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Is Switzerland a Startup Nation?

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A presentation made at EPFL Forum on October 10, 2017. Food for thought about hightech entrepreneurial ecosystems and startup innovation

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Is Switzerland a Startup Nation?

  1. 1. SWITZERLAND, THE START-UP NATION? HERVÉ LEBRET EPFL INNOGRANTS & SUPPORT TO STARTUPS 10 OCTOBER 2017
  2. 2. 2Switzerland The Startup Nation? WHAT’S A STARTUP NATION?
  3. 3. 3Switzerland The Startup Nation? FRANCE’S NEW EFFORTS
  4. 4. 4Switzerland The Startup Nation? THE INNOVATION DILEMMA “I read occasionally about attempts to set up "technology parks" in other places, as if the active ingredient of Silicon Valley were the office space. An article about Sophia Antipolis bragged that companies there included Cisco, Compaq, IBM, NCR, and Nortel. Don't the French realize these aren't startups?” Paul Graham “How to be Silicon Valley?” Few startups happen in Miami, for example, because although it's full of rich people, it has few nerds. It's not the kind of place nerds like. Whereas Pittsburgh has the opposite problem: plenty of nerds, but no rich people.
  5. 5. 5Switzerland The Startup Nation? WHAT’S A STARTUP NATION? “The book examines how Israel, a 60-year-old nation with a population of 7.1 million, was able to reach such economic growth that "at the start of 2009, some 63 Israeli companies were listed on the NASDAQ, more than those of any other foreign country.” Wikipedia In their attempt to explain Israel's success in this area, Senor and Singer analyze two major factors that, in the authors' opinion, contribute most to Israel's economic growth. Those factors are mandatory military service and immigration. The authors believe that Israel Defense Forces service provides potential entrepreneurs with the opportunities to develop a wide array of skills and contacts. They also believe that IDF service provides experience exerting responsibility in a relatively un-hierarchical environment where creativity and intelligence are highly valued. IDF soldiers have minimal guidance from the top, and are expected to improvise, even if this means breaking some rules. The book also dwells at length on immigration and its role in Israel's economic growth: "Immigrants are not averse to start from scratch. They are by definition risk-takers. A nation of immigrants is a nation of entrepreneurs. From survivors of the Holocaust to Soviet refuseniks through the Ethiopian Jews, the State of Israel never ceased to be a land of immigration: 9 out of 10 Jewish Israelis today are immigrants or descendants of immigrants the first or second generation. This specific demographic, causing fragmentation of community that still continues in the country, is nevertheless a great incentive to try their luck, to take risks because immigrants have nothing to lose." Additional factors cited by the authors include a sense of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, a culture where individuals frequently tinker with technology, and government policies friendly to start-ups.
  6. 6. 6Switzerland The Startup Nation? HOW NOT TO BE SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS?  Universities and research centers of a very high caliber.  An industry of venture capital (i.e. financial institutions and private investors).  Experienced professionals in high tech.  Service providers such as lawyers, head hunters, public relations and marketing specialists, auditors, etc. Last but not least, an intangible yet critical component: a pioneering spirit which encourages an entrepreneurial culture. Source: M. Kenney “Understanding Silicon Valley, the Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region”, in chapter: “A Flexible Recycling” by S. Evans and H. Bahrami Ingredients of tech clusters…
  7. 7. 7Switzerland The Startup Nation? WHAT’S A STARTUP? Switzerland The Startup Nation? In the USA, “a start-up is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.” Steve Blank
  8. 8. 8Switzerland The Startup Nation? Startups are not Small Companies (SMEs)
  9. 9. 9Switzerland The Startup Nation? THE BIG AMERICAN “START-UPS” Company Foundation IPO Market Cap. ($B) Employees Sales ($B) Profit ($B) Apple 1976 1984 611 110'000 220.3 47.8 Google 1998 2004 530 66'575 81.7 18.0 Microsoft 1975 1986 442 114'000 85.3 16.8 Amazon 1994 1997 369 230'800 120.6 1.9 Facebook 2004 2012 369 14'495 22.1 6.0 Intel 1968 1971 175 107'300 56.6 10.1 Oracle 1977 1986 161 137'350 37.0 8.9 Cisco 1984 1990 156 73'700 49.2 10.7 Qualcomm 1985 1991 92 33'000 22.8 5.1 Yahoo 1994 1996 40 8'800 4.9 -4.9 eBay 1995 1998 35 11'600 8.8 2.0 Vmware 1998 2007 31 18'050 6.8 1.0 Tesla 2003 2010 30 13'000 4.5 -1.1 Twitter 2006 2013 13 3'860 2.5 -0.4 Average 1986 1992 271 82'511 64.5 11.1 HP 1939 1957 25 287'000 99.8 4.5 Source : Yahoo Finance as of 21 Sept. 2016
  10. 10. 10Switzerland The Startup Nation? THE BIG EUROPEAN “START-UPS” Company Foundation IPO Market Cap. ($B) Employees Sales ($B) Profit ($B) Country SAP 1972 1988 106.7 79'962 23.8 4 Germany ASML 1984 1995 44.4 12'598 6.8 1.5 Netherlands Dassault Syst. 1981 1996 22.0 13'283 3.2 0.4 France Zalando 2008 2014 8.9 10'639 3.2 0.1 Germany Gemalto 1988 2000 5.7 14'000 3 France Temenos 1993 2001 4.3 4'000 0.6 0.1 Switzerland Logitech 1981 1990 3.5 5'900 2 0.1 Switzerland Criteo 2005 2013 2.2 2'085 1.5 0.1 France Soitec 1992 1999 0.5 809 0.2 -0.03 France F-secure 1988 1999 0.5 982 0.15 0.02 Finland Swissquote 1997 2000 0.4 545 0.1 0.02 Switzerland Average 1990 2000 18.1 13'164 4.1 0.6 Nokia 1865 (1966) 1915 (1994) 31.7 103'392 19.9 -0.5 Finland Source : Yahoo Finance as of 21 Sept. 2016
  11. 11. 11Switzerland The Startup Nation? WHAT ABOUT VENTURE CAPITAL?
  12. 12. 12Switzerland The Startup Nation? SO WHAT ABOUT SWITZERLAND? AND EPFL? A 16-page report published in June 2017 analyzing 312 EPFL spin-offs (165 since 2007) http://short.epfl.ch/startup-report
  13. 13. 13Switzerland The Startup Nation? SO WHAT ABOUT SWITZERLAND? AND EPFL? 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CHF M EIP companies Biocartis EPFL spin-offs
  14. 14. 14Switzerland The Startup Nation? SO WHAT ABOUT SWITZERLAND? AND EPFL? 76% 70% 55% 38% 29% 11% 21% 24% 28% 25% 4% 3% 6% 9% 11% 3% 1% 2% 12% 11% 1% 2% 2% 4% 13% 1% 3% 2% 4% 7% 3% 1% 7% 4% 5% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Pre 1996 1997-2001 2002-2006 2007-2011 2012-2016 ROW North America Asia Eastern Europe Southern Europe Western Europe Switzerland
  15. 15. 15Switzerland The Startup Nation?
  16. 16. 16Switzerland The Startup Nation? Student Special
  17. 17. 17Switzerland The Startup Nation? Thanks!

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