Located just a few miles from Italy’s Venice lagoon, a global innovation hub is on the cutting edge of innovation, entrepreneurship and education. H-FARM is the leading Italian innovation platform and one of the most important in Europe. Established in 2005, H-FARM was the first venture incubator in the world (YCombinator was founded just a few months later). Today, H-FARM doesn’t fit a single label since it encompasses a wide range of activities and services, which range from assisting young entrepreneurs in fostering their startups, digital transformation consultancy, Open Innovation services, creation of apps and new technologies, AI, VR, innovation culture, and an array of educational programmes.
More than 600 people work and about 1,000 students learn at the main H-FARM campus and in its network of international schools, which boast an educational programme that is characterised by a digital approach that revolutionises the teaching and learning process, ranging from pre-school to post-graduate Masters courses.
Located in four offices across Italy – Milan, Turin, Rome, Catania – its main headquarters is in Ca’ Tron, just outside the town of Treviso in the Veneto region. This campus is situated in the middle of verdant countryside – an area that was originally intended to host a Disneyland-style theme park. H-FARM is a veritable farm of young talents, entrepreneurs and innovators: thanks to a global network of experts, internal transformation practices and a network of 4.5 million active startups accrued over 14 years of experience, creating a one-of-a-kind hub.
Thus far, €27,3 M has been invested in over 120 startups and more than 200 companies, both Italian and international, have collaborated with the Italian hub, which has been publicly listed since 2015. In 2018, the production value exceeded €50M and, for the very first time, the company reported a positive EBITDA.
The diversity of the people who work, study and live on the Ca’ Tron campus is a key asset of H-FARM, whose H stands for human. “We already have about 20,000 visitors per year attending our workshops, conferences, private events and utilising our co-working spaces. We are a platform driven by generational shifts and the impact of technology on daily life, and the natural outcome of this is innovation,” said Maurizio Rossi. This concept can be easily read on the faces of the people you meet here, walking along the gravel paths that connect one building to another. H-FARM is a place where enthusiasm and ambition go hand in hand, where people smile and say “Hi” to everyone that they meet.
The next step of H-FARM’s journey is to enlarge the Ca’ Tron headquarters by 2020-2021, developing a cutting edge educational campus that will hosts up to 3,000 people and that will become a place where startups, large corporations and students will work and learn side by side and will have multiple opportunities to collaborate together.
While H-FARM is waiting for approval to begin construction, the “red tractor” company is far from being stationary: as recently announced, H-FARM has opened an innovation hub in Barcelona that will support the evolution of business models for Spanish companies through Open Innovation and Corporate Innovation projects. This hub is managed by Aleix Valls, former CEO of Mobile World Capital Foundation. “This is only the first step in a strategy of international growth that will broaden H-FARM’s influence all over the world,” guarantees Mr Rossi.