Talent Garden in Milan: the start-ups chosen by Ferran Adrià

Talent Garden in Milan: the start-ups chosen by Ferran Adrià

We went to the Talent Garden of Isola in Milan with Ferran Adrià to find out which new start-ups will operate in Italy and beyond.

The start-ups of the Talent Garden Milano Isola had an exceptional sponsor for their first public release. In fact, the only Italian hub with a department dedicated solely to food and its transformation was launched in the new Ferran Adrià complex ,talent garden isola is the third Milanese campus and the first dedicated to foodthe absolute innovator of world food. Born in 2011 in Brescia, Talent Garden aims to encourage the growth of entrepreneurs, professionals and companies of all sizes, from small and medium-sized businesses to large corporates through the sharing of spaces, the creation of training activities and networking programs. The model has rapidly expanded in Europe where there are Campuses in 23 cities for 8 countries (Albania, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, Romania, Spain), numbers that have led Talent Garden to be the European leader in its sector. The third Talent Garden campus in Milan (the others are the Calabiana in the Porta Romana area and the Merano in Turro) is designed to host a community of over 150 members in a building of more than 2,000 square meters and is the only one with Food Lab, a space dedicated to companies that carry out research and innovation in the world of food tech and sustainability.

” Food tech – explains Davide Dattoli , founder and CEO of Talent Garden – is the oldest technology in the world, human history has advanced by evolving production processes and techniques but today the theme is no longer just feeding everyone but how to do it without destroying the planet. In 2050 there will be almost 10 billion people on earth and development as it has been interpreted to date is no longer sustainable. For this reason, as active players in the innovation and digital ecosystem, we have decided to invest in this direction. Although in fact, Italy is the third European ecosystem for investments behind the UK and France, Europe accounts for only 9% of world funding in the food tech sector.“. Not only start-ups or small companies have taken up residence in the Milanese Talent Garden, but also giants of the caliber of Accenture, Blu1877 (Barilla), Coldiretti, Eataly, Electrolux, Future Food Institute, Gambero Rosso, Unilever, VarGroup, Lavazza.

And thanks to Lavazza’s collaboration, the scientist chef Ferran Adrià was able to test some of the companies present on the campus to give them his invaluable advice.adrià was very direct, highlighting the difficulties of start-upsThe premise was certainly not encouraging given that Adrià began by saying that “ 99.9% of start-ups fail within 5 years. I elaborated these data by talking to countless people who have created projects that combine technology and nutrition “. The cause of the failure, according to the chef, is that the underlying concept is wrong because it is not inherent with market demands. “ In my life – said Adrià – I only invested in a start-up that dealt with local tourist guides. I invested 75,000 euros which, after the acquisition by a hospitality giant, multiplied by 8 times“. But after this fortunate experience Adrià has decided not to bet on start-ups anymore, especially in the food world, despite the constant requests from young entrepreneurs. “ Thanks to my experience – continued Ferran – I can give feedback on new ideas after only 2 minutes of conversation “. After this statement it is easy to understand the trepidation with which the representatives of the selected companies (the choice criterion was the presence on the market) welcomed the chef’s visit.


  1. Benvolio 1938 . Benvolio 1938 is an Italian company specializing in the production of organic and conventional seed and olive oils. The company’s studies are focusing on the traceability of the entire supply chain. Thus, starting from next January, an area will be active on the company site where, by reading the QR Code shown on the label, it will be possible to go up the supply chain to the cultivation field.
  2. Cosaporto.it , the first quality delivery in Italy. Currently active in Milan, Rome, Turin and, in a few months, London, the marketplace offers a selection of the products of the best realities in the city, with a focus on food, drink, design and flowers, which are delivered, accompanied by a card. customized, in a matter of hours. The business model includes agreements with important players in the Italian restaurant industry such as Niko Romito and Heinz Beck who offer their creations exclusively on Cosaporto.it.
  3. Mulan Group . Mulan Group is the first Italian company to produce fresh and frozen Asian ready meals. Starting with a single point of sale, today the Mulan Group offers are present in more than 3,000 large-scale retail outlets. The team of Asian chefs cooks more than 50,000 dishes a week according to the ancient oriental culinary art which uses the most advanced European technologies in the mixing and packaging phases. We had already tested their dishes in the editorial office .
  4. Quomi.it delivers at home a food box with fresh and dosed ingredients to prepare seasonal recipes following the simple instruction sheets. Quomi.it is the start-up that was the first to introduce meal kits in Italy to prepare dinners at home, to which boxes have been added for other consumption occasions such as breakfast, lunch or for a break in the office.
  5. Orapesce.it is an e-commerce platform that delivers fresh fish caught in Italy, on the Adriatic coast from Romagna to San Benedetto del Tronto, at home or in a restaurant (collaborations with other southern marinas are coming). The fish is all sourced from small fishing fleets from local consortia and is delivered clean within 48-72 hours. Delivery is in thermal boxes with refrigerated vehicles. On the site there is a section dedicated to recipes that can be replicated in a maximum of half an hour.
  6. Vivino App (Italian version). Vivino is the largest community of wine lovers in the world. Thanks to the data collected from the 18 international versions, but Vivino is downloaded all over the world, the marketplace (the only one dedicated only to wine) suggests personalized recommendations on bestsellers but also indications on the most correct way to combine wine and many other information.

At this point all that is missing is Ferran Adrià’s report : “Granted that I can be wrong, logically, among all those I have seen, the two that can be successful are the app dedicated to wine and the Chinese food company. The problem I see in the wine app is how easily it can be copied. If from tomorrow he wants to go public, he should think about it. I see very well an acquisition by Google, Facebook, Instagram as a service within a social network. The success of the Chinese food company is instead to be found in the popular level of its products. So it can reach millions of people unlike the e-commerce of sweets, which I find extraordinary, or fresh fish which are niche. At this point one wonders how much luxury projects work on the Internet “.

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