“TIM sets itself as “enabler” in creating a digital ecosystem that connects businesses, public administration and local communities, in order to create positive synergies for development.
In this context, TIM has developed various innovation initiatives such as TIM WORKING CAPITAL which, from 2009 to 2016, supported 294 start-ups with over 6,6 million euro invested (survival rate of 90%) and beyond 9,000 projects. In addition, over the last two years, there have been more than 50 go-to-market strategies developed within TIM”.
In recent years, the telecommunications sector has helped improve people’s lives and the processes of businesses through digitization, made possible by the significant reduction in traditional voice services and the growth of new services based on fixed and mobile broadband.
TIM has respondedto this intense and fast technological changewith effective innovation achieved through the:
- intensification of internal development lines, i.e. the work of laboratories and research groups dedicated to the evolution of the fixed and mobile network towards 5G standard and hyper-fast broadband (thanks in part to collaboration agreements stipulated with excellent universities);
- promotion of employee creativity, with the launch of initiatives for the crowdsourcing of ideas (e.g. Idea Sharing);
- confirmation of the adoption of ‘open innovation’ principles, which allows innovation generated internally to be integrated with external contributions.
TIM has historically carried out its business considering both economic and socio-environmental objectives. This approach has facilitated, and made natural and consistent, the integration of TIM’s material Sustainable Development Goals with the existing path. The shared “practice” focuses on SDGs 9 (target 9.5) and 4 (target 4.4).
TIM #WCAP ACCELERATOR. TIM was one of the first Italian companies to adopt the ‘open innovation’ approach, with a series of initiatives including Working Capital (today TIM #Wcap Accelerator), the Group business accelerator which each year explores, selects, finances and accelerates digital start-ups, making training and mentorship available.
In 2013, the initiative enables the opening of four accelerators (Milan, Bologna, Rome and Catania, with a total of more than 4,000 m2 available) to welcome the start-ups selected on a periodic basis - by means of social media and face-to-face discussions - with a Call for Ideas (which became a Call for start-ups in 2016, focused on mature projects).
The project mission has evolved into the identification of start-ups in line with the Group’s industrial strategy, in order to integrate the solutions developed by the start-ups into the TIM value chain, benefiting both TIM and the young businesses that, in becoming TIM suppliers, have the opportunity to grow.
From 2009 to end 2016, TIM #WCAP has:
- examined more than 9,000 business ideas;
- supported 294 projects, in line with its business strategy;
- assigned 6.6 million euros to encourage the development of start-ups (their survival rate exceeded 90%).
Since 2013, the TIM #WCAP start-ups have launched over 50 go-to-market activities within TIM, including CitySensing (a platform for managing large events in urban areas based on the collection of big data from social media and mobile networks), Cloud Robotics and Virgil (solutions involving drones and remote presence robots connected through the 4G network)and Internet of Things systems, including Smart Agriculture.
The TIM #WCAP Accelerator 2016-2017 Programme. From 30 March to 30 May 2016, through the annual Call for Start-ups, TIM #WCAP Accelerator chose 25 digital start-ups (out of the more than a thousand received), and to each assigned:
- a business grant of 40,000 euros;
- participation in the Digital Innovation Year 2016-2017, launched in September and consisting of:
- three months of acceleration (September - November 2016) in one of the four accelerators;
- nine months of mentorship, co-working and networking (December 2016 - August 2017) to develop the business project in an optimal environment.
During the acceleration phase, qualified tutors and mentors guide the start-ups in an approach which aims to allow their projects to grow in both technical and business terms. The program includes classroom sessions (focused on business matters) and opportunities for a comparison of ideas and individual supervision.
At the end of the three months the Demo Day is held, during which start-ups present themselves to investors, companies and sector influencers and - through participation in numerous networking events - this fosters discussions with successful start-uppers, entrepreneurs, investors, business angels and venture capital.
The chosen start-ups also benefit from:
- the synergy of TIM #WCAP Accelerator with TIM OPEN, the business to business platform that makes all tools available for the development of cloud solutions and TIM distribution channels (the TIM Nuvola Store market place and agents);
- immediate access to the “Albo Veloce” (Fast Vendor List) to become TIM suppliers;
- the innovation basket, i.e. a budget available to the TIM business units to purchase the solutions developed by the TIM #WCAP Accelerator start-ups;
- entrance into the TIM Ventures portfolio, the TIM corporate venture capital (first in Italy).
- The ten start-ups on the acceleration program showing the greatest potential, capacity of execution and compliance with the company’s needs for innovation, will join the Best in Class Program, through which they benefit from a further:
- grant of 10,000 euros;
- month of activities in the Rome accelerator, in which the Chief Executive Officers and the co-founders of the start-ups can take part. The activities include workshops (to investigate business and venture capital matters), meeting and matching opportunities in a go-to-market approach with the TIM business units, external companies and the public administration.
TIM VENTURES. Based on the experience of TIM #WCAP, TIM launched TIM Ventures in 2014; this initiative selects and invests directly in the risk capital of the best digital start-ups operating in synergy with the Group’s business strategy. TIM Ventures is specialized in investing in the early stages of the start-ups’ activity and development, making minority ‘seed’ and ‘early stage’ investments.
Summarizing, over two years, TIM Ventures has invested 2.4 million euros in 14 start-ups/subsidiaries (12 of which are from TIM #WCAP), which have recorded, amongst others:
- 2.5 million euros in production value;
- 7 million euros in risk capital funding;
- 87 employees on the workforce.
This management model saw TIM receiving the National Prize for Innovation, established by the Prime Minister’s Office and awarded by Confindustria, in 2016. This rewarded the capacity to innovate the portfolio of solutions and services in terms of quality, the structured and efficient process of managing innovation, the company culture and the capacity to transform innovation projects into services to support citizens, businesses and organizations.