American investors for a technology created in Tuscan research centers. The innovation of regional laboratories serves as the basis for an Italian business story that has now become a Silicon Valley sotyr. The Sensing Electromagnetic Plus, or simply Sem+, start-up is just a few years old, but it has already received the first American investment from Plug&Play, an important Silicon Valley incubator: the innovative technology, patented by the Italian Institute of Techonology (ITT) – a center created by the Ministry of Education, University and Research and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, with the objectives of promoting excellence in basic and applied research and of favoring the development of the national economic system – allows the latest generation flexible screens into “touch” screens.
Beyond being simple and “multitouch” (and therefore sensitive to different types of touching), the product developed by Sem+ allows for the natural interaction between users and flexible and curved surfaces – the company explains in a statement – primarily used in consumer electronics, but also found in the apparel, robotics, and rehabilitation sectors. The idea was conceived in the Center for Micro-Bio-Robotics at the ITT in Pontedera (near Pisa), from the collaboration of three young research who then began to transform their scientific competencies into an entrepreneurial project.
Last year, Sem+ was selected to participate in the acceleration program at the SeedLab for technological start-ups, where the business plan was refined, and established contacts with its first potential investors. Indeed, SeedLab is a program organized by Italian venture capital funds that support new potential entrepreneurs in the improvement of managerial skills, in the formation of work teams, and in the definition of a solid business plan – the final step consists of a meeting with institutional investors. It is precisely through this SeedLab phase that the Sem+ founders were put into contact with Plug&Play, who was interested in financing, with an initial investment, the company’s first presence in the United States.
“We are now beginning a new phase of our path, which we believe will take us to other important commercial successes, after having invested so much in research and innovation”, Alessandro Levi, one of Sem+’s founders, explains. “Now, with Plug&Play, we are starting to gain the interest of international investors and of individuals with a proven track record in the hi-tech field who will assist us in creating a solid business model and help us get onto the market with our products.” In recent weeks, Sem+ had also won the Intel Business Challenge Europe – one of the most prestigious prizes for technologies and innovations applied to the ICT, biotechnology, nanotechnology and healthcare sectors.