FEATURES » Matteo Achilli - The Italian Mark Zuckerberg?

Matteo Achilli - The Italian Mark Zuckerberg?

A young Italian entrepreneur, the 24 year old Matteo Achilli has become a celebrity for his start-up “Egomnia”, a social network to connect Italian Bocconi University graduates to the world of work. "The Start-up," was turned into a recently released film, celebrating the success of the “Italian Mark Zuckerberg”. The film caused further reflection and journalists’ investigations on Matteo Achilli's story which cast new light on his allegedly extraordinary success.   

 

Matteo Achilli launched his professional social network, “Egomnia” when he was a student at the prestigious business school Bocconi University in Milan in 2012. “Egonomia” is a portmanteau of the Latin ego, "self," and omnia, "everything".

 

At the beginning his sole investor was his father, who had given him €10,000 to pay his only employee, a contracted developer. 

 

Achilli's start-up dream made news on the newspapers because of a blog post which went viral, boosting what actually was not yet a full-filled success.  

 

The story stood out in Italy, a country with an unemployment rate over 12%, where it was especially notable that a young man wanted to help those of his generation to find jobs. 

 

In March 2012, Achilli's face donned the cover of the magazine “Panorama” with the title "Italian Zuckerberg." The story was still based on Achilli's potential, rather than any results.

 

Two years later, the BBC included Achilli in its documentary series "The Next Billionaires," the BBC documentary was largely based on the Panorama story based on the viral blog post.

 

In 2017, the release of the film “The start-up” prompted Italian journalists to actually do some digging to discover how much of the dramatic film was real and how much was a myth.

 

The actual numbers painted a bleak picture for a five-year-old company worthy of a film. Egomnia's 2015 financial report showed that the company had €314,000 in earnings; €120,000 in debt (€111,000 expiring in 2016); and a little over €100,000 in operating profit. Net profit was only €5,000. Moreover, while Egomnia may have 847,000 registered users, the site performance tracker Webtrekk registered fewer than 300,000 total visits over the last two years. In addition, many of the partnerships proudly displayed on Egomnia's website are no longer customers or they had never been.      

 

Apparently, the truth is that Egomnia has fewer than a dozen employees and Achilli is a young entrepreneur who tried to launch the next big tech start-up but failed, just like thousands of other young people. 

Giulia Lombardo

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