From Smart Mobility to Smart City: Turin changes with Techstars

Torino Piazza Vittorio Veneto illuminata di notte
Torino Piazza Vittorio Veneto illuminata di notte

The Techstars Smart Mobility Accelerator evolves and becomes Torino - Cities of the Future Techstars Accelerator, the first accelerator in Italy dedicated to products and services for Smart Cities. As Turin’s ecosystem develops, it also expands with collaborations and projects.

A dynamic context for the start of a new program

Torino - Cities of the Future Techstars Accelerator will begin in January 2022, finally back in attendance at the OGR in Turin: a city at the centre of an ecosystem that is now internationally recognized as an attraction for emerging technologies.

The reasons for this expansion are many and, above all, they are consistent with the evolutionary trends that are affecting our cities. In fact, according to the United Nations, 68% of the world population will live in urban areas by 2050. This will, therefore, force these areas to find new solutions for traffic, housing, energy resources, infrastructure, and quality of life. Overpopulation and climate urgencies will lead us towards transforming our cities into more liveable, sustainable, and inclusive environments.

The start-ups short-listed in Turin - Cities of the Future Techstars Accelerator 2022


The third edition of the programme will involve the acceleration of a class of 12 high-growth start-ups, mainly from European countries, and will culminate in the Demo Day on 21 April.

Some of the Italian companies selected, all based in Turin, as evidence of the dynamicity of the local ecosystem, include: Family+Happy, which designed a tailor-made service for the selection of certified babysitters; Strategic BIM, which provides digital and remote management services for large buildings; and Gymnasio, which developed a home fitness technology.

Strategic BIM

Featuring alongside the Italian companies are the Swiss HivePower and the French Voltaage, both with Italian teams, the Ukrainian Inputsoft, the British Lawyerd, Optimiz and X Works, the German Natix, the Romanian Nrgi, and the Hungarian Volteum, involved in sectors such as energy, air transport, mobility and copyright management.


This class features a wide variety of technologies, young and highly motivated teams, 4 female CEOs and 5 start-ups out of 12 with members of Italian origin. Martin Olzyck, Managing Director of Techstars Cities of the Future Accelerator, says that he encountered dozens of start-ups from Italian cities during the selection process: this shows that things are finally changing in our country and we are witnessing a flurry of initiatives in the field of innovation.

Turin as a Smart City: a growing ecosystem

In these past few years, Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, in collaboration with local stakeholders, has created various initiatives to support the growth of the local ecosystem, experimenting with new technologies and fostering open innovation, not only through the Techstars acceleration program, but also through a close collaboration with its client companies and the Municipality.

Torino City Lab is the project the city of Turin developed to favour the technological experiments of public and private partners regarding the future of autonomous mobility, drone transport, 5G connections, and robotics. Thanks to an agreement with the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center and the Techstars Smart Mobility program, seven collaborations have been launched in the city. A couple of examples are the Wiseair start-up, which installed its sensors to monitor air quality in the urban area, and Latitude 40, which is mapping and analyzing the rooftops of Turin, in order to be able to install photovoltaic panels. Latitudo 40 is also performing a thorough analysis of the river beds and their evolution over time, while its other applications will include monitoring the boundaries of woods and identifying asbestos residues through the use of satellites.

CTE-Next, Casa delle Tecnologie Emergenti (House of Emerging Technologies), is another project, a four-year one, created by the City of Turin and supported by MISE, which favours the promotion of start-ups and technology transfer to SMEs also through a physical spaces and intelligent infrastructures. In collaboration with corporate and university partners, the technological trials will take place in a super-connected environment which will favour the development of prototypes in the Smart Road, Urban Air Mobility, Industry 4.0, and Innovative Urban Services sectors. The start-ups that will take part in this challenge will be promoted by the City and will be able to benefit from public funds to support their projects.

In its new edition dated 22 September 2021, Genome Startup Ecosystem Report 2021, the international report on innovation ecosystems, published annually by the start-up, Genome consulting firm, analyzes the ecosystem of Turin, the only Italian city included in the international ranking of the report.

Finally, let us recall that two Italian companies were established in 2020: the American company, Sheeva AI based in Turin, and the German, GetHenry, in Milan. The Neapolitan Latitudo 40 was, instead, established in 2021 and has opened an office in the Incubator of the Polytechnic I3P in Turin, in order to encourage local collaborations.

2021, Previous edition

Turin immediately lent itself and its “Smart Road” as a test area for the creation of projects that initially involved transportation for the future. Turin is a true international capital of start-ups, where an exchange of ideas has allowed for the important evolution of the Techstars program.
The Techstars Smart Mobility Accelerator 2021, the first start-up acceleration program in Europe, initially dedicated to Smart Mobility, developed through the collaboration between the USA-based Techstars company – the third largest in its sector worldwide, and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, a company of the San Paolo Foundation and CRT Foundation.

Last edition’s numbers:

  • 54 countries
  • 2 start-ups, 4 of which were Italian
  • 150 mentors from around the world
  • 5 industrial sectors
  • 110 mentors participated in 120 one-to-one meetings
  • 1,320 meetings in total

One of the strong points of this endeavour is the opportunity for start-ups to take advantage of the many mentors – expert investors and entrepreneurs – available from around the world, with whom they are able to speak and from whom they receive valuable advice.

Innovative trends in the universe of smart mobility

What are the trends in technological and industrial innovation and in consumer behaviour? These topics, as well as macro environmental, social and cultural changes, are discussed by Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, which published the Innovation Trend Report dedicated to Smart Mobility.

“Initiatives like this are essential pieces of what it means to “create ecosystems”, because they bring together in collaboration important stakeholders: a competent and determined City Councillor (such as Marco Pironti), one of the first three accelerators in the world (such as Techstars), innovative and already technologically advanced start-ups, a bank that is the engine of the country’s growth (such as Intesa Sanpaolo), and also innovation. They are all necessary components for the development of an innovation ecosystem, but not sufficient if they remain separate, like pieces of an incomplete puzzle. Putting them together for a common design, for a shared project, is part of our mission, as well as researching and learning new business models and acting as an engine and stimulus for the new economy in Italy. This is the task we were entrusted with b the CEO of our parent company, Carlo Messina.”


Maurizio Montagnese, President of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center