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Insight // Our Programs


By Marco Mari - August 25th, 2017

Italy is a world-leading creative manufacturing powerhouse, and we are strongly committed in gathering the best talents and resources in the world to foster its vision and leadership.
After 4 four years of educational and corporate innovation programs, we have decided to map and open the Italian high-end manufacturing know-how to select, invest in and accelerate emerging new companies.

Companies that are able to natively translate the Italian know-how on a global and digital scale, fast-paced by nature and internationally populated since their beginnings.

As an educational, beyond-profit, organization we are helping our founders with the creation of energetic and world-class teams thanks to our collaboration with Stanford Global Studies and our network of alumni.

Discover our start-up teams and follow them during their 2-month Italian Innovation Journey!

Rossi and Rei Team
Rossi & Rei is a marketplace for luxury essentials that can be customized and pre-ordered from the best Italian artisans.

Elisa Rossi — the founder of Rossi&Rei! — is a young professional who holds an M.A. degree in Translation and Conference Interpreting from University of Bologna, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). She’s worked at Apple from 2005 to 2011 where she grew up to the role of Globalization Manager. She then worked at Eventbrite as senior Manager of International Product Strategy and Operations, and later at Square as Brand and Product Marketing Lead. She’s recently founded Rossi&Rei and is now in Italy to accelerate it!

Sauming Seto is a management consultant and MBA student at the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). She is currently employed at Accenture where she has worked for 5 years. Sauming has extensive experience in strategy, operations, and international business. She is also a freelance consultant and has had the chance to collaborate with Elisa on Rossi&Rei already.

Phoebe Kimm is a freshman at Stanford pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science. She was awarded a prize at the Developer Camp at Google Startup LaunchPad and co-founded a Volunteer Math Tutoring Program.

Nicolette Grabiec is a sophomore at Stanford pursuing a B.S. in Engineering and Product Design, with a coursework that includes computer science, marketing, design sketching. She founded her own handmade jewellery business. She interned in the Consumer Experience Design (CXD) Department at Motorola and was later a design intern at Branch Metrics, a deep linking, attribution and mobile marketing Silicon Valley start-up.

Söm Team
Söm helps millennial wine drinkers build self-efficacy by demystifying the complicated world of wine and making wine education experiential and digestible.

Eesha Choudari — the founder of Söm! — has just graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Engineering, with a major she designed herself in Technology, Product Design and Management that encompasses design thinking, technical skills, business intuition and entrepreneurship methodologies.

Lucy Wang has just completed her MBA at HBS and she previously attended Wharton (UPenn) with a B.S. in Economics, Finance and accounting. Lucy has worked at Microsoft for 3 years, staring as Strategy Manager for Microsoft Corporate Strategy and then taking on the role of Product Planner for Microsoft Next Generation Devices. Lucy recently co-founded Retailconnect, an Inventory Management Start up for Retailers.

Mario Serrano is a fourth year student of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Mario recently interned at El Equipo Mazzanti, an internationally-recognized Colombian design studio specialising in socially driven architectonic design and academic research. Mario is an active member of the IIT student community.

Tracy DiPetrillo graduated in 2015 from Cornell with a B.A. in Economics, minoring in Business and European Studies. Since then, she’s been an International Account Coordinator at International Forest Products. Tracy held several leadership positions in on-campus activities and organizations. Among her hobbies and interests, is frequenting distillery, brewery, and winery tastings & tours.

The Grain Foods Company Team
The Grain Foods Company is a pasta maker and a bakery, which is leveraging lean start-up and design thinking methodologies to create customer centric and big data based revolutionary grain based products.

Marco Mari is the co-founder of the Italia Innovation Program where he currently leads the New Ventures. He is co-director of Fabrica Futures, the meta department dedicated to shape the future of the research center founded by the Benetton Group and Chief Digital and Creative Officer of Domori, the chocolate branch of the illy Group.

Akshay Verma has just graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in Economics, and a secondary field in European History, Politics, and Societies, with a coursework that included Designing for Desirability, Psychology, Behavioral Research and Italian. Akshay studies abroad at the University of Amsterdam. His early jobs enhanced his skills on UX and Design Experience.

Emily Rapada is a senior from Stanford pursuing a B.S. in Product Design Engineering, where she’s learned the design process from renowned design professors, such as David Kelley and Bill Burnett, with a coursework that included Design Sketching, Digital Design, Product Design Methods/Process and and Italian. Emily held several leadership positions in on-campus activities and organizations.

Micheal Morrissey is a junior from Stanford pursuing a B.S. in Management Science & Engineering, with a coursework that includes computer science, psychology, visual thinking, economics, accounting and entrepreneurship. Michael co-founded Safabiogas, a project he undertook as part of the Imagine Tomorrow — Technology Challenge, to bring clean cooking fuel to rural Nepalese villages.

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The 2017 Italia Innovation Program

International entrepreneurial talents, a world-class faculty, iconic Italian brands and three emerging start-ups.