Business & Finance
Brought to you by: Pastor Real Estate & Barclays
Some of the most exciting disruptive start-ups in Europe were brought together in one place on Friday to present their innovative concepts to local and international investors.
The Vroom Summit has risen beyond expectations once again, presenting everything from a solar powered car and Formula 1 simulator to a new biometric fingerprint for the art world.
Monaco Life spoke to Penelope Hope, Head of Luxury and Innovation Partnerships, about the value of Vroom and how this year’s outstanding selection was chosen.
Monaco Life: What is the concept behind the Vroom Summit?
Penelope Hope: Vroom Summit is designed to bring the best-of-the-best from the start up world to the top members of our investor syndicate across Europe. The concept is that we have a variety of short pitches from these companies, and our guests (investors) have the opportunity to invest in them. This gives them access to some of the top startup investments from across Europe.
How did you select the participants?
We conduct something called the Vroom Caravan which sees us visit the top 10 cities in Europe. While there we hold Dragons Den-style auditions for the hottest startups in the area in front of a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs from our network. We choose the top startup from each destination and invite them to pitch in Monaco.
What kind of people attend the summit?
Private investors, family offices, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, business angels, tech executives, and HNW/UHNW individuals looking for the best tech investment opportunities.
How would you rate the response to the summit?
This year we had an overwhelmingly positive response to the summit. In particular, people praised the quality of the startups and their pitches, the exciting array of product sponsors outside the event (some of which were seeking capital themselves so also represented great investment opportunities), the high quality of genuine and interested investors in attendance from all across Europe, and the great organisation of the Vroom Team.
Who were your favourite participants and why?
In terms of the product sponsors, we particularly loved the interactive products including the fantastic Formula 1 simulator car by Wave Italy, the virtual reality exercise machines by Icaros and the stunning automatic-gearbox electric bikes from Monaco company Stajvelo.
We also had two stunning yachts which were the stars of the show, both again made by Monaco-based companies which we are so proud to promote: the gorgeous Mercedes yacht Arrow460 by Silver Arrows Marine and the beautiful Porsche-designed yacht GTT 115 by Dynamiq, where all of our pitching companies had the opportunity to be interviewed.
In terms of pitching companies, we have already had a host of investors jump in for Rundit, the investor reporting app, Pass The Keys, the home-rental service sponsored by AirBnb, and Kool and Konscious, the retail shopping site for women promoting sustainable fashion. Next to that we also have investors jumping in for Inplayer, the online paywall monetisation company, Proxy42, the future of interactive gaming, and SchoolFox, the app that allows parents to connect with teachers to streamline school communication. All of these gave fantastic pitches with great energy and passion for their amazing companies.
A final favourite was Lightyear, the solar-powered road-friendly car which not only pitched but also exhibited at the event to the delight of many a passer-by in the Monaco marina.
Where and when will be the next Vroom Summit, and what is your vision for its future?
Currently Vroom Summit is an annual event and we will hold the next major summit in October 2020 at the Monaco Yacht Club. Our vision is that we take the Vroom Summit brand to other cities in Europe including Cannes, Lugano, Zug and London. Having run successfully for six years now, we have had time to refine the format so that it is punchy, cohesive and effective in bringing the best opportunities to serious investors. We’re confident that we can replicate this in other cities to broaden the network and benefit investors in other locations.
Monaco Life will be publishing our series of interviews with these participants over the coming week, so stay tuned!
Company news will pick up pace this week, with fourth-quarter earnings being published for more than 800 companies. That said, key macro data and economic news will also remain on investors’ watch list.
The Monegasque Department of Labour is taking its commitment to the Extended Monaco programme to the next level with a restructured system for employees and job seekers.
The Monaco Economic Board (MEB) made its first foray into Portugal last week, looking to sign on potential business partners and investors.
Monaco’s National Council President Stéphane Valeri has had his first meeting of the year with the press and took the opportunity to review the successes of 2019 and to present upcoming plans for 2020.
READ ALSO: What non-residents need to know about the automatic exchange of information from January 2017 READ ALSO: Tax advantage to go, QROPS overhaul READ ALSO: Hotel suite defence challenged in tax case
The sixth edition of the European Art Fair Monaco (EAF) takes place at the Grimaldi Forum from July 20-24, under the High Patronage of HSH Prince Albert II.
Although the name EAF Monaco is new this year, the art fair was formed in 2011 as an economic interest group under the name GIE Point Art Monaco (PAM). This followed the Monaco Antique Biennial, which ran from 1974 to 2005.
EAF Monaco is the collective initiative of four prominent Monegasque galleries that make up the organising committee, and, additionally, exhibit at the four day art expo: Adriano Ribolzi Art Gallery, Maison d’Art, A. Pallesi Art Gallery and M.F. Toninelli Art Modern. This year’s edition includes the appointment of director Mr Renaud Siegmann, an historian and art critic for over twenty years, who will help the fine art fair “promote the best of what humanity has created in the world of art, era notwithstanding”.
Thirty-one international exhibitors, as selective as prestigious, will be on hand representing ancient or modern art, drawings or paintings, sculptures or jewellery, including the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Montres DeWitt, known for its cutting edge innovation – the independent company was founded in 2003 by Jérôme de Witt, a descendant of Emperor Napoleon and the great-grandson of King Léopold II of Belgium – one of their watches contains Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair.
DeWitt made headlines this year when it launched “a self-winding mechanical timepiece” without hands, the Academia Mathematical Concept Watch No. 4.
According to its technical chart, the timepiece is fitted with a 42.5 mm round case in 18-carat rose gold and comprises 384 pieces, operating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and featuring a screwed balance and a 48-hour power reserve. Astonishingly, although the scattered numerals indicating hours and minutes seem random, they do tell the correct time.
Another big draw this year is the exceptional Italian jeweller, Pierandrea Sabbadini, co-owner of the family business in Milan, known for its bejewelled bees (and more recently, ostriches), combining precious stones with new materials, like titanium, aluminium, ceramic, steel and rubber.
On the art side, Giovanni Sarti moved his self-named gallery from London to Paris in 1996. “We’re entering a new era of collecting,” the Paris dealer Sarti told the New York Times in 2014 . “When people come into my gallery they look at the name and they ask the price. They don’t really look at the painting.” With a reputation as one of the most renowned experts in early Italian paintings, furniture and objets d’art, from the 13th to 18th centuries, G. Sarti Gallery specialises in 13th- to 15th-century Italian pictures, and are the only dealers qualified by the Conseil National des Experts Spécialisés (C.N.E.S.) in this field.
One of the world’s leading Old Masters galleries, Robilant + Voena, have galleries in London, Milan and St. Moritz, Switzerland. Mr Robilant, who will attend with Mr Voena, commented about the changing art world. “People don’t go to galleries any more, and they don’t buy old masters,” he told the New York Times. “They’re not part of the overall mood of today’s taste.”
One of the highlights at EAF Monaco 2016, and an indicator of the show’s wide-reaching reputation within the art world, is the Yufuku Gallery from Japan. The Economist observed that the pieces selected by / exhibited by the gallery owner Wahei Aoyama “demonstrate the ways in which Japan’s contemporary artists are shaking off those foreign distinctions again, and pushing the boundaries of what their traditional media and techniques can do”. By Nancy Heslin
EAF Monaco runs from July 20-24, 3pm to 9pm (10pm on Thursday). Joint tickets with the Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture exhibition are €16. Book tickets online at eafmonaco.com.