Lorenzo Valeriani
CategoriesEntrepreneurship Startups

In this interview series, we’re excited to introduce you to the people behind the scenes at META Group. Meet Lorenzo Valeriani, who has been a part of the organization since his internship in 2016 and has carved out a career as a project manager and startup coach.

Outside of work, Lorenzo has a passion for football and vintage video games. His educational background includes MBA program at the University of Perugia and an specialization in quantitative finance at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Lorenzo also spent six months at SRH Hochschule in Berlin, thanks to the Erasmus program.

How has been your path at META Group?
Initially, I began as an intern for six months, and eventually transitioned to a full-time employee. My initial role involved providing support for tasks related to the development of the company’s Intranet system. However, my responsibilities shifted towards the financial branch of the company, particularly focusing on META Ventures. I worked on the management of the startups and the portfolio companies within Italy. My focus was on supporting the different investment managers monitoring the startups. I continued this task for two years before becoming involved in a diverse range of projects across META Group.

However, my connection with the financial and funding aspects of the company remains strong. I continue to collaborate with funds and startups, particularly with an educational perspective in mind. Our goal is to support business initiatives seeking funding and provide them with the necessary tools and expertise to secure financial backing.

What do you do on a typical work day?
Typically, I handle one or two projects simultaneously, although it can vary depending on the period. My process begins by thoroughly reviewing all the tasks associated with each project and assessing their current status. The approach differs significantly depending on whether we’re acting as coordinators or not.

When we’re in a coordinating role, our responsibilities include continuous monitoring of all the partners involved. This often entails designing programs, which can be quite demanding. During project delivery phases, I’m responsible for organizing the execution process. Additionally, I frequently conduct one-on-one sessions, workshops, and project-related activities. After the projects are successfully completed, there’s a phase dedicated to reporting and evaluation.

Which projects are you currently involved in?
The main so far is Circular Invest where we are technical coordinator. It’s a matter of coordinating and monitoring other partner’s activities. Circular Invest is a project development assistant initiative. It is run under the umbrella of CCRI (Circular Cities and Regions Initiative). Circular Invest aims to support circular economy related projects in being more investors ready and closing the funding gap that they need. Now we are in the initial phase, meaning that in the past months we have worked on the design of the structure of this assistance. Our IT team at META Group has developed the platform, for example. In the meanwhile, we have opened a call for applications and right now we’re in the evaluation phase of the candidatures. From October, the deliver of the services will take place and we as META Group will coordinate the experts.

Another initiative that we have closed recently was the pitch academy that we run together with Business Angels Europe dedicated to Horizon Results Booster’s beneficiaries. These beneficiaries were selected by the European Commission to pitch their projects to a group of business angels, with a focus on technologies aimed at combatting cancer and addressing climate change. We conducted both one-on-one sessions and group workshops to enhance their pitching skills, and we were pleased to receive highly positive feedback from the participants.

Which is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part is a matter always of flexibility. Being flexible is crucial for achieving all the objectives laid out in the project’s proposal. If you’re not open-minded enough to find the right path and to approach different perspectives, you’re not going to succeed. I believe that behind this flexibility, there’s a definite sense of curiosity, a willingness to keep an eye on developments in the field. If you’re not aware of what’s going on in the ecosystem, you’re not getting enough resources and you’re not able to realize how others are succeeding. So, it’s essential to grasp that there’s not just one path to your goals. Staying updated and discovering new methods of doing things is key.

What do you like the most about it?
I’d say freedom, meaning you’re not follow a scheme. Even when you have to work within a framework, there’s ample opportunity to discover innovative approaches to achieve your objectives. Also, I like seeing the impact that our efforts have on society or on specific goals set by the Commission.

What are some trends that you identify in your field?
In the field of training, it’s no longer just about providing content and teaching valuable skills. The competition is fierce, and those seeking training also expect connections through networking, guidance on achieving their goals, and practical advice. To be successful, you must address these aspects. This approach increases the likelihood of having satisfied startups who will speak highly of your training and recommend it to others. Therefore, nowadays is very important to be able to offer an external positive network effect and we always try to include it in our training services.

Could you share with us a nice METAmemory?
During my internship, or shortly afterward—I can’t recall the exact timing—in my first year at META Group, I was working closely with Anna Amati, one of my first mentors here. She assigned me to attend a conference in Southern Italy. I felt quite nervous because I was relatively new to the field. However, Anna reassured me, saying I only needed to share a few insights about our company’s experiences.

As I was talking with the event moderator just before it began, they unexpectedly introduced entirely different questions and topics for discussion that I hadn’t prepared for. It was a pretty stressful and tough moment. However, now I can smile about it and appreciate it as a valuable opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Check out other interviews with Anita Tregner, Lorenzo BarabaniMarco Franchin or Frédérique Pannier.