Tell us about yourself?
I am a researcher, designer, and entrepreneur with a background in engineering, information technology, and open innovation. I have over 9 years of experience in delivering digital services for sustainability and social innovation.
I chose to live in Palermo, Sicily, where I was born, to give my contribution to making my homeland a better place to live. I believe that technology and design methodologies compliment each other perfectly, and are crucial to generating high-impact projects capable of improving people’s lives.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
The belief that the Silicon Valley model is valid and should be applied worldwide, when outside this restricted and unique context the rules, opportunities, and ways of growing a startup and aiming to succeed with it completely change.
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
Focus less on the product features and more on the users, don’t be afraid to release something that is not yet 100% ready because the sooner you get feedback the better, as eventually, you will find yourself rebuilding things more than once.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
A determination to design and deliver services that address real problems, improving people’s lives while protecting our planet. And then the belief that the success or failure of a business depends more on people than on ideas.
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
Only have short, constant, and well-prepared meetings, use a few productivity tools but always, combine work routines with sports and exercise.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
MUV B Corp was created as a spin-off of a European Horizon 2020 research project, so the main influence behind the company is one of action research. The other key aspect is sustainability: the company’s aim is to achieve precise impact objectives as well as economic ones. That’s why we decided to set ourselves up as a Benefit Corp.
Where do you see your business in five years?
I see MUV as the Olympic committee for sustainable mobility: an entertainment platform that is known and used daily by many citizens, companies, and institutions around the world and which, thanks to an ever-changing programme of challenges, tournaments, and events, helps people to improve their mobility habits while saving tons of CO2.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
The challenge, in my opinion, is to keep people entertained for a long time. This is the common challenge for all types of games if users are no longer motivated or bored they stop playing and if they do then in the vast majority of cases it is impossible to get them to come back. MUV will be successful if it manages to leverage the different personal motivations and become an everyday play tool.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
Being able to create, with a group of friends, a completely independent research laboratory for urban innovation in the South of Italy and having made it grow over the last 9 years in a slow but steady way. Having developed many interesting as well as worthwhile research concepts and having turned the most valuable ones into 3 startups over the years.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
As founder and CEO, I do my best to let people know about MUV and the activities we do on a daily basis to improve and spread the word about our services. We use LinkedIn and social media to tell people about our startup, while we rely on digital PR, strategic partnerships, and co-marketing initiatives to acquire users and grow our user base.
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
Focus less on business models and more on the team members’ choice, ideas count up to a certain point, execution is what matters.
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
I hope that the future will bring many surprises and opportunities to learn new things, unexpected projects, and, above all, that I will still be lucky enough to do the work I like best with the people with whom I have shared joy and pain over the last few years.