A Startup Story About the New Made in Italy Polaroid

The New Polaroid Pierpaolo Basso - Guest Blogger

The hi-tech world often looks into the past to combine the pleasure of "vintage" with an innovation twist. The "Socialmatic" project is an example of it: a digital camera that can print photos and also share them online. This project has been "adopted" by Polaroid and now it represents one of the coolest devices in this historical (75 years old) company's catalog .

What is very interesting about this innovative camera is that it is entirely CREATED IN CAMPANIA (the Southern Italian Region that includes Naples, Salerno, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii...).  In fact  the "Deus ex machina" of this intuition is Antonio De Rosa, a young web designer born in 1975 in Cava de' Tirreni, a city close to Salerno, Italy.  He got inspired from the social network Instagram, which was bought by Facebook in 2012 for 1 billion of dollars.

So, taking the concept of Photo sharing into the world of THE INTERNET OF THINGS, Antonio created a real camera with a social networking aspect and a lot of additional capabilities to make it special: for instance being able to print real pics like the old-fashioned Polaroids.

Today the Socialmatic camera, can even count on a Mood Assistant which helps you finding new followers thanks to your personal QR code and it shows the "camera's feelings".  Moreover, it gives you the chance to interact through the most important social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Antonio, like several young Southern Italian entrepreneurs, began his career developing (at a very young age indeed, 17) video games; since then, in the last few years he collaborated with Apple in the development of the very first "iWatch" products, which are currently taking over the market.  Finally he founded a startup called ADR Studio which created the camera that, after a crowdfunding campaign, caught the attention of the giant camera maker Polaroid.

Once I had the chance to ask him what he would suggest to young Southern Italian dreamers and Antonio answered the following: "This is a question that unfortunately has a very bitter answer.  If this state of things continues, there is no future here (in Italy). I'll give you my example:  I received tons of requests for this project, from investors and potential partners. But zero interest in Italy. Absolutely nothing." De Rosa continues: "We cannot see, in my humble opinion, beyond our noses; so all those young "foolish and hungry"  innovators we have in Italy, unfortunately, end up taking their creativity abroad where there is a more fertile soil for planting new ideas".

Even if his point of view gives a sad yet realistic picture (no pun intended) of present Italy, we can also underline how, again, the strength of a good idea and a tenacious entrepreneur behind it, will bring in investors.

De Rosa's success story shows us how barriers have been lowered by the global economy and the power of the Internet and interconnectivity, so it's a lot easier for a great idea to be discovered and valued even outside of its country of origin.  And this innovative camera is the actual picture of this path to success!