Startup Initiative
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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

- Charles Darwin

Change used to be perceived as an opportunity; today it has become a necessary condition for survival. At Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s leading bank, we believe that a positive attitude towards change is the key factor for developing innovation and rising to the ever-shifting challenges of the market.

In keeping with this vision we have developed the Intesa Sanpaolo Start-Up Initiative, bringing together all players of the innovation value chain to support fledgling entrepreneurs and disruptive start-ups in realizing their full potential.


How it works

Intesa Sanpaolo Start-Up Initiative is a comprehensive program aimed at technology start-ups looking for concrete business opportunities: every few months, a rigorous selection and training process leads the best start-ups to high-profile, technology-specific events called Arena Meetings, where they can pitch to international investors and corporations.

  • Step 0: Scouting
    We are constantly on the lookout for innovative business ideas, start-ups and spin-offs to include in our process. Ideas submitted online are processed, screened and assigned to a target event.
  • Step 1: Tutoring and business coaching
    In the weeks preceding an event, we provide personalized training sessions to help entrepreneurs refine their business plan and tailor their communication for investors, in cooperation with Silicon Valley angel investor network Maverick Angels.
  • Step 2: Evaluation and selection
    A panel of industry experts and technology specialists evaluates the candidates for each event, naming a batch of a dozen start-ups to move forward.
  • Step 3: Arena Meeting
    The selected start-ups take part in the Arena Meeting, a focused networking event where they can pitch to an audience of committed investors.
  • Step 4: Follow-ups
    We collect feedback from interested investors, and facilitate interaction with start-ups via a dedicated online platform (MySUI).
  • Step 5: International roadshow
    We organize further Arena Meetings in key European and worldwide locations (including London, Frankfurt, Paris, San Francisco and New York), allowing the most promising entrepreneurs to maximize their business opportunities.


Technology focus & calendar

The Intesa Sanpaolo Start-up Initiative is specifically aimed at technology-intensive sectors, where the opportunities and potential returns from disruptive innovation are greater. Each national edition of the Start-Up Initiative is dedicated to a specific technology, with yearly frequency:

  • Social ventures and technologies with a significant impact on society
    Italian Arena Meeting schedule: January
  • Biotechnologies and life sciences + Healthcare and medical devices
    Italian Arena Meeting schedule: April
  • ICT, digital media and online services + Electronics and automation
    Italian Arena Meeting schedule: June
  • Mobile and Mobility (as part of the Mobicap European project)
    Italian Arena Meeting schedule: June (+ dedicated international roadshow in October)
  • Cleantech and renewable energies
    Italian Arena Meeting schedule: October
  • Nanotechnologies and high-performance materials
    Italian Arena Meeting schedule: November


Value propositions

Whether you are an entrepreneur, a business angel, or the head of a research center, Intesa Sanpaolo Start-Up Initiative provides you with access to a living, breathing network of actors who share the objective of fostering innovation and R&D. Learn more about what you can expect form the Start-up Initiative with our dedicated value proposition sheets:

  • Start-Ups
  • Investors – venture capitals, business angels, development funds, etc.
  • Ecosystem – incubators, accelerators, science parks, research centers, category associations, etc.
  • Industry players – companies and corporations embracing the open innovation paradigm to boost their development potential


Find out more