On Day One, a start-up is a faith-
based initiative built on guesses.
- Steve Blank
Startup is a state of mind. It’s when people join
your company and are still making the
explicit decision to forgot stability in exchange for
the promise of tremendous growth and
the excitement of making immediate impact.
- Adora Cheung
(once were start-ups!)
YOOX Group S.p.A is an Italian internet mail order
retailer of men's and women's multibrand clothing and
Founded by Federico Marchetti, a former investment
banker, in Zola Predosa near Bologna in 2000, Yoox
Group has become a proﬁtable e-commerce company
that serves "more than 100 countries worldwide”.
It has established itself amongst the market leaders with
the multi-brand stores yoox.com, thecorner.com and
Since 2006, YOOX Group designs and manages mono-
brand online stores for fashion brands looking to offer
their latest collection on the Internet (Emporio Armani,
Diesel, Valentino, Moschino, ecc.).
As reported on the 2014 balance sheet, YOOX Group has
a net worth of €13.8 millions and revenues of €524.3
Milan, 31 March 2015 – YOOX the global Internet
retailing partner for leading fashion brands, has entered
into an agreement with Richemont, controlling
shareholder of Net-A-Porter, the world’s premier online
luxury fashion retailer, on the terms of an all-share
The transaction will create the Combined Group, the
independent leading online luxury fashion retailer
worldwide, with combined 2014 net revenues of €1.3
billion, and Adjusted EBITDA of approximately €108
The website was created in 2004, spawning from the
success of low-cost ﬂight companies. Low-costs were
usually not considered in the traditional channels of
distribution (booking sites and travel agencies): an
hassle for the customer willing to book a ﬂight, who had
to check all the companies' sites one by one. This
intuition pushed the founders to “ride the wave”, gaining
instant success. Later, they broadened the range of
services offered, including hotels and full holiday
packages, therefore improving the perceived value of the
• 2004: ﬁrst incorporation of the society, with 50.000 €
capital, by two founder (Marco Corradino and a business
partner), one employee. Sale of ﬁrst ﬂight
• 2005: scheduled ﬂights are introduced (CRS) First internal
customer service, with four employees
• 2006: Bravoﬂy Group is constituted, service for the
European market starts, in four languages
• 2010: they reinforced their top management and changed
• 2011: launched the new website specialized in package
holidays; enhanced range of products by also oﬀering
• 2012: Rumbo acquisition
• 2013: Jetcost acquisition
• 2014: the Bravoﬂy Rumbo Group debuted on the SIX
• 2015: lastminute.com acquisition and changed the name
to lastminute.com group
“Jobrapido is one of the largest job search engines
in the world, delivering 660m visits per year in more
than 50 countries. It helps job seekers search
millions of jobs globally, and provides employers
with access to one of the world's largest candidate
“Looking for a job on the web is annoying”. From this
thought of Vito Lomele (an engineer from Conversano,
who lived in UK and Germany) was born the idea to limit
to the minumum this unavoidable phase: “I was looking
for a job, and I realized how it was difﬁcult and
complicated. So I said myself: there are no search
engines for job offers? I'll make one” !
Started in 2004, in 2006 became a company
With the project growing, more people and money were
needed: 200k € were raised from some friends, including
the former boss, and 150k € were invested by an
european entrepreneur, Oliver Samwer. 2011's turnover
was 24 million Euro, with 3 of net proﬁt; 660 million
users, 80 employees from all over the world.
In 2012 Evenbase, from the publishing group DMGT
(Daily Mail and General Trust) bought out 49% of the
company (it is said, for 30 millions), leaving Lomele at the
helm with 51%.
Arduino is an open-source computer hardware and
software company, project and user community that
designs and manufactures microcontroller-based kits for
building digital devices and interactive objects that can
sense and control the physical world.
In mid-2011 it was estimated that over 300,000 oﬃcial
Arduinos had been commercially produced, and in 2013
that 700,000 oﬃcial boards were in users' hands.
The present Moleskine notebook is fashioned after Bruce
Chatwin's descriptions of the notebooks he used in his travels. In
The Songlines, Chatwin tells the story of his original supplier of
notebooks, a Paris stationer who in 1986 informed him that the
last notebook manufacturer, a small family-run ﬁrm in Tours, had
discontinued production that year, after the death of the owner.
In 1997 a small company based in Milan, Modo & Modo SpA,
reintroduced this notebook, and establishing the Moleskine
trademark and starting production of Moleskine notebooks with
5,000 pieces. In 1999, Modo & Modo SpA started distributing
outside Italy. In 2004, Moleskine notebooks arrived in Japan, and
from there Moleskine started distribution to the rest of Asia.
In 2006 the French investment fund Société Générale Capital
purchased Modo & Modo SpA, and invested in its expansion.
The company name changed to Moleskine Srl.
In July 2012 Moleskine collections were distributed in 22,000
stores across 95 countries.
In 2011, Moleskine production extended to new categories
with the new writing, travelling and reading collections,
launched at the Milan Design Week 2011.
