already each other).
    Most of the people present at Mikamai Startup Night founded concrete startups without the help of any investor (or supposed one), they’re driven by their passion and creativity first.

  • Stefano Bernardi

    Enough with the flames and meaningless words.

    We are actually doing something.
    So here it is:
    the next event will be in Rome on the 4th of October, a very informal Startup Brunch to get to know each other, and get valuable feedback.

    This will be the kick-start to the season, and you’ll see loads of new mini and bigger events in Italy.

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