Start Lab 2021: Impact Innovation winners announced
Tuesday 17 August 2021
The work of the Sector Commissions of UniCredit Start Lab for innovation has now come to an end. Let’s take a closer look at the winning projects from the fifth and final episode in the Impact Innovation sector, as voted by our jury of experts.
The fifth and final jury to express its preference was the Impact Innovation Commission, which this year involved entrepreneurs and managers from some of the major Italian and international sector-players: Roberta Marracino, Head of Group ESG Strategy and Impact Banking, UniCredit;
Marco Nannini, CEO, Impact Hub Milano; Chiara Pennasi, General Manager, Fondazione Triulza | MIND; Enea Roveda, CEO, Lifegate; Giovanni Sandri, Country Head, BlackRock Italy; Eugenio Sapora, Country Manager Italia, Too Good To Go.
The first prize in this category went to Unobravo, from Naples, an on-line platform to connect with selected psychology and psychotherapy professionals virtually. It was created to offer tailored psychological support anytime, anywhere in the world, at affordable prices. The startup won a grant of 10,000 euros.
"With the support of UniCredit Start Lab, we will be able to be even more impactful in achieving our mission: to eradicate stigma around mental health and normalise access to treatment. The Start Lab network is also a valuable opportunity for Unobravo to promote a culture of mental wellbeing in the corporate world, whose involvement we consider crucial."
The runner up, with a special mention from the jury, was the Vicenza-based Mixcycling Srl, an innovative R&D start-up that researches and develops innovative materials by exploiting the properties of vegetable fibres derived from (local) production waste, and fuses them with polymers from renewable organic resources through a patented process. The aim is to reduce the polymeric component and offer a sustainable and concrete alternative.
"We believe that UniCredit Start Lab is a unique opportunity as we enter this next phase of Business Development. Mixcycling aims to drive the environmental transition: through these incredibly fast-changing processes, having UniCredit Start Lab's mentorship and network behind us will help us to accelerate our growth so that we are able to anticipate market developments."
Third place went to Fortunale, a startup from Bari that produces 100% wool jumpers, derived from cruelty-free farms, and dyed with natural pigments. The garments are produced in Italy by specialised laboratories and up to 80% of their fibres are recyclable. The packaging is plastic-free. For every jumper sold, Fortunale plants a tree on land confiscated from the Mafia. The identification number is then embroidered on the garment, making it unique.
"Fortunale is excited to collaborate with the UniCredit Start lab team. It is essential for a young start-up to constantly develop and improve its business model. Being able to count on a partner like UniCredit which can provide significant strategic, organisational and financial support is a great opportunity that we will fully seize to carry out our project."
Finally, another special mention went to the Cagliari based start-up IntendiMe, for its subscription service for detecting, monitoring and receiving sounds and vibrations in real-time through the KitMe system. KitMe is composed of sensors and a dedicated smartwatch, allowing deaf people and those who are hard of hearing to feel more independent, free, and safe, whether at home, in the office or on holiday.
"IntendiMe is firmly based on fundamental values such as inclusion, accessibility and equality to promote a reality that protects, valuing and integrating the know-how of deaf people in a business context. We are therefore honoured to collaborate with a company as concerned about collective well-being as UniCredit. They will certainly be a valuable partner to support our commitment in showing that it's possible to combine business and social well-being between all stakeholders involved perfectly."
If you would like to learn more about the stories of all the startups awarded in the different categories, you can read about them on One UniCredit, or visit UniCredit's social pages on Twitter and LinkedIn.