Rome Has Europe's Largest Startup Accelerator

Stazione Termini | © Luiss EnLabs
Stazione Termini | © Luiss EnLabs
Italy may be behind in technological advances compared to other industrialized countries, with only two-thirds of the population using the internet on a daily basis, but the future is looking bright for the European Union’s fourth largest economy. An Apple-backed iOS App Development Center will open in Naples this October, Amazon is investing €150 million to build a new distribution center near Rome, and as of this summer, Rome has the largest startup accelerator in all of Europe. Meet Luiss EnLabs.

Located inside Rome’s massive Termini train station, Luiss EnLabs is a bright and dynamic space filled with young developers, marketers and innovators venturing to turn their ideas into reality. Housing 40 startups within its 50,000 sq m open space, the accelerator is a veritable hub of creativity, entrepreneurship and fresh talent, lending an invigorating 21st century flavor to the Eternal City. The young accelerator is operated by LVenture Group, a publicly listed venture capital company that provides the startups with funding and network, in collaboration with University LUISS Guido Carli. It is certified by the Italian Government and is part of The Global Accelerator Network.

Each year Luiss EnLabs opens admissions into its Acceleration Program, giving early-stage startups the opportunity to turn their concept into a successful enterprise. The acceleration program lasts five months and follows the XPM (Extreme Project Management) method which involves close monitoring of projects and multiple seminars to ensure each startup is on track to produce (some) revenue by the end of the program. Luiss Enlabs provides €80k in funding (€30k in cash and €50k in perks) in return for 9% equity to help startups get off the ground. It also organizes Investor Days at the end of each Acceleration Program during which teams have the opportunity to pitch their startups to venture capitalists, business angels, big companies and M&A consultants in an effort to raise seed funding for their venture.

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With over €20.4 million in funding raised and a 90% success rate, Luiss EnLabs is already making its mark on the city’s landscape – and since its newly inaugurated space can accommodate up to 80 startups, there is reason to be excited about its future. The rapidly growing Scooterino, a ride-sharing service that resembles Uber but involves a scooter, is just one of the success stories to come out of the accelerator. Since its nascence in 2012, Luiss EnLabs has supported a growing number of startups that span various industries and sectors. To name a few: Moovenda is a food delivery service that works with eateries around the city; Le Cicogne is an app that connects mothers with babysitters, including on demand; and Wineowine is an e-comerce platform that promotes small wine producers and sells their products to buyers and enthusiasts.

One of the accelerator’s biggest initiatives is #WakeUpRoma, a grassroots project in collaboration with Retake Roma to clean the streets of Rome and improve the image of the city through community efforts. From turning young entrepreneurial dreams into concrete businesses and giving back to the city of Rome, Luiss EnLabs is paving the way for a new generation of young Romans to maximize their potential.