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Riccardo Donadon

Seed

“The consumerization of technology will bring into the home all of those products that were imagined in science fiction films in the 1970s.”

The natural harbor for a serial entrepreneur who was able to combine the new economy's potential for growth (keyword: imagination) with the entrepreneurial spirit of the North-East of Italy (keyword: concreteness) is to show the others the way, perhaps helping them take their first steps. Today, Donadon's H-farm - with offices in Italy, Seattle and Mumbai - is trying to build something more than a simple business. It is an "incubator" for ideas and people, created for them to feel secure and at ease as part of tomorrow’s economic future.

ABOUT RICCARDO DONADON

Riccardo Donadon was born in Treviso in 1967. After high school, he entered the Psychology faculty of the University of Padua, but did not remain long as academic studies were not for him. He began working in the family business in 1990, but his two dreams - cinema and the Internet - remained strong. In 1995, after his family refused to support his investment in a hub called I.NET in Treviso, he enthusiastically accepted a proposal to create an online group for the Benetton sporting world. In 1996, Benetton Basketball, Sisley Volley and Benetton Rugby were the first Italian teams to have their own website. In addition, Riccardo also gave Benetton the idea of having the first online shopping center in the country: Mall Italy Lab. With backing from some notable partners, www.mall.it soon became one of Italy's leading online shopping centers. With over 200 leading companies, it was the first site to go online in 1997, with secure electronic transactions. It was sold in 1998 to Infostrada, which incorporated it into the e-sales section of Libero.it. In 1998, he created a webagency called E-TREE with eight employees and an open space of 600 square meters. In no time at all, it became a benchmark in Italy for work style, mentality, speed of growth and as an innovative business model. 1999 was a game-changing year for E-TREE: a three-year agreement with Infostrada; Infostrada bought Mall Italy Lab, which had become the leading Italian mall with over 3 million online companies; creation of the Infostrada web portal and the Benetton intranet; agreement with Art Technology Group in Boston and management of the site for the European Basketball Championships in Paris; and finally, the majority stake in the company was sold to Etnoteam. By the end of that year there were 41 people working for the company. In 2001, Riccardo sold the rest of his stake in E-TREE, which had 160 employees, to the Etnoteam group. In 2003 he took two years off, returning to his entrepreneurial ways in 2005 with H-Farm. With offices in Italy, India and the USA, H-Farm is an incubator for hi-tech projects that provides not only financial resources, consulting and know-how, but also a culture of sharing and trust during the start-up phase. H-Farm's charter contains words like Humanity, Simplicity, Collaboration, Creativity, Rationality, Passion, Curiosity and Innovation. Since he started with H-Farm, Riccardo has created about 30 companies, some of which, like the "historic" H-Care and H-Art, have already been sold.

INTERVIEW WITH PATRIZIO PAOLETTI

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

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