Dario Calogero is still as enthusiastic about the euro as he was at its birth 20 years ago.
Back in 2000, when the single currency was barely one year old, his financial-services startup landed a €1 million ($1.13 million) investment from a venture capital fund. Calogero’s bank in Italy, though, was unable to accept such a large transfer into his pioneering euro-denominated account. So the tech entrepreneur had to place 28 checks in a briefcase, walk to his bank branch in Milan, and personally deposit the money.
“I saw the euro as a big opportunity for Italy at the time, and I still think this has been the case,” he says from the New York offices of Kaleyra, now a global company with about $100 million in sales this year.
Most of his fellow Italians didn’t have it so good. Gross domestic product per person has stagnated since the euro became the official currency in 1999, unemployment has barely fallen, and productivity has declined.
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