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A Hitchhikers guideto the Swiss FrenchTech StartupCommunity Dave Brown twitter.com/spacecubist Last updated 2013-01-17
Thank you to Contributors Jordi Montserrat (Venturekick) Laurent Haug Niall OGorman
+ Inspired byBased on a slide deck for Boulder, Colorado by David Cohen, Techstars(in turn based on one from LA by Sam Teller)The slide titles have been kept the same to allow comparison of the 2ecosystems.Where necessary Ive added new slides - these have a +in the title (like this slide)
What Makes the Swiss RomandeStartup Community Work● Plenty of smart people around● International outlook (because of small local market)● $200k seed finance is easy to find (FFF and grants).● World class technical universities with support for spinouts● Government sponsorship (CTI) of $500k to $1M or more for any technology with strong IP.● Government funded (CTI) business coaching● Office space in science parks.(which is all completely different to what makes Boulderwork)
Some (not all) Notable StartupsEach year Startup.ch gets 100 experts acrossSwitzerland vote for the top 100 Swiss startups.The 2012 list is hereApart from Online travel (Housetrip whovemoved to London) the list is mainlymicrotechnology, biotech/medtech, enterprisesoftware/SaaS and high tech manufacturing.
+ Some (not all) Internet Startups 3BaysOver, Comment.li, Dartfish, Everdream (Moonga), Faveeo, Hyperweek, InZAir (ZMS), iTaste, Jillion (SublimeVideo), KeyLemon, Klewel, Mobino, official.fm, RouteRank, Searchbox, Shore.li, SmallRivers (paper.li), Sobees (newsmix), Typesafe (Scala), Webdoc (based on AlpICT tweets + a few others)startup.ch has an up to date list of all Swiss startups
Startup (genome) map of SwissRomandeThe crowdsourced startupgenome.com hasntbeen adopted locallyThe Swiss StartupMonitor.ch maps startupsusing a more scientific/qualitative analysisapproach. It is led by a business school & CTI
Meetups mobilemonday.ch uxromandie.ch Geneva Lean StartUp Group Geneva Tech Meetup Genéve Entrepreneur Meetup communitymanagers.ch Petits Dejeuners Less startup focused: ● rezonance.ch ( a.k.a. first tuesday ) ● creativemornings.ch
Events Startupweekend TEDx Lausanne Venture Ideas Seedstars World
Conferences Lift (in Geneva) Mobicamp (in Bern)
Universities EPFL (rated in the top 20 worldwide) University of Geneva Unversity of Lausanne University of Neuchatel, IMD Business School and many othersStrong focus (led by EPFL) on spinout of newtechnologies and industrial collaboration
Finding Talent / Co-FoundersNo specific events for this. Maybe try the othermeetups & events?
Finding a Job with a Startup EPFL Forum startup day (once a year, 20- 40 startups)
Venture Capital FirmsShort answer is "plenty" - see the http://www.cti-invest.ch/Swiss-Venture-Guide/Swiss-Venture-Guide-2012.aspx andhttp://www.startup.ch/index.cfm?page=129590The longer answer is that today there are nobig players/leaders in local early-stagetechnology investment.
Seed/MicroVC/Angel Fongit Seed Invest (Geneva) and DebioManagement (Lausanne) do several seed investments per year.
+ Cofunding Platformscapitalproximite.chcofundit.chinvestiere.ch(startups are raising up to $500k or morethrough these platforms)
Accelerators Fongit (Geneva) RampUpIt (Geneva) IMD startup competition EHL (Ecole Hotelier Lausanne) Incubator TechnoArk (Valais) coming soon: la Forge at parc-scientifique.ch Training focused: Venture Leaders CTI Entrepreneurship Training
Startup Support Orgs Independant tech focused ventureleaders.ch Independant general focus local chamber of commerces (some startup focused events and help) startups.ch (not to be confused with startup.ch) Government run tech focused CTI - several initiatives AlpICT
Co-Working Spaces ECLau (Lausanne) La Muse (Geneva and Lausanne)
Dev/Design shopsThere are no dev or design shop focused onstartups. The sad fact is that local rates are tooexpensive for startups - any startup who wantsto outsource development will invariablyoffshore it (unless they know a specific localresource who can work flexibly). RampItUp is an incubator which also does dev & design NXC Group has invested in kind (dev time) for startup projects
Startup Friendly Big CompaniesPlenty of Big companies, none are reallystartup friendly.Swisscom tries (Swisscom Ventures does seedinvestments, Conference sponsorship).P&G tries to engage with startups at the LiftConference but nothing has come out of it sofar (things have come out but internally forP&G)The CERN (birthplace of the web) has nooverlap wth startups
Legal Jacques Bonvin does a lot of work for startups Michel Jaccard is helping a lot of startups, also specialising in closing financing rounds. Swiss standard legal docs (shareholders agreement, etc.) at SECA
Banking and FinanceLots of banks and corporate finance in Geneva.Not very accessible for startups.
PressNothing with a focus on startups ICT Journal (enterprise computing focus with a bit of startup news) ComInMag (marketing & media) Nouvo
Books by local Startup Authors Business Model Generation (Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur) Start-Up: the book (Hervé Lebret)
Blogs startup-book.com (Hervé Lebret) startupaholic.com (Sébastien Flury) suisse-entrepreneurs.com Pierre Chappaz Lift blog Laurent Haug
Newsletters inno-swiss sends a weekly digest Startupticker
+ News Aggregators startupticker.ch inno-swiss.com is a portal which aggregates all Swiss startup-related blog posts - Neither has an editorial staff or opinion (they are not "Press") - they are aggregating news and press releases. twitter.com/Alpict & blog.alpict.com twitter.com/startuptickerCH
Startup Friendly Hangout SpotsNowhere for startups to hangout.la-Muse (both Geneva and Lausanne)organises a weekly pique-nique for startups -very broad, no tech focus.
+ Regional IdentityNo clear single identity for the region:Locally understood:, Swiss Romand, WesternSwitzerland, Romandie,Internationally understood: French-speakingSwitzerland, Geneva regionAnd several identifiers for the main Startup hubof the region (the Science Park at EPFL):Parc Scientifique Ecublins (PSE), InnovationSquare, EPFL PSE, parc-scientifique.ch
EngageMost peoples expectations are unrealistic for engaging withstartups.If you are looking for work understand that salaries are 20%to 40% less than bigcos or banks.Most bigco experience needs to be adapted beore itsrelevant to startups.Emailing (as recommended for engaging in Boulder), bespecific about what you want & clear objective (eg. to get afollow up meeting).If someone responds by email then usually they willeventually agree to a meeting - even if they cancel a fewtimes (many senior people are travelling a lot and havedifficulty managing their schedules) .