BizPlace was born in 2016 on the initiative of CEO Federico Palmieri.
Federico is now 24 years old, but since he was 19, he has had very clear ideas. After finishing high school, he decided that he wanted to be only one thing in life: the entrepreneur.
“I voluntarily chose not to continue my studies and to devote myself entirely to my first start-up, Mr. Guide, which I launched between the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. I worked there for about a year and a half, two years, investing all my savings.”
The start-up, which operates in the field of tourism, was not as successful as it was hoped. Federico put the experience in his pocket, from which he says he has learned a lot, and started again.
BizPlace from our CEO and CFO point of view
The initial idea of the new start-up was that it would be an online platform to help aspiring entrepreneurs with their start-ups and projects. Based on his experience with Mr. Guide, Federico learned that the team is one of the fundamental components of a company: “So we created a social network where start-uppers could find complementary skills of their own. I’m a marketer and I have an idea? I put myself on BizPlace and I looked for a programmer. It’s something I learned with my first start-up: the team is the most important element of a project.”
December 1, 2016: BizPlace is online and in a short time has 1500 people registered. The growth continues in the following months, but there is a “but”: “Towards the spring of 2017 I realized that we cannot find a revenue model that works: the value offered was not enough to pay us.”
THE TURNING POINT
Here comes the first pivot:
“We have therefore focused on the second aspect that, in our opinion, helps a start-up to succeed: investments. So we opened a spinoff ‘Area Investors’ where an entrepreneur could pay a fee to present his project on the online platform and make it available to investors in our network.
Here the numbers are promising, the first investors arrive on the platform and the first contact between the start-ups and investors are made. However, there is still a “but”:
“The projects uploaded to the platform did not receive any kind of analysis or a prior validation: we therefore found rather poor ideas that did not reflect the quality we wanted to tie into BizPlace.”
Poorly done business plans, projects without any structure: in short, in order to keep investors’ interest high, it was necessary that the start-ups were better selected. This was, in September 2017, the last turning point for BizPlace:
“Today we are a real consulting firm, with vertical integration on the fundraising process. We have eliminated all the platforms that we had uploaded online up to that moment, leaving only the consulting services offline”.
From the business idea to the market launch and presentation to investors: BizPlace’s business analysts follow every start-up and SME for a period of 2-4 months, accompanying them until they present themselves to the investment funds.
“We were able to unblock a latent market demand for this type of support and advice. Therefore we had a huge demand: our turnover grew on a quarterly basis by 300-350%. From September to today we have followed about 150 start-ups and in our network we have more than 400 investors, including Primo Miglio, Invitalia Ventures SGR, Innogest and many other Business Angel associations, Angel, Venture Capital, Family Office, incubators, accelerators and equity crowdfunding platform.”