From soccer to start-ups… and back again

from soccer to startupThank you, first of all, for being here. We know that you came all the way from your respective countries for just one reason. Not for the ecosystem, not for startups, not for the Rome Venture Forum. You came here just for the soccer match tonight! Let’s face it. There is no other plausible reason for you, a bunch of top international investors, to come all the way to Rome. But, let me reassure you. It’s ok for us. We, as Romans, do not take offence for your behaviour. Just the opposite. We are happy about that, happy about you being here and also happy about the fact that you are here to watch the game. And this, even more so, because the story that can be told about recent development of A.S. Roma has got a lot to do with the today’s event. As a matter of fact, it is, it could be, the same story. But first there are some things that I have to explain to you. As you may know, for years the soccer team of the city has been what could be termed a mid- level team. There were some good years but more often they were some “not so good” years. Very * Speech given at the first edition of the Rome Venture Forum held at MACRO, in Rome, on December 10th 2014. 2 ROMA VENTURE FORUM December 10th 2014 few people knew about the team outside Italy. When you were travelling abroad people would talk to you about soccer and immediately tell you about Juventus, Inter, Milan: rarely, if ever, about Rome. We were second-level. And, by many respects, the ultimate proof of this situation is the most famous encouragement for the team which literally said: “Forza Roma, Forza Lupi, so’ finiti i tempi cupi” (which translates into “Come on Rome, Come on wolves, the dark times are over”). […]

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