The Institute for Entrepreneurship Hosts Startup Weekend Roma

On February 17-18-19, 2017 the JCU Institute for Entrepreneurship hosted Startup Weekend Rome, a non-profit event powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and TechStars. It forms part of a vast community of entrepreneurs, volunteering their time and expertise by facilitating and participating in events throughout more than 100 countries and 600 cities globally. This edition of Startup Weekend Rome was organized by entrepreneurs Luigi Fidelio, Guido Giordano, Federico Ronca and Antonio Romano, in collaboration with Professor Silvia Pulino and Joanne Bergamin from JCU. The event was sponsored by REstore Italia, E-Lex, Academy 012Factory and B-side Coworking, all of which provided prizes to the top three performing teams. Pietro Nardi from Academy 012Factory also served as a juror on Sunday evening.

Startup Weekend at JCU

JCU Institute for Entrepreneurship Startup Weekend

“The purpose of the weekend is to help you accelerate your ideas and create smart offline prototypes,” said Adrian Pica, an expert in lean startup, MVP creation, validation and customer discovery, who facilitated the event. On Friday evening when the participants arrived at John Cabot, only five participants planned to pitch their ideas. Facilitator Pica immediately turned up the level of intensity, and when he finished the event ice-breaker, 20 aspiring entrepreneurs presented their projects to the room! This enthusiasm and energy carried the participants throughout the weekend as they worked intensely in teams to pitch their final projects for the jury on Sunday night. An impressive list of mentors and coaches were on hand throughout the weekend to steer their efforts, including Simone Giacco, co-founder of VMSme, Mattia di Stasi, co-founder at Solenica, Stephanie Mitchell, founder of Gymbag, Stefano La Cesa, CTO at Pedius, JCU Alumni Marco Pecchio and Charles Tabansi, cofounders of Dreamers Communication, Agata Kukwa, cofounder of, Cristiano Panfili, partner at Looking for Value, WebMagistri Consulting and Day One, as well as a team of professionals from Toastmasters International.

“In just 54 hours, participants experienced the highs, lows, excitement and pressure that constitute life for a startup. They learned how to create a real company and interacted with mentors, investors, company founders, and professionals who will continue to help them develop their projects,” said Prof. Silvia Pulino who also served on the final jury with JCU colleague Prof. Riccardo Maiolini. Of the 46 participants in the event, 21 were John Cabot University students and alumni. JCU alumna Anastasia Batanina, who made the winning pitch on Sunday night for her team UNIQue, said that “coordination with the other team members is fundamental in such a hands-on experience like the Startup Weekend.”

First place – Team UNIQue (from JCU: Anastasia Batanina, Yekaterina Petrova, Lynette Quezada, Olga Cheremoshkina), a platform for finding the university according to ‘best fit’, won co-working space at Talent Garden and marketing consulting services from REstore.

Second place – Team Mei Tea (from JCU: Lisa Cheng, Mary Rose Castillo, Diana Castellanos, Kaloyan Kanchev), an all-natural drink, won co-working space at B-side Prati and legal consulting from E-Lex.

Third place – Team Mr. DiVino (from JCU: Paul Anthony, Annah Horst), a sommelier app, won a 6-month entrepreneurial package from Academy 012Factory.

Startup Weekend was picked up by print and online news outlets throughout Italy as well as national publications such as Corriere Nazionale. The event was also featured on and PMI’s website.