From Class to Business

JRS+: a startup driving innovation

We can guess the origin story from the name: JRS+ was born from the bond of friendship between the company’s three founders. In fact, Giancarlo Jemma, Federico Romano and Mario Stella choose the initials of their last names to give concrete form to an idea that came to them during their months at SDA Bocconi in the 2015 Executive Master in Business Administration. They added the plus sign because they were convinced that the power of their entrepreneurial intuition and the potential for their startup to go beyond the three individual partners.

In the words of Mario Stella: “During our SDA Bocconi experience, we realized that a number of consolidated markets, like the machining market, were paying the price for a serious lack of innovation. This was happening because the companies anchored on stable market positions weren’t interested in innovating or they didn’t know what financial tools were available to do so. On the other hand, the startups in the industry were paying the opposite price: they had a great spirit of innovation but a hard time breaking into the market.”

This realization was what motivated the three partners to found JRS+ in 2018. The goal of this innovative startup was to integrate new projects into existing companies, financing project activities independently. Here’s what Giancarlo Jemma has to say: “Our market approach was unusual, original for a startup, that is, acquiring a mature, solid, stable company. So in December 2019, we acquired a successful, long-standing manufacturer specialized in industrial precision mechanical bar turning, MITOM srl in Piorino [Italy]. Our goal, beyond bridging the typical gaps of startups, was to generate the cash flows we needed right away to invest in innovative projects.”

Thanks to this deal, JRS+ holds the record in Italy for being the first startup ever to get approval from the Ministry of the Economy to allow Mediocredito Centrale to provide loan guarantees to buy the complete package of company shares. The Cassa di Risparmio di Savigliano also had the foresight to support the project from the word go, acting as both advisor and financial partner. This transaction is not only a successful example of subsidized financing, but also a rare case of constructive synergy between a company and the banking system. As Federico Romano says: “The choice of a precision mechanical bar turning enterprise like MITOM srl wasn’t random, it was intentional, based on the extensive technical expertise of Giancarlo and Mario. One of the projects JRS+ is seriously exploring is the industrialization of cryogenic machining processes. This method offers a dual advantage: cutting environmental impact while increasing the precision and efficiency in machining extra hard alloys and noble metals. At the same time, we’re also working on short-term projects linked to automating low-added-value production processes in industrial bar turning.”

Following the acquisition, JRS+ successfully developed an innovation program that moved MITOM from the exclusively product-oriented company it was to the customer-oriented one it is today. Offering cutting-edge products that are more and more innovative, adapting to customer needs to enable the company to consolidate and grow its market share, and ensuring that the organization is in step with the times both in terms of production and management: these are some of the accomplishments of JRS+ and MITOM in the past few years.

On one hand, 2020 was a year of transition because of the pandemic, yet MITOM still managed to limit its losses over 2019. And on the other, the groundwork was laid to make the company competitive from an operational standpoint by investing around €120,000 in technology upgrades. It was in 2021 when the company reaped the rewards of its customer-oriented spirit. In fact, MITCOM ended the year with nearly €3.9 million in turnover, for a total production value of around €4 million, soaring over 205% over the previous year. And in 2022 the company is still scoring impressive results: in the first six months of the year, turnover is up 153% over 2021 and EBITDA has quadrupled.

But Giancarlo Jemma, Federico Romano and Mario Stella didn’t stop here: in February 2021, MITCOM bought the manufacturing arm of another industrial machining company, acquiring customers, personnel and production plants. And what’s next? As Mario Stella tells us: “Right now, we’re working on the valuation of another small company in the industry where again what’s missing is a generational change that would enable it to keep up with the demands of a customer-oriented market. As for some of the other ideas in the pipeline, we’re working on developing a project to build and sell a machine tool we want to launch on the American market, where studies show a major need in high productivity industries.”

JRS+: a startup driving innovation