Federico Masi is up until 2:00am most nights. But he’s not out on the club scene.
Alongside a full-time role at Italian IT services firm Cabel, he works every day after work to develop his big data-crunching startup. Founded in 2014, Strokin is a double sided management platform for the entertainment business.
Customers use the Strokin card connected to the Strokin Android app to pay for drinks, track their spending, and network with other party-goers. At the same time, Strokin software feeds back data to club managers on customer spending – on drinks, cloakrooms, table orders – in real-time, allowing them to better manage their nights.
A serial entrepreneur, Federico developed his latest business idea during a part-time MBA at Italy’s MIP Politecnico di Milano. While there, he won the Italian chapter of the CleanTech Challenge 2015, co-founding a startup aimed at minimizing food waste.
But he reduced his involvement to focus on Strokin. And in April, the tech-savvy business school supported him, putting on a networking event for its MBA students to test the Strokin app.
Now, Federico is looking for investors and new customers in the Tuscany area of Italy. He’s confident in what his business can bring, and is aiming for a valuation of €10 million ($11.3 million) in the next 5 years.
How did the idea to start Strokin come about?
Around two years ago I started to work with a friend of mine, thinking about how to improve entertainment management; how to collect data in order to help club managers make better decisions during, before and after an event.
Clubs in Italy don’t know their customers. Our principle aim is to give information to support them in terms of operations and decision making, and to give them a better understanding of their customers.
What challenges do you face?
The most important challenge we’re facing is how to trigger the spreading of the application; the intention to download and use the app during an event. And how to communicate the advantage of using the app to meet new people.
What do you hope to achieve?
In my MBA final project, me and my team evaluated that our business plan would have a value of $10 million in five years. We’re looking for an investor who believes in what we will create in the future.
Nobody nowadays has a deeper understanding of how people are actually spending during their night out. Where people are going, what people are consuming, which drinks they prefer; this is the kind of data we can collect.
How has MIP supported you in your business venture?
I think the MBA was one of the most important steps I took in order to become a good entrepreneur.
I started beforehand, but most of the evolution in terms of the business model comes from the knowledge that I gathered during my MBA. It gave me a better understanding of how business works; the methodologies, the analytical and problem solving skills.
Most importantly, I was able to test the Strokin app during an event organized by MIP for all MBA students. Considering that it was a beta test, they found a lot of possible improvements. But for me, it was a success, and MIP are looking to use Strokin during other events next year.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at MIP?
To improve my knowledge about business and my network. And because I want to be an entrepreneur. I was starting Strokin and I looked at an MBA as a good support for my entrepreneurial adventure.
Considering my startup has a strong tech backbone, MIP was the best choice. Politecnico di Milano is the most important engineering and tech university in Italy. The relationship with the university, the network, even the business professors at MIP follow a tech trend.
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