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CATEGORY: Productivity (Show all)
TAGLINE: An International Startup Incubator Platform
KEYWORDS: Startup, Incubator
H-FARM is a Venture Incubator which operates internationally on the Web, Digital and New Media, promoting the development of start-ups based on innovative business models.
H-FARM offers itself to the market as both incubator and investor: on the one hand it provides start-ups with the capital required to commence operations (seed capital), on the other hand it supports the team with an entrepreneurial approach, by supplying a range of administrative, financial and commercial services.
The H-FARM model combines the traditional Venture Capital approach, aimed at maximising the portfolio value, with that of the incubator, remunerated by the monthly fees received for the business development services provided to the start-ups.
H-FARM has access to an ongoing high-quality dealflow: well over 200 investment proposals are evaluated and selected by a dedicated team. The initiatives thus identified undergo an incubation period which ranges on average between 36 and 48 months: once an idea is chosen the business model is defined, the business plan drawn up, the investments in R&D allocated and the entrepreneurial team completed. It is an approach that aims at speed and a fast go-to-market, its objective being that of exposing the business undertaking to its reference market as soon as possible and, lastly, an approach that concentrates on income generation so as to eventually enable the undertaking to reach full financial self-sufficiency.
The incubation process culminates with the sale of the company to third parties, agreeing with the company, where possible, to remain with H-FARM for at least 5 more years during which the start-up will continue to pay the incubation fees.
So far, H-FARM, founded in 2005, has invested more than € 8 million of private capitals in developing new entrepreneurial activities.
To date the portfolio comprises 22 start-ups, of which three have already been sold with successful track record: 3 deals were closed profitably (the IRR was generally above 100%) with important international counterparties. H-art, web agency established with a seed investment of € 100,000, was sold for € 5 million to the WPP group, world leader in advertising and marketing services. In 2010, having become a reference point for Internet in Italy, H-art has reached a turnover of approximately € 8 million.
During the first 5 years, the H-FARM model established itself and the company widened its network of contacts and consents through a truly international network, also thanks to WPP partnership.
The key elements of H-FARM’s success:
The H-FARM project stems from an initiative of Riccardo Donadon, current managing director with enormous experience gained in the reference sector and significant success cases.
The aim of the project is to help and accelerate the development of business initiatives in the Internet world through both mentorship activities and financial support. It comprises a holding company (H-FARM Ventures) which exercises control, provides financial support and fosters internationalisation and four local companies (epicenters) that holds the stakes in the start-ups; aside of the epicentres, the accelerator provides the direct mentoring of the start-ups (i.e. support and strategic guidance for management), complete functional hospitality (real estate), offer of necessary general administrative (G&A) and Sales&Marketing services without which it would be impossible to accelerate the development of new initiatives.
The H in the project name stands for Human and it is there to underline the general objective which aims at developing initiatives that have in common the simplification of the interface, from the graphical point of view hence experience in use. The main objective is to make internet easier to use and more accessible to the public. The Human concept is also extended to the people who work for the project who can enjoy an environment conceived and developed to suit the expectations of skilled human resources. It is proven that one of the main critical success factors of companies that operate in the labour and R&D intensive sectors such as online media and ITC is the attention paid to the quality of the work environment.
To give one’s own investments the possibility of competing on an international market, H-FARM replicated the business model at global level launching activities in the USA in 2008 – a reference market for innovation – and in India, by virtue of its increasing international relevance as regards the development of a new market economy. India, in fact, pays particular attention to new technologies which can represent an important opportunity for the fast development of infrastructures of the Country’s services.
In June 2009 the opening of H-FARM UK and of the London office, allowed the company to lay the foundations for a strategy envisaging a more active role in Europe.