Hootsuite has acquired AdEspresso. Everybody is talking about it. It is the biggest acquisition in the past year in Italy, and one of the 3 biggest acquisitions of the last 5 years and we are also thrilled to write about this startup. Why? Because, while its headquarters has always been in San Francisco, AdEspresso always had an Italian heart too, a beating heart located right here in our office! We work next to a part of the team every day and its founders, Armando Biondi and Massimo Chiericuzzi, have visited us often.
On the pretext to congratulate them, we “stole” a little interview to tell everybody about their success. Let’s start with the first question!
According to your experience, has your headquarters in Silicon Valley had a positive impact on the acquisition?
Well, sure. Silicon Valley is full of investors and entrepreneurs, the whole ecosystem continuously offers exit opportunities and the legal system facilitates acquisition operations. Moreover, to be present here is extremely important for the creation of an interesting network and for the company’s reliability. For example, we had the first contact with Hootsuite during one of the events organized in the Valley. If we didn’t have ad headquarters here, it would be difficult to attend that event.
Why did you rent an office space in LUISS ENLABS?
When you talk about Rome, LUISS ENLABS is, without any doubt, the one who is doing the best job in a “startup oriented” context and the focal point where the Italian startup ecosystem focuses. We wanted to have a reference point inside the Italian ecosystem so we chose your headquarters. Furthermore, the strategic position, on the third floor of Termini Station in the city center of Rome, is an advantage hard to beat.
According to your experience, what could Italian startups do to reach a goal like your?
To build a company is a hard work; you can’t start with the exit purpose because there are about 6 years from the foundation to the acquisition. Our advice is never to build a startup for “startup sake” but rather for a “problem sake”. If you develop a passion for the problem and for its resolution then you can start building your startup. However, you can’t stop here, you also have to find people who want to pay to solve that problem and a model through which you can reach them. Only then your project will become a startup able to grow, scale and be interesting for bigger companies. To build a startup is a big investment of your time, most people in the startup ecosystem don’t understand this, unfortunately.
Which are the advantages of being an Italian startup?
There isn’t a specific value, and yet it is important to understand which are the peculiarities of every place and to use your country’s potentialities. In Italy, we have incredible talents, both in technology and in customer support and, most of all, Italians are much more attached to the company compared to Americans: there is a very high turnover in the USA and talents tend to change company every 6 months more or less. Further, we used our origins to build our brand identity: the “espresso” idea tied to saving time concept and enjoying life are hallmarks of our business from the naming to the logo.
When did you start with your startup internationalization?
On the very first day, of course. We have never written a word in Italian because we all knew from the beginning that the Italian market wasn’t interesting for our business as it was too small, this is why we decided to be international since the beginning.
Thank you guys, it was a pleasure to chat with you, we wish you the best and, remember, here in LUISS ENLABS there will always be a special place for you!