Forward Factory is an acceleration program  dedicated to digital innovation startups in the manufacturing domain

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Remain for you to apply with your project

Our offer

0 K

of equity investment, from 5% to 15%, for each startup. At the end of the program, the best startups can access a follow-on investment.

0 Months

of acceleration that will touch on all the key aspects of the startup’s success. From the idea, to the startegy, to the product, to the market, we will build a scalable business together.

POC with companies

The startup will work alongside the companies, directly within production environments. They will leverage on assets and specific capabilities for the POC development. 

This will foster the development, testing and improvement of the solution and establish a relationship with the production area.


Access a founders’ network, Subject Matter Expert, investors, and mentors coming from the business, digital, and manufacturing world.

Target startups

We are looking for startups with innovative technologies and digital solutions which can be implemented in production areas and manufacturing processes, in order to meet real factory needs.

Build the use case for your solution

Are you unsure if your solution could be relevant for our accelerator?

Select technologies and application domains to discover some relevant use cases.


application domains

use-case examples

Select an application field and a technology

If you have developed any use case that you cannot find, apply and propose it to us! We’re happy to have a chat with you.

Technology clusters


Distributed, decentralized transaction logs for tracking shared and irrefutable data between different parties

Virtual and augmented reality

VR 3D computer graphics, platforms for augmented reality

Modeling and simulation

Virtual simulator, models for digital manufacturing

Cloud Computing

Platforms leveraging computational capacity and cloud-based data systems

Industrial IoT

Internet-of-things: platforms that integrate smart sensors or other sensors. It includes software systems for the monitoring and maintenance of equipment and assets.

Artificial intelligence and Big Data

AI-based data collection, analysis, processing and solution creation

Cyber Security

Encryption, hashing algorithms, and any systems that protect against cyber attacks

Digital robotics

Digital solutions to support robots and factory machines

Application domains


Activities to streamline and optimize maintenance, through failure prediction, intelligent planning, and remote assistance systems


Techniques and processes for the design of products and services


Systems for quality control and all activities aimed at improving the quality of products and services


Production techniques and the organization of activities along all operational processes

Customer Insights & Experience

The evolution of the user experience through interaction with products and with the company, to discover the true wishes of customers

Supply Chain

The evolution of the user experience through interaction with products and with the company, to discover the true wishes of customers

Use of resources

In funding for digitization, innovation, competitiveness, and culture

Digital workforce

The worker of the future, with a new DNA and new ways of interacting with the production process

Why Italy

0 Billion

in funding for digitization, innovation, competitiveness, and culture

0 th

Country in the world for export of manufactured products

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Companies in the manufacturing sector

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Value-added to the manufacturing sector from Italian producers

+ 0 %

Venture capital deals in 2020

+ %

Growth of the manufacturing sector in 2021

About us

The accelerator is an innovation ecosystem that brings together Italian leaders who invest, operate in manufacturing, and support startups’ growth. It exists to stimulate and grow effective, sustainable system initiatives.

Partners & Investors

CDP Venture Capital

Investor & Promoter


Manager and co-investor

EIT Manufacturing

Ecosystem Enabler


Ecosystem Enabler


Ecosystem Enabler & investitore

Azimut Libera Impresa

Corporate Partner and Investor

Angelini Industries

Corporate Partner and Investor

Comer Industries

Corporate Partner & Investitore

SCM Group

Corporate Partner and Investor

VIS Hydaulics

Corporate Partner and Investor


Corporate Partner and Investor


Andrea Landini

Managing Partner - GELLIFY

Lucia Chierchia

Managing Partner - GELLIFY

Federico Collarin

Innovation Consultant - GELLIFY

Paola Olivieri

Head of Business Development - Fameccanica

Riccardo Pavanato

Partner & CEO - Auxiell

Michele Poggipolini

CEO - Poggipolini

Federico Ratti

Group Technical Director - Scm Group

Marco Storchi

Industrial Strategic Planning - Comer Industries

Adamo Venturelli

CEO of - Hydraulics

Gabriele Paglialonga

Managing Director - Industrio

Diego Gualtieri

Research and Development Manager - Fameccanica

Sara Iaconianni

Innovation Scouting Specialist - SCM Group

Francesco Ebreo

Operations Director - Comer Industries

Sara Guiducci

Industry 4.0 Specialist

Andrea Colonna

R&D Senior Mechanical Engineer - Sens-in


Forward Factory’s startups can count on a large network of professionals who bring their experience to founders and their teams.


