Forward Factory is an acceleration program focused on digital innovative startups in the manufacturing domain

It’s an innovation ecosystem initiative that brings together Italian leaders who invest, operate in manufacturing, and support startups’ growth. 

Its purpose is to encourage and develop effective, sustainable innovative projects and enable the evolution of the manufacturing sector

d .
h .
m .

Remaining to submit 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 strategy, 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

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 network of all individuals, organizations, resources, activities and technology linked upstream and downstream.

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

0 +

Companies in the manufacturing sector

0 %

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 and Promoter


Gestore e Co-investitore

Angelini Industries

Corporate Partner & Investor


Corporate Partner & Investor

Azimut Libera Impresa

Corporate Partner & Investor

Comer Industries

Corporate Partner & Investitore

EIT Manufacturing

Ecosystem Enabler


Ecosystem Enabler


Corporate Partner & Investor

SCM Group

Corporate Partner & Investor

Tecniche nuove

Partner Tecnico

VIS Hydraulics

Corporate Partner & Investor


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.


Logo AIM


AIM supports manufacturing companies in monitoring the health of production lines through a cloud-based predictive maintenance software service that provides both a general overview of the entire plant and a detailed view of the individual machine and its components.
Vai al sito


(powered by Cyber Evolution)
LECS is the first Plug & Play security appliance that protects any LAN and Cloud infrastructure from the most dangerous attacks and cyber threats.

Go to website

Proxima Robotics

Proxima Robotics provides a flexible and modular software platform for mobile robots, capable of operating in a wide range of applications and industrial environments, enabling different types of robots to interoperate, according to clients' needs.

Vai al sito


Operating in the assembly of goods using robotic arms, Robotizr has developed a no-code programming software to easily manage and reconfigure industrial automation processes.

Vai al sito
Logo endymion


Endymion consente ad aziende e sviluppatori di creare applicazioni in Realtà Aumentata (AR) utilizzando semplici pagine Web senza la necessità di apprendere nuove competenze specifiche, riducendo i costi e i tempi di sviluppo di soluzioni IT in AR.

Vai al sito
Logo netiXverso


netiXverso offers an OSINT decision intelligence platform that integrates AI models to search, analyse and monitor information on target counterparties and related topics, to prevent business relationships with risky parties.

Vai al sito

Progress Lab

Progress Lab offers a unified collaboration platform that allows corporates to digitize their factory in just a few months. The solution is designed for SMEs operating in Make to Order.

Vai al sito


Industrial Analytics that puts people at the center of decision-making and empowers manufacturers of all sizes to identify, monitor, predict and prevent production losses.

Go to website


Komete offers a plug & play IoT solution enabling the adoption of lean manufacturing, collecting data on the physical location and flow of WIP items and orders in factories.

Go to website


Neurality offers a flexible and innovative solution for automating visual inspection tasks.

Go to website


Thanks to an Industrial Analytics system, QSEE saves operation costs and improves productivity, sustainability and quality for a greener manufacturing.

Go to website

Said Text

Said Text is a SaaS solution for Industry 4.0 based on AI and Deep Learning for speech recognition, to transcribe and catalog audio messages in a company dashboard.

Vai al sito


Traxd offers a platform that uses blockchain as a certification device, allowing companies to certify the sustainability of their supply chain, in line with the new European directives and the growing needs of the market.

Vai al sito


Vammon offers a SaaS platform to make road transport more efficient: thanks to AI algorithms, it manages the companies' Inbound and Outbound transport network, integrating transporters with available spaces nearby, when required.

Vai al sito


YK-Robotics is developing a Universal Software Platform to configure, program and control advanced robotic cells, empowering every company with the advantages of robotics and AI

Go to website


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

Build to Scale

The startups will reinforce the business idea by building the foundations to create scalable solutions in the world of digital manufacturing. The program will involve 1:1 mentorship, vertical bootcamps on specific issues and individual support tailored to the needs of each startup.

Factory Unlock

In this phase, 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 serve as investors 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 is 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.

10. 01. 2023

Call for Startup | Batch # 3

Submit your application by December 31st 2023, to be among the startup selected for the third edition.

From April to August 2024

Launch of the program and Build to Scale

Launch event of Forward Factory’s third batch!  

We are in the “Build to Scale”  phase, characterized by training on the field with dedicated sessions featuring experts from the accelerator’s ecosystem.

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

From July to November

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. 


Demo Day 2024

Final event of Forward Factory’s third 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.

d .
h .
m .

Remain for you to apply with your project

Forward Factory srl

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

P IVA 16447941002

[email protected]

Privacy policy   ·  Cookie policy   ·  © Tutti i diritti riservati