“Venture Capitalist” must sound like a bad word in Italy. This is the first impression when you attend a speech by Arturo Artom, an Italian entrepreneur (Muvis intelligent lighting system and Netsystem) and novice venture capitalist (Artom Innovazione Italia).
According to Arturo the type of risk investment that made Silicon Valley rich and successful is almost non-existent in Italy. He claims to be one of the few Italians determined to change the current situation and wants to proof that the “Bel Paese” can provide great business and financial opportunities to all investors willing to take risks.
Arturo talks about his experience with a lot of color and passion, with a style that remind me more of Marco Polo than of a cold professional investor.
For half an hour the entire Skilling Auditorium in Stanford was following Arturo Artom in the exploration of an unknown region: the Italian venture capital territory. Arturo was leading us across this uncharted land pointing to a few visible reference landmarks: the rounded hills of the Italian Style, the vast sea of Italian talents, the river of Innovation, and the dark forest of the Italian bureaucracy.
According to Arturo, to successfully travel across this land we need to recognize this is a different place from the fully explored Californian equivalent territory: different but not less promising. Where the ancient maps used by traditional Italian investors say “hic sunt leones” (here are lions), Arturo found ideas, talents and business opportunities. As Marco Polo, Arturo charted this new land, managing not only to survive the lions but to come back with gold and honors.
How many investors, Italian and not-Italians, will get rid of those obsolete maps and will follow Arturo steps?