The 11 hottest startups in Italy

Musixmatch CEO Massimo CiociolaMusixmatchMusixmatch CEO Massimo Ciociola

Italy isn’t traditionally thought of as part of Europe’s tech cluster, but it has a growing collection of startups creating products and services that are used around the world.

Here’s a list of some of the hottest startups on the scene right now.

11. BeMyEye -- lets you earn money as a mystery shopper

BeMyEye Executive Chairman Gian Luca Petrelli

BeMyEye is a crowdsourcing site that lets retailers pay people to check stores and act as mystery shoppers. The company operates in Italy, Germany, France, and the UK. Retailers can publish a job on BeMyEye, and then local users can fulfil the role of mystery shopper and check out what's going on in the store.

The company was started by former Motorola employee Gian Luca Petrelli in 2011, and has raised over $US2.8 million in funding from Capital Bancorp, RedSeed Ventures, Pietro De Nardis and 360 Capital Partners.

10. Circle Garage -- the touchless smart watch

Circle Garage CEO Marco Gaudina

Circle Garage is an Italian startup that produces hardware products. Its current product is the Hiris, a wearable device that sits on your wrist that you don't actually need to touch. Instead, you just have to wave your hand over the watch screen in a certain way for it to understand what function you want it to do, which makes it useful for people like snowboarders who have to wear gloves. The Hiris has raised over $US87,000 on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, which is over its target amount.

9. MoneyFarm -- tailor-made financial advice

MoneyFarm CEO Giovanni Daprà

MoneyFarm is a Milan-based startup that can provide tailor-made financial advice. It helps customers create a portfolio of funds, and lets users track investments over time.

The company has received $US5.6 million in investment from investors including United Ventures, Jupiter Ventures, Principia SGR, and Vittorio Terzi.

8. GiPStech -- GPS location on steroids

GiPStech CEO Gaetano D'Aquila

GIPStech creates localisation technology for places where GPS just doesn't cut it. Shops can use it to track customers, and hospitals can also use the technology to track patients and medical equipment.

The company can even estimate which direction a customers is facing, and plot that information on a map of the store or hospital. The Rende-based company raised a €200,000 seed round in 2014 from the Italian Angels for Growth fund.

7. Stereomood -- an algorithm for matching your music to your mood

Stereomood CEO Daniele Novaga

Founded in Milan in 2008, Stereomood tries to match users' moods to music from blogs around the internet. Users come to the site, select their mood, and it uses data from other users to suggest music that they might like. Every month it raises money to support its server costs, keeping the site alive.

The company raised a round of seed funding in 2012 from Innogest Sgr and Italian Angels for Growth.

6. Pathflow -- 'real-life analytics'

Pathflow CEO Alberto Gangarossa

Rome-based Pathflow is a company that helps businesses track what it calls 'real-life analytics.' Companies can use Pathflow to measure what customers actually do in their shops, and then act on that data. The software isn't available to everyone yet, but it's being trialled in retail stores across Italy.

Pathflow raised €105,000 in seed funding in 2013 from investors including H-FARM Ventures, Club Italia Investimenti, and Maurizio Donadelli.

5. AppsBuilder -- apps with no coding required

AppsBuilder CEO Daniele Pelleri

Creating an app isn't easy -- but Milan-based startup AppsBuilder is trying to make it more simple. The site lets developers put together templates and create their own apps with no coding experience required.

It was launched in Milan in 2010, and has since grown to include another office in Catania. The company raised $US1.5 million in funding in 2014 from Italian VC fund United Ventures.

4. MusiXmatch -- 7 million lyrics in 38 different languages

Musixmatch CEO Massimo Ciociola

MusiXmatch is a lyrics database site that was started in Bologna, Italy, in 2010. Since then, it has grown to over 30 million users, and has over 7 million lyrics on its site in 38 different languages. The company has also launched mobile apps that let you listen to music with the lyrics right there with you, as well as a video clip sharing app (called Clip).

MusiXmatch has brought in over $US10 million in funding, including $US5 million from Roberto Condulmari, Kairos Legacy Partners, Paolo Basilico, United Ventures, and P101.

2. iubenda -- easy-peasy privacy policy

iubenda CEO Andrea Giannangelo

Milan-based iubenda lets startups easily create a privacy policy for their website, Facebook app, or mobile app by simply entering in what they do, as well as which services they use. iubenda does the hard work, and generates an embeddable privacy policy that is easy to read, and is remotely updated to stay current (and legal).

CEO Andrea Giannangelo started developing websites at age 10, and started iubenda in 2011 with $US100,000 in seed funding from investors including startup accelerator Boox, Gianluca Dettori, Andrea Di Camillo, Stefano Bernardi, and Marco Magnocavallo.

1. YOOX -- Net-a-Porter's parent

Yoox CEO Federico Marchetti

Yoox is a fashion website that lets people order clothes online. It's hugely popular in Italy in addition to over 100 different countries around the world.

It was announced in March that Yoox had acquired Net-a-Porter, the British fashion sale website. The two sites merged to create one large online fashion retailer: Yoox Net-a-Porter Group.

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