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Aeroporti di Roma's Call for Collaboration with Japanese Startups

Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), a private company managing Rome's airports, has emerged as a global leader in airport innovation. In this article, we dig deeper into ADR's purpose, success, and its keen interest in collaborating with Japanese startups, unwinding the potential synergies and shared goals that could redefine the future of the aviation industry.

The Future with Japan

ADR invites Japanese startups to embark on a transformative journey with the aim to redefine the future of the aviation industry through cultural exchange, strategic partnerships, a global innovation hub, and a long-term collaboration that transcends borders.

Japanese startups,

  • Take your deep tech expertise globally,

  • Collaborate with ADR to set new standards in aviation,

  • Forge meaningful and lasting connections with a global ecosystem of innovation,

  • Contribute to building the airport of the future!

About Aeroporti di Roma

ADR's Position in the Industry

Aeroporti di Roma oversees the operations of two major airports, Fiumicino with 17,9 milion passengers registered in the first semester of 2023 and Ciampino, with 1,9 milion passengers monitored in the same period. Of note, Fiumicino stands as Italy's largest airport and a key European hub, earning the prestigious Skytrax 5-star rating and being recognized by the Airports International Council for Customer Experience, among other awards.

Runway to the Future Acceleration Program International Outreach ADR's commitment to innovation is embodied in its Innovation Program, a catalyst for enhancing customer experience, operational efficiency, and sustainability. The Runway to the Future Acceleration Program is a tangible example of ADR's commitment to fostering innovation both internally and globally. Having engaged with over 600 startups in the last two years and achieving a remarkable 40% conversion rate from Proof of Concepts (PoCs) to implementation, ADR is positioning itself as a global innovation leader.

Building an Ecosystem of Partnerships

ADR's collaborative efforts extend beyond the field of aviation, fostering partnerships with entities like the European Space Agency (ESA) and Eurocontrol. The creation of the "Airports 4 Innovation" network, with members including Dubai Airports and Munich Airport, underscores ADR's commitment to cross-collaboration initiatives.

ADR Ventures: Paving the Way for Startup Success

Emanuele Calà, VP of Innovation & Quality and President & CEO of ADR Ventures, provides insight into ADR Ventures, a Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) fund launched in February '23 and completely owned and backed by ADR itself.

“Our CVC fund allowed us to strengthen our innovation strategy because it aims to support the best startups accelerated by ADR and to scale their solutions commercially, by providing strategic support with the purpose of realizing equity investments in international seed, pre-seed, early-stage start-ups focused on aviation, travel, deep-tech, food waste management, new energy, mobility etc., therefore overall related to airport operations and sustainability. This initiative aims to support startups accelerated by ADR, providing strategic backing with a focus on scaling solutions commercially.”

ADR has set itself apart by dedicating a physical space within Fiumicino Airport, termed the Innovation Hub, providing startups with a platform to design and implement their innovative ideas. The Innovation Cabin Crew, composed of ADR's vertical experts, acts as mentors and project owners, offering invaluable support.

Flying Across Borders: ADR's Interest in Japanese Startups

ADR acknowledges the unique qualities of Japanese startups, emphasizing their results-oriented mindset and deep tech solutions: “We believe that Japanese startups have unique and valuable qualities and capabilities such as results-oriented mindset, and various deep tech solutions tested and co-implemented with huge corporations. We expect to work with startups that developed strong solutions and we hope to reach the full roll out of their innovative services within our airport and smart city, after the Pilot test”, stated Giulio Ranucci, Head of Innovation & Digital.

Facilitating Cross-Cultural Collaboration

To facilitate collaboration with Japanese companies, ADR has implemented a meritocratic selection process, identifying Innovation Cabin Crew members who act as mentors and project owners.

“Our digital champions and the key people who will allow startups to work inside our airports, facilitate cross-cultural collaboration and scale the services. The Innovation Cabin Crew members will support daily startups to reach the proper delivery of the PoC.”

ADR also reassured: “There aren’t any specific barriers when it comes to integrating Japanese innovations into our operations. We also know that the Japanese startup ecosystem is characterized by deep tech solutions developed with a customer and result-oriented mindset, so that’s why we believe that the solutions developed by them will fit perfectly into our airport, as we always aim to offer our passengers the best experience worldwide”.

ADR's Support, Resources and Benefits for Startups

ADR's expertise becomes a catalyst for startup success. The Innovation Cabin Crew members offer startups access to the Innovation Hub, feedback from business units, insights from operations, and support for go-to-market strategies and business models.

Startups participating in ADR's program gain access to a myriad of resources and benefits, including airport facilities, mentorship from industry experts, investor day participation, insurance coverage, economic contributions, and equity investments, among others.

Selecting Partners: Criteria and Vision

When it comes to specific selection criteria for selecting startup partners, ADR sets specific criteria emphasizing a global mindset, English proficiency, financial stage, product stage, geographic focus, and a commitment to expansion in Europe. The long-term vision is to disrupt the aviation industry, with successful PoCs leading to startups becoming official providers of Aeroporti di Roma.

Detailed selection criteria can be found in the table below:

Startup Size

​Around 5M$ Revenue


Global mindset with availability to work and expand in Europe.



​Financial Stage

Pre-Seed, Seed, Series A, Series B, Series C

Product Stage

Prototype, product level, mass production. Post MVP Validation


Aviation, travel, AI, deep-tech, IoT, biometrics and security, food waste management, new energy, mobility, smart cities, robotics, sensors, health-tech, space tech, sustainability, tech operations, diversity and inclusivity tech etc.


Not yet incorporated, the product is not completely defined, we have to see the opportunity to go beyond the PoC and roll out the service

“The long-term impact besides scaling commercially is to disrupt the aviation industry, build the airport of the future and define the new quality standard in the industry”, stated Emanuele Calà.

Synergies for the Future

ADR envisions a mutually beneficial relationship with Japanese startups, fostering a global ecosystem of innovation.

“We see a mutually beneficial relationship to get the most out of our synergies”.

The goal is to foster a global innovation ecosystem, with ADR collaborating with its forward-looking approach to innovation, and, with Japanese startups, on the other hand, leveraging invaluable deep technical expertise, along with their renowned precision and quality. Their commitment to innovation, collaboration, and the pursuit of excellence positions it as a beacon for startups aspiring to redefine the future of air travel.

The journey with ADR is not just an opportunity; it's an investment in shaping the airport of the future.

The call is clear: Contact us and Accelerate Innovation through global collaboration. The sky is not the limit; it's just the beginning.


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