Startupper experiences

Caterina Giuliani

Caterina Giuliani

Founder of Bioverse

Which edition of the StartUp Day did you participate in?

2019

Can you tell us more about your startup? (what it does, who your target is, what issue you want to address)

Bioverse is an innovative startup that develops biomedical devices suitable for use in emergency and low-resource settings. The company’s main product is Corax, a device that monitors environmental conditions for patients with a weak immune system, especially children who have suffered burns. In fact, every year, 66% of severe burns occur in children living in developing countries who all too often die because of a lack of adequate infrastructure.

Who are the members of your team and what did you study?

The team consists of two biomedical engineers: Caterina Giuliani and Barbara Tommassini.

How did your studies influence the birth of this project?

This startup operates in the field of biomedical engineering and perfectly embodies our dream job, which is what we studied for. The project came about as part of the exam in Biomedical Engineering for Developing Countries and, thanks to Professor Stefano Severi, it also became the subject of a thesis. 

How did participating in the StartUp Day help you?

Participating in the Startup Day has helped us to assess whether our idea is well thought out and to take the first steps to make it happen. This event was the first opportunity we had to introduce ourselves to such a large audience.

What are the main difficulties you have encountered so far?

For startups, it is of crucial importance to be able to test their own product or service very quickly and with minimal investment. Naturally, this is not easy for a MedTech startup, especially if the target market is a 10-hour flight away.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to set up a startup?

Make sure you carefully analyse the reasons for embarking on this wonderful adventure and always keep them in mind. 

Nidhal Louhichi

Nidhal Louhichi

Founder of E-Steps

Which edition of the StartUp Day did you participate in?

I took part in the 2019 edition

Can you tell us more about your startup? (what it does, who your target is, what issue you want to address)

eSteps is an innovative startup with a focus on eHealth, which aims to address the issue of increasing motor disability in the lower limbs by developing patient-centric solutions. Our distinctive feature is our ability to combine the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and environmental sustainability to support the patient/doctor.

During this pandemic period, we have implemented a smart telemonitoring system for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, especially patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

This solution can potentially offer support to a population of up to 85% of patients with multiple sclerosis, specifically those who are in the early phase of the disease, the relapsing-remitting phase (RRSM). The fact that they can be monitored remotely will allow patients to see their progress clearly, thus promoting greater engagement during treatment.

At present, this solution helps to slow down the progress of the disease as it prevents it from progressing further so that it stops at the relapsing-remitting phase, which is actually easier to manage. In addition, this solution, thanks to the large amount of data produced and processed, promotes efficiency when it comes to choosing the most suitable treatment and allows at least 30% of the costs currently borne by the Italian national health system to be saved.

Who are the members of your team and what did you study?

Nidhal Louhichi - Biomedical Engineering, UNIBO

Fabrizio Gaudenzi - Physics, UNIBO

Giulia Alessandri - Product Design, UNIBO

David Giosuè Lippolis - Physics, UNIBO

Marco Di Felice - Computer Engineering, UNIBO

Alice Scaioli - Graduand of the Two-year Master in European and International Studies of the University of Trento, with Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from UNIBO

Alessandro Sfrappini - Graduand of the Two-year Master in Automation Engineering at UNIBO

How did your studies influence the birth of this project?

Throughout my studies, my inquisitiveness made me want to delve deeper into each subject and explore it in greater detail, as well as discussing various aspects with my teachers. That is when I first became interested in energy harvesting applied to the human body, such as a pacemaker that powers itself from the heartbeat.

How did participating in the Startup Day help you?

Participating in the startup day provided us with visibility, networking opportunities and, most importantly, I met my first partner here: we are still working together and are setting up an ambitious young company.

What are the main difficulties you have encountered so far?

The main challenges involved getting initial funding and finding skilled individuals or vertical programmes that could help us initiate and figure out the trickiest procedures in our industry: clinics, policies and regulations.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to set up a startup?

In addition to finding some great travel companions, find skilled mentors/advisors in your sector who can help you on an ongoing basis. And don’t be afraid to dare!

Marco Biasin

Marco Biasin

Founder of FruttaWeb

Which edition of the StartUp Day did you participate in?

The very first, I think it was in 2015.

Can you tell us more about your startup? What it does, who your target is, what issue you want to address

FruttaWeb was founded with the aim of selling all kinds of fruits and vegetables, including exotic and unusual ones, throughout Italy, to both final consumers and to the hospitality industry. More than 1,500 products are available in the product catalogue, which meet the quantitative and qualitative requirements of a specific target group of customers.

Who are the members of your team and what did you study?

I founded FruttaWeb by building on the expertise of my family business. From the outset, I got some of my university colleagues to join the team and they were extremely supportive.


In late 2019, FruttaWeb was acquired by Apofruit, the largest cooperative in Italy’s fruit and vegetable industry, which now uses it to market Almaverde Bio branded products online. It has changed quite a lot since 2014 (when it was founded).

How did your studies influence the birth of this project?

My educational background played a huge role. I was lucky enough to be able to study while setting up my own startup. This has proved to be a vital combination as it allows me to combine theory and practice on a daily basis.

How did participating in the StartUp Day help you?

It has helped me to keep my mind open and to network, which are both essential. It also introduced me to what, two years later, would be the Investment Fund that first invested in FruttaWeb. Steve Jobs said that you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. By looking backwards, the startup was a stage that allowed me to connect many dots.

What are the main difficulties you have encountered so far?

Finding the right people to work with and supporting the company with adequate capital.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to set up a startup?

Here are three main pieces of advice:

  1. seek denial rather than consent, since the former makes you grow, the latter is useless
  2. carefully choose the people you want to work with, without doing things in haste or getting carried away by enthusiasm
  3. start off lean, not necessarily wanting to do everything right away, but putting one foot in front of the other
Andrea Pesce

Andrea Pesce

Founder of ZeroCO2

Which edition of the StartUp Day did you participate in?

2019

Can you tell us more about your startup? What it does, who your target is, what issue you want to address

ZeroCO2 is a benefit company involved in reforestation projects with a high social impact. Every tree we plant is donated to farming communities, which generates food security and financial support. We also train these communities in organic farming and sustainable land management.

Ultimately, we have also developed Chloe, an innovative tracking and transparency system that allows anyone to monitor the growth of each tree.

Who are the members of your team and what did you study?

Young men and women under the age of 30 with very different profiles. There are 15 of us in the team, from Italy and Guatemala. Three of us studied at Unibo. More or less all of us have spent time abroad as Erasmus students.

How did your studies influence the birth of this project?

The international nature of a degree programme enriched by Erasmus experiences and internships at European institutions have helped to lay the foundations upon which to gain a broader overview.

How did participating in the StartUp Day help you?

It was an opportunity to question the certainties that people mistakenly have in the initial stages when they are working on a business idea. By comparing and listening to other stories, we were also able to broaden our vision to encompass a more diverse ecosystem.

What are the main difficulties you have encountered so far?

We often hear people say that “Italy is not a country for young people” and, up to now, our entrepreneurial experience has proved this to be true. Young entrepreneurs in an innovative field who have ideas that break away from the norm are an undesirable feature in the Italian market. It is quite rare to find interlocutors who are interested and passionate.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to set up a startup?

To always make an effort to step back and try to look at the bigger picture so that you can see what is happening around you. To be tenacious and persevere. Not to listen to anyone who says they have the solution at hand or that they know the perfect development model.