Every year in Milan, United Ventures (unitedventures.it), one of the leading Italian venture capital firms, organises Tech Insights, a conference that gathers in Milan senior executives, VCs and entrepreneurs from all over the world to discuss the latest technology trends and opportunities.
This year, the conference was about Game Changers, emerging tech trends and interesting companies with the potential for transforming society and economies for the better.
As defined by Massimiliano Magrini, Co-Founder and Managing Director of United Ventures, tech game changers are driven by people who confront opportunities; people who decide to see opportunities behind the threats of our society; people with strong entrepreneurial talent, who can nurture their technological ideas in innovative environments, and impact on our society in a positive way, with the support of capital.
Sustainability is certainly one big issue and opportunity: technology should help to mitigate sustainability problems and improve living conditions for a better world. Other discussed game changers are 5G, privacy and big data management.
Very good examples of game changers are the ones made by Roberto Cingolani, Scientific Director of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, based in Genoa (iit.it): the use of food waste to replace plastic, as the farmers’ market in Genoa already does; the use of artificial intelligence connected to the human brain for training prosthetic hands; the use of predictive medicine to prevent diseases and reduce the public expenditure (by using predictive medicine to diagnose cancer in 30% of the cases, Italy could save € 12 billion, almost one third of the total public expenditure for treating cancer).
Both entrepreneurs and VCs agree that European tech start-ups need to deal with regulations, business dynamics and social behaviours that are different from the US and Asian ones, therefore new business models should be developed and adopted.
For Davide Dattoli, founder of Talent Garden, a platform of campuses to empower digital tech communities and connect them globally (talentgarden.org), Southern Europe needs to improve the connection of tech talents and increase the speed of capital raising.
Large corporations must innovate too. Whether it is internally driven or pursued by acquisitions, innovation is needed, for improving operational efficiency, but also for competing in a global and tech world.