This week, Antonio Scribano from Fattelo! gives us some highly interesting insights into his experiences as Italian founder in Germany.
Who are you and what are you doing?
My name is Antonio Scribano and I am a 29 year old Italian designer interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. I am one of the co-founders at Fattelo! (the Italian translation for do-it-yourself) an Italian design company which has been crowdfunded in the end of 2012. As our first product, we developed a cardboard led lamp called 01Lamp which you can buy via our channels (retail stores and our website) or you can do-it-yourself at home from a regular pizza box, downloading the instructions from our website at the symbolic cost of one tweet or one like.
The idea is to create every product starting from the same principle (buy-it or do-it-yourself), encouraging a return to a hands-on attitude and discovering again the capacity of every human to think, interact, and create.
Why did you move from Italy to Germany?
It was by chance: I wanted to learn more about how to run and structure a company to scale it. It was really difficult to learn this in Italy due to the really slow entrepreneurial environment and the low amount of fundings available. For this reasons, I decided to apply for the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme, which allows new or aspiring entrepreneurs to spend from 3 to 6 months in a company within the EU to learn how to manage a startup.
I’ve made a research for companies all over Europe which had the following characteristics: (1) a startup working in the field of online collaboration or community-based design and (2) which already passed an Angel Investing 1st round and (3) in countries with a very active startup environment.
The result was an internship with Conceptboard, a German company developing a visual online collaboration tool.
Why did you choose Stuttgart and not e.g. Berlin, the German startup capital?
I had several interviews with various companies in different cities and countries. I was not looking for a specific city, instead I was looking for a great working environment with experienced colleagues, to be able to learn as much as possible about how to develop a startup.
After 2 interviews with the guys at Conceptboard, I was completely sure it was the right company and the right team, so I had no doubt about moving to Stuttgart. Furthermore, I was really excited to discover a city which was totally unknown to me (not to mention an entirely new country).
What was the most difficult part for you when you first arrived in Stuttgart?
I had several international experiences in the EU and outside the EU, so it was really easy to acclimatize in Stuttgart. Even if I don’t speak German yet, most of the people in Stuttgart speak English, so it was really easy to interact with others.
Furthermore, I found a really cheap room to rent close to the office, together with a great German flatmate and her dog. I was probably really lucky (or I was experienced enough to make everything easy).
Did you meet people who helped you with German bureaucracy and integrating in Stuttgart? Who was it?
I already had a friend from my own city (Ragusa) who hosted me for the first two weeks. The rest was eased by my colleagues, who clued me in to everything I needed to know about the city and introduced me to more and more people, including Startup Stuttgart’s team.
Also, Conceptboard’s office is located in the Startup tower in the city centre: you can just visit the kitchen at breakfast time and you’ll meet a lot of young entrepreneurs working on great projects and desirous of sharing their point of view on innovative ideas and on their experiences.
If you could, what would you simplify for foreign entrepreneurs who are moving to Germany?
For the moment I can’t really answer this question. I assume that understanding all the German regulations to run companies would take a huge effort for foreign entrepreneurs. So, on one hand it would be great to have an overview of all the aspects involved in running a startup in Germany. On the other hand, it would also be really useful to get in touch with people or organizations who could help entrepreneurs in orienting themselves among all the regulations and opportunities.
I am sure Startup Stuttgart will have a great part in this.
What are your plans for the future? Will you stay in Germany?
Thanks to the positive impressions I had during this experience, I have decided to remain here and start looking for investors to transform Fattelo! into my full time job and start scaling our business.
I hope there will also be the possibility to collaborate with other startups and give back my contribution to the German’s entrepreneurial environment.
And, for sure, now it is time to finally learn German :)
Thanks a lot for this great and insightful interview, Antonio. All the best to you!