In March 2013 the company announced that it will go public at
the Milan, Italy, stock exchange.
• Curated home design
• Love for the home
• Passion for the people that turn spaces into homes
• Valuing the authenticity of designer items
• Italian style in the world
• The right price
“Let LOVEThESIGN inspire you to a new way of living your
home. Decorate your home with authentic designer pieces - if
they are a fake, you'll never feel at home.”
1. Start-ups47 http://company.spotlimeapp.com/it/about/
“Spotlime è l’app che seleziona ogni giorno i migliori eventi di
Milano e Roma. Spotlime è personalizzata sui tuoi gusti. Ti fa
scoprire posti nuovi e provare esperienze inattese. Con
Spotlime non perdi tempo. Prenoti last-minute, in un batter
1. Start-ups54 http://company.spotlimeapp.com/en/vision/
“In the future, every day will be a surprising day. Living your
passions with your best friends or new ones will be easier and
more exciting thanks to Spotlime. Spotlime will create a world
of new shared experiences. A world built on emotions where
fun and friendship are the paths for a growing self-
consciousness. A touching world tailored to you and your
genius. A world where empathy is the magic inspiring brilliant
new ideas. A world of Spotlimers living in harmony one with
another. A shared fearless spotlimed world.”
1. Start-ups55 http://company.spotlimeapp.com/doc/press/20160531/20160531ComunicatoStampaFinanziamentoSpotlime.html
• every eventi is just 2 clicks away
• 15 events selected every day
• 250 partnership with event organizers in Milan and Rome
• 100.000 app users
• 1.000.000€ funds raised
“Orange Fiber is a project aiming at the creation of
sustainable and vitaminic fabrics from citrus waste.
We want to transform citrus waste – currently valuing
700.000 tons just in Italy – in a sustainable and vitamin-
enriched textile that would represent a brand new
opportunity for italian tradition in high quality textiles and
“The Volunia project closed.
In 2012, at public launch time, the creator has been kicked oﬀ
his own project by the investor, who wanted to take full control
of the company (including the CTO position... sigh...).
Result: two years with no innovation, no marketing, nothing,
bringing the company to failure.
(As an aside, general piece of life advice: despite your
enthusiasm and good faith, never trust anybody, as you never
really know a person.
Beyond words and appearances, you can really ﬁnd anything,
good but also bad: from honest gentlemen to greedy thieves,
from judicious men to obtuse egomaniacs.
Always shield yourself from the legal viewpoint.)”
“Back to the Volunia project: the (only) positive side is that after
the legal struggle with this guy, the creator is at last going to get
back the whole project code, which will be soon made open-
source, so to let other people freely reuse the wealth of code
and algorithms developed at the time.
For descriptions of the Volunia project (in its initial stage of
development), see for example:
• Search Engine Land's "Volunia, A Social Search Engine, Says
The Web Has Come Alive"
• Search Engine Watch's "When Will Social Search Engine
Volunia Deliver its Quantum Leap"
Stay tuned for the code, and good luck with your ideas!”
Napster was the name given to two music-focused online
services. It was originally founded as a pioneering peer-to-
peer (P2P) ﬁle sharing Internet service that emphasized
sharing audio ﬁles, typically music, encoded in MP3
The original company ran into legal diﬃculties over
copyright infringement, ceased operations and was
eventually acquired by Roxio.
In its second incarnation Napster became an online music
store until it was acquired by Rhapsody.
• Born in 1999 as a online shop and delivery service for
groceries in Silicon Valley, California.
• Founded by Louis Borders, a successful entrepreneur
(founder of Borders Bookstores)
• Promised 30 minutes deliveries anywhere in town, 24/7.
• Within an year and still in the red, it expanded business
to 10 major US cities, aiming to reach 26 biggest cities
in the country.
• Gained 375 million $ in investment money within 18
months (from Goldman Sachs, Yahoo, Sequoia Capital
• Worth 1.2 billion after two years (despite no sustainable
revenues) 13 million sales in its ﬁrst 6 months (despite
reporting 35 million losses)
• Over 2000 employees, presence in the most important
US markets (west coast)
• Bought out its direct competitor with 1 billion $ in stocks.
• Huge investments in infrastructure (inspired by
Amazon) 300,000-square-foot distribution centres (the
“most automated in the world”)
• Lots of advertising 200 trucks for the Atlanta area only
(grand total actually unknown)
• Reﬁtted company headquarters → 92.000$ for 115
chairs (800$ ea)
• Grocery business in the US works on razor-thin
margins 2-3 cents per dollar are considered good
margin 1 cent per dollar is common
• Burned through 1 billion $ in investment money without
achieving a sustainable business model
• No one on the board had any experience in
• Operating expenses much higher than traditional
• bad management decisions
• customers' advantages did not justiﬁed higher
• too much money avalaible induced lavish spending
• dotcom bubble collapsed LARGEST DOT COM
FLOP EVER According to CNET