Fabrizio Capobianco (born December 2, 1970) is an Italian serial entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He is the founder and CEO of the sports social network TOK.tv and he also serves as president and chairman of Funambol, a white-label “personal cloud” provider.
Early life and first companies
Fabrizio Capobianco was born in Sondrio (Valtellina), in the Italian Alps. After studying Greek and Latin at the Liceo Classico G. Piazzi, he graduated from the University of Pavia in 1994 with a MS in Computer Science, as an alumnus of the Almo Collegio Borromeo. In 1997 he received a PhD in Computer Science with a focus on usability from the University of Pavia.
In 1994 he founded Internet Graffiti, the first Italian Web Company, anticipating the Internet phenomenon. His simple idea was that the Internet would change the world, and every company in Italy needed a web site.
In 1996 he founded Stigma OnLine. The company built one of the first Intranet products in the market, SolWeb Intra, a web document management product which became the backbone for the Intranet of Kraft, Novartis, the Italian Broadcasting Television, the Italian Stock Exchange and the Bocconi University.
In 1999 he permanently moved to the United States, in Silicon Valley.
For a few years - from 1999 to 2002 - Capobianco worked in Palo Alto at Tibco Finance (then Reuters) as Director of Reuters’ Brokerage System, where he was in charge of pre-sale and post-sale activities for one of the first web trading consumer platforms, TIBMercury.
The Dual Model: Headquarters in Silicon Valley, R&D in Italy
In 2002 Fabrizio Capobianco founded Funambol, a white-label personal cloud solution for mobile operators and device manufacturers. Funambol's vision was to make it easy to automatically sync billions of mobile phones, tablets, computers and connected devices with the systems and online services people use everyday via the cloud. The project was initially based on open source software, also called Funambol, that quickly became the largest open source project in mobile. During his tenure as CEO of Funambol, Capobianco created the HPL (Honest Public License), which was then merged into the GNU AGPLv3, which he submitted on behalf of Funambol to the Open Source Initiative in 2008. With headquarter in Silicon Valley, but R&D in Pavia (Italy), Funambol has raised over $30 million in Venture Capital funding in multiple rounds and established partnership with Télefonica, Movistar Spain and many other leading mobile operators worldwide.
Having managed software development teams in Italy, and in Silicon Valley, Capobianco concluded that the development team of his first Italian companies were as good (if not better) than the ones he found in Silicon Valley. Aware that Silicon Valley is the best place to start a tech company, he pioneered a dual model for software startup: headquarters in Silicon Valley with US Venture Capital, but R&D in Italy. The model is often referred as the “Capobianco model” or “Funambol model”.
At the end of 2010, he transitioned to the role of President and Chairman, to focus on its new venture.
The liquid enterprise
In 2012, Capobianco founded TOK.tv, the fastest growing social network in sports with over 30 million users worldwide. As the social network of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Juventus FC official apps (and many other sports teams and leagues), TOK.tv allows fans to talk and cheer even when they are apart. As of April 2016, TOK.tv has raised $5 million in Venture Capital funding.
TOK.tv is what Capobianco calls a “liquid enterprise”, one with no offices, where every employee is remote. It is an evolution of the dual model, with headquarter in Silicon Valley and R&D in Italy. In this case, though, the R&D is not in a single town, but dispersed along the country. The goal is to harness the best talent in Italy, instead of being limited to a single pool of talent in one town.
Awards and recognition
Having been invited to give a commencement speech at the University of Pavia in 2009, he received the § Medaglia teresiana, an academic recognition conferred by the Rector to individuals who are particularly distinguished in their field.
Capobianco is the President of Juventus Club Silicon Valley, which he founded in 2015. The club is a Juventus Official Fan Club, authorized by Juventus FC.
- "TOK.tv - Talk while you watch TV".
- "Funambol: Leader of White-Label Cloud Services".
- "Funambol and Telefonica Provide Personal Clouds for Millions of Movistar Spain Customers to Simplify Their Digital Life".
- "SAN FRANCISCO, ITALY".
- "L'italiano che sfida Spotify - MAKE ITALY". 4 July 2014.
- "HUMUS – Mashape: essere giovani italiani nella Silicon Valley".
- As of May 2018, source: www.tok.tv
- Kurnentz, Steven (1 April 2016). "TOK.tv Receives $5M Series A Round To Expand Social Network".
- "10:: Fabrizio Capobianco - American Venture Magazine :: American Venture Magazine". 17 October 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "American Venture Magazine :: Top 40 under 40". 10 January 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-01-10.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "MobileVillage: PDAs, Handhelds, Smartphones, Notebooks, & Wireless Technology for Business & Personal Productivity".
- "XIX Giornata del Laureato dell'Università di Pavia".
- "Juventus Club Silicon Valley".