1Million USD from Microsoft to a Southern Italian Innovator

Startupper Adriano Farano New exciting sprouts of economic vitality keep coming from Southern Italy: a problematic area where most industrial development has failed, but individual innovators are succeeding.  This is the story of Adriano Farano, 34 years old, native of Cava de' Tirreni (close to Salerno, like Antonio De Rosa, the inventor of the new Polaroid), created an innovative newscast app called Watchup the fastest way to watch the news.

The media has noticed Watchup and comments: "Watchup leads you to superior content while you lean back" (The Economist); "The new clipboard for videos" (Mashable, leader magazine for hi-tech), "Watchup aims to be the only iPad news video app you’ll ever need" Venturebeat; and we could go on.

Pierpaolo Basso - Guest Blogger

The uniqueness of Watchup, that you can download on iTunes , is its simplicity.  You turn it on, and it incessantly scrolls videos and news from several world news agencies (such as the Associated Press).  You can also schedule the time you prefer to get the news and it "learns" from your behavior. Watchup, in fact, collects your likes and repeated news choices to show you content that increasingly fits your taste.

The main concept behind this project is to create a multichannel news app that is not "linear" anymore.  This means that there is no more control or preventive journalistic filter on content but, instead, you get free surfing, unchained from editorial "censorship".


In 2011 Farano was awarded with the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University and during this period he co-founded and developed Watchup which caught the interest of several investors and it ended up raising $1,000,000 USD from a pool including Microsoft Ventures, StartX, Knight Foundation, Ned Lamont etc.

The question is, what will be next for this brave Italian startupper who has since decided to move to Silicon Valley to work and raise his family?  Google Glass of course.  There is an option for this APP to interact with this new technology which allows you to scroll through headlines, see photographs, watch videos and also get article summaries.

But let's discover more about this "Made in Southern Italy" skilled entrepreneur.   His resume spells out his entrepreneurial qualifications loud and clear:  he graduated in political science from LUISS  University in Rome. He co-founded cafebabel.com, a multilingual pan-European news platform, in 2001. This web-magazine is a pioneer in collaborative journalism with more than 10,000 contributors.

Farano has written for Le Figaro and was a radio columnist on European Union affairs for France Culture public radio broadcasting. He also taught online courses at the Université de Marne-laVallée and Paris’ CFPJ journalism school.

His first media experience?  In 1989, as he tells on his blog.  He was just 9 years old when he created a small newspaper to explain to his classmates the significance of the fall of the Berlin's Wall.  The teacher, after a bit, decided to stop his "venture", because the paper was selling too much.  But she couldn't manage to cut his entrepreneurial wings, not at all!