The selected startups embark on a challenging path lasting 6 months:

Build to Scale (first 3 months)

In the first 3 months, we reinforce the business idea by building the foundations to create scalable solutions in the world of digital manufacturing, through a structured program with 1:1 mentorship, vertical bootcamps on specific issues, and support designed on the specific needs of each startup.

Factory Unlock (3 subsequent months)

In the 3 months that follow, each startup will be involved in the creation of a POC (proof of concept) developed in collaboration with one of the manufacturing companies, which also serves as an investor in the program, and with the Forward Factory team to arrive at the demo day – not with the usual slides but with one use case that’s ready for take-off.

Grow your team

1:1 Coaching, Mentorship, and Bootcamp with experts on vertical factory issues and with program specialists on key topics (product, marketing, sales)

Periodic meetings between the founders to share progress, best practices, and experiences

Work stations at the GELLIFY Phygital HUB for each startup, side-by-side with the other founders.

Work with companies

Meetings with corporate managers and visits to the corporate production sites

Daily work in dedicated spaces provided by the corporate to develop your own solutions and experience the factory

Design of a pilot (POC) guided within a manufacturing investor company.

Access investments

165k of equity investment + subsequent follow-ons up to a maximum of €300 K

Final demo day with presentation of the solution and the results of the POC to a broader audience of investors and leading manufacturing companies in the sector.

04 . 07 . 2022

Acceleration program 2022

The 2022 Acceleration program has started in Juny 2022. The startups are working on the pilot project (POC) with one of Forward Factory’s industrial partner, that is going to be introduced at the end of the program, during the final Demo Day!

02 . 12 . 2022

Demo day 2022

Final event of the first batch of startups from Forward Factory!  

The startups will show the results of the program and the POC with the investor partner in front of a panel of international investors and potential companies. The best startups of the batch will have the possibility of a follow-on from Forward Factory. 

19 . 09 . 2022

Program call opening 2023

Apply with your startup using the form. Don’t miss the opportunity to be chosen for the second batch. The selected startups will riceive 165k€ of investment and will work side by side with an Italian manufacturing business.  

Don’t wait for the deadline, apply now! 

21 . 11 . 2022

Startup's Event

The online event to discover all the details of the program and participate in the live Q&A session dedicated to all the founders intending to learn more about what we are looking for and what the selected startups will do. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Forward Factory with our team!


31 . 12 . 2022

Closing of the call

Last day to apply with your startup! Hurry up and don’t miss this opportunity. 

24 . 04 . 2023

Start of 2023 program

Launch event of Forward Factory’s second batch!  

Build to Scale (first 3 months). The startups will take part to the training program on the field and with dedicated sessions with experts from the Accelerator’s ecosystem.  

Each startup will be matched with a business among the investor partners in order to identify a first pilot project (POC), based on the best fit between application / technological scope of the startup and the business’ needs.

16 . 07 . 2023

Factory Unlock

The factories open their doors to the startups! Founders and teams will work side by side with the businesses to develop the POC, in the factory environment and with the support of the Accelerator’s experts. 

27 . 10 . 2023

Demo day 2023

Final event of Forward Factory’s first startup batch!  

The startups will show the results of the program and the POC with the investor partner in front of a panel of international investors and potential companies. The best startups of the batch will have the possibility of a follow-on from Forward Factory. 


Selection Process

The application will be reviewed by the Forward Factory team and we will evaluate all the relevant aspects for being successful during the program: Idea, Team, Project Status, Business Potential, …

Great! You have taken the first step! Now wait for feedback, if you access the next selection we will ask you for availability for some calls and to deepen some documents together with you (business plan).

Yes, that’s right, the startup must already have a working prototype or an MVP to work on during the development phase of the POC with companies

In order to receive the investment and access the program, your startup must be established in Italy. In case you haven’t formed it yet this could be the perfect opportunity! If you have a registered office abroad, it could be an opportunity to open your own office in Italy.


Yes of course, feel free to suggest forward factory to the startups you know!

Day by day

No, it will not be necessary to be full time in Bologna for the acceleration period. However, you will be required to be present for some activities to do together. During the development of the POC some transfers to the production sites of the investor partners will be necessary

The official language of the program will be English. During the 1to1 meetings or other specific activities in the event in which the participants are all Italians, the language will be switched to Italian.

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Remain for you to apply with your project

Forward Factory srl

Via Isonzo 55/2 Casalecchio, Bologna (BO), Italia

P IVA 16447941002

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