A Hitchhiker's guide to the Swiss French Tech Startup Community


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A summary of Swiss French Tech Startup Community
Based on a slide deck for Boulder, Colorado by David Cohen, Techstars

Published in: Business
  • @Bryan Hassin there's no easy answer to this :-(
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  • Good assessment, Dave. The classic response to such an analysis of the present is, "So what?" You've pointed out several strengths and weaknesses of the startup scene, so how shall the community band together to capitalize on the strengths while shoring up the weaknesses?
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  • Hi Dave,

    this map contributes to Startup Genome: http://swissstartups.org/
    I will connect the API shortly.
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  • Thanks for mentioning Swisscom's startup activities!
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  • Excellent overview Dave. We are honoured to be included in there, thank you. Here's to some positive developments to report on all sides in the next version!
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A Hitchhiker's guide to the Swiss French Tech Startup Community

  1. 1. A Hitchhiker's guide to the Swiss French Tech Startup Community Dave Brown twitter.com/hightechfondue Last updated 2015-01-19
  2. 2. Thank you to Contributors Jordi Montserrat (Venturekick) Laurent Haug Niall O’Gorman
  3. 3. + Inspired by Based 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 2 ecosystems. Where necessary I've added new slides - these have a + in the title (like this slide)
  4. 4. What Makes the Swiss Romande Startup 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 Boulder work)
  5. 5. Some (not all) Notable Startups Each year Startup.ch gets 100 experts across Switzerland vote for the top 100 Swiss startups. The 2014 list is here Apart from Online travel (Housetrip who've moved to London) the list is mainly microtechnology, biotech/medtech, enterprise software/SaaS and high tech manufacturing.
  6. 6. Startup (genome) map of Swiss Romande The crowdsourced startupgenome.com hasn't been adopted locally startup.ch has an up to date list of all Swiss startups The Swiss StartupMonitor.ch maps startups using a more scientific/qualitative analysis approach (business school & CTI supported)
  7. 7. Movements ● Ventureckick.ch ● Hackerspace - posttenebraslab.ch ● Biohacking - Hackuarium
  8. 8. Meetups https://www.startupdigest.com/digests/suisse-romande - a well maintained list of meetups and events mobilemonday.ch uxromandie.ch Geneva Lean StartUp Group Geneva Tech Meetup Petits Dejeuners Swiss fintech Less startup focused: ● rezonance.ch ( a.k.a. first tuesday ) ● creativemornings.ch
  9. 9. Events Startupweekend TEDx Lausanne Venture Ideas Seedstars World
  10. 10. Conferences Lift (in Geneva) Mobicamp (in Bern) Nipconf (in Lausanne)
  11. 11. Universities EPFL (world top 20 tech) University of Geneva Unversity of Lausanne University of Neuchatel, IMD Business School (world top 20 biz) and many others Strong focus (led by EPFL) on spinout of new technologies and industrial collaboration
  12. 12. Finding Talent / Co-Founders No specific events for this. Maybe try the other meetups & events?
  13. 13. Finding a Job with a Startup No resources focused on startups. Maybe try going to the innovation parks or the online boards like jobup.ch EPFL hosts Forum startup day (once a year with around 20-40 startups)
  14. 14. Venture Capital Firms Short answer is "plenty" - see the http://www. cti-invest.ch/Swiss-Venture-Guide.aspx and http://www.startup.ch/index.cfm?page=129590 The longer answer is that today there are no big players/leaders in local early-stage technology investment.
  15. 15. Seed/MicroVC/Angel Fongit Seed Invest (Geneva)
  16. 16. Angel Groups A3Angels BAS GoBeyond
  17. 17. + Cofunding Platforms Equity: investiere.ch (raised 4.4M CHF equity for 9 startups in 2014) capitalproximite.ch Projects: wemakeit.com
  18. 18. Accelerators + Incubators Fongit (Geneva) la Forge at EPFL innovationpark IMD startup competition EHL (Ecole Hotelier Lausanne) Incubator TechnoArk (Valais) CERN (building 3179 - no public access) Training focused: Venture Leaders CTI Entrepreneurship Training
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. Co-Working Spaces ECLau (Lausanne) La Muse (Geneva and Lausanne) Impact Hub Geneva
  21. 21. Dev/Design shops There are no dev or design shop focused on startups. The sad fact is that local rates are too expensive for startups - any startup who wants to outsource development will invariably offshore it (unless they know a specific local resource who can work flexibly).
  22. 22. Startup Friendly Big Companies Plenty of Big companies, none are known for being startup friendly. Swisscom tries (Swisscom Ventures does seed investments, Conference sponsorship).
  23. 23. Legal Startup friendly lawyers: Jacques Bonvin Michel Jaccard CVP partners Damien Conus (Geneva) & Karim Piguet (Lausanne) BCCC Swiss lawyers have high hourly rates. If you don’t understand the basics of Shareholder agreements etc. and you leave it to lawyers to educate you & negotiate with investors then then you will have high legal bills. Most Swiss startup legals are based on the standard legal docs at SECA (shareholders agreement, etc.)
  24. 24. Banking and Finance Lots of banks and corporate finance in Geneva. Not very accessible for startups.
  25. 25. Press Nothing with a focus on startups Bilan ICT Journal (enterprise computing focus with a bit of startup news) ComInMag (marketing & media) Nouvo
  26. 26. Books by local Startup Authors Business Model Generation (Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur) Start-Up: the book (Hervé Lebret)
  27. 27. Blogs startup-book.com (Hervé Lebret) startupaholic.com (Sébastien Flury) suisse-entrepreneurs.com Pierre Chappaz Lift blog Laurent Haug swisslicon-valley HighTechFondue (David Brown) TekFin (Yann Ranchere) David Galbraith
  28. 28. + Fintech twitter Anthemis Group / @anthemis Ben Robinson / @robinsonbenp François Briod @BriodF Guillaume Dubray / @GuillaumeDubray Alexandra Gaillard / @investglass Laurent Haug / @laurenthaug LE DECODEUR / @b3b Sean Park / @parkparadigm Swiss Finance Startups / @SFS_CH Yann Ranchere / @tekfin (list from Marc P. Bernegger / @marcpbernegger)
  29. 29. Newsletters inno-swiss sends a weekly digest Startupticker
  30. 30. + 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
  31. 31. Startup Friendly Hangout Spots Puur cafe at EPFL innovation park, building J (no public Wifi or power) la-Muse (both Geneva and Lausanne) organises a weekly pique-nique for startups - very broad, no tech focus.
  32. 32. Engage Most people's expectations are unrealistic for engaging with startups. 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 before it's relevant to startups. Emailing (as recommended for engaging in Boulder), be specific about what you want & clear objective (eg. to get a follow up meeting). If someone responds by email then usually they will eventually agree to a meeting - even if they cancel a few times (many senior people are travelling a lot and have difficulty managing their schedules) .