All posts filed under: Startups

Digital changes our lives

Update on the State of the Digital Revolution – Resistance (still) Futile and Unnecessary

Two years ago I wanted to raise awareness for the digital revolution and its influence on our lives. So I invited digital startups as “Digital Lifestyle Showcases” to Startupfair. What has happened since? Did new digital technologies change our lives for the better? Or are there reasons to be scared of the oncoming digital tsunami? Time to assess for an update: Digital technologies indeed started solving some previously unsolvable problems. Digital technologies have matured from standalone concepts to integral parts of real world applications. Some of the Startupfair showcases already transformed their field, many have grown into respectable businesses. What I didn’t see coming: Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain as new two powerful enabling technologies.   “Today’s confluence of new digital technologies, new devices and people’s lifestyle preferences is a revolution and offers vast opportunities for innovation, new businesses, and a better life”, is how I started my post two years ago. And fundamentally nothing has changed: Moore’s law continues to advance miniaturization, which in turns allows for ever smaller devices with ever larger capabilities! And with this, new digital technologies are being adopted by more and more users for many different applications. …

bilanz-100-digital-shapers

Named Digital Shaper of Switzerland

The Swiss business magazine “BILANZ” covered the digital revolution and how Switzerland is coping with it. Proud to be selected as one of the 100 “Digital Shapers” of Switzerland. The article concludes that Switzerland lost the first half-time against US corporations. The main reasons were lack of access to (big) financing rounds, too few visas for foreign experts and risk avoidance in the Swiss DNA. Several initiatives are now on the way to catch up; on federal, state and local levels but also driven by the large companies of Switzerland. The main assets of Switzerland are its engineering tradition, strong universities and the startup eco-system. The article and the list of the 100 Swiss Digital Shapers in ten categories can be downloaded here (Thank you Pascal Ihle of furrerhugi.ch).

gza-webinar

Switzerland for Start-ups: More than Chocolate!

Switzerland is a location to consider for startups! It offers so much more than only chocolate. Its main advantages are the central location in Europe, great talent, a vibrant & growing startup ecosystem and excellent quality of life and work!   If you are a startup and are wondering where to open an office in Europe; you should consider Switzerland and the Zurich region. I recently did a live webinar to make the case for SAAS: Switzerland as a service for startups. See my presentation here.           The recording of the webinar can be watched here.             Welcome to Switzerland! Where chocolate is as good as the startups there.

Superpublic ribbon cutting ceremony

Opening of Superpublic San Francisco City Innovation Lab

Superpublic San Francisco is officially open! This morning the founding partners of Superpublic San Francisco officially opened the lab. We were honored by GSA General Services Administration Administrator Denise Roth, San Francisco San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, City Administrator Naomi Kelly, Supervisor Mark Farrell of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, City Chief Innovation Officer Jay Nath, University of California Berkeley’s Prof. Susan Shaheen and City Innovate Foundation Co-Founder and Executive Director, Kamran Saddique. Superpublic brings together the innovation forces of the federal, state and city government with private industry, startups and university researchers to solve urban problems thru open innovation:           We employ our own methodology using user-centered techniques, innovation sprints and consistent community outreach to accelerate the time it takes for public organizations to learn, to research about a problem, to prototype and to document the findings in white papers and policy recommendations. These are invaluable tools for cities to educate themselves on issues and possible paths to their solution and to build capacity within city governments to tackle urban problems. The findings …

San Francisco & Golden Gate bridge

Superpublic San Francisco: Solving Urban Problems (thru Technology)

    We today announced* the launch of the Superpublic Innovation Lab in San  Francisco, to tackle urban problems. This is the result of a two-year effort by many in San Francisco, led by City Innovate Foundation, which I joined as COO. Why did I join, what does Superpublic do and why is this important? Cities world-wide grow fast: Two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2020**. Cities do their best to keep up, but problems will arise. Some are of massive ecological, social, and financial nature. However,  some of these problems can be solved thru technology. And that is why I decided to get involved, and that is what City Innovate Foundation does. City Innovate is a San Francisco-based organization taking on urban problems for cities world-wide. The approach is unique because cities are not only members of City Innovate but also the beneficiaries of the developed solutions: The cities provide input which problems should be worked on and they can get involved in the process as much if they desire. Once a solution is ready for global rollout, they have access to tried and tested solutions. What’s more, the development, …

Go to market strategies event, Nov 24, 2015

“State of the union” of the Swiss Sharing Economy

The association of the Swiss shareconomy startups met at BlueLion Incubator on November 24, 2015 to exchange on best practices for Go2Market strategies. Here is the digest of the evening’s presentations and discussions. Key take aways: Getting customers to pay for sharing services is still difficult, but acceptance is rising Today’s projects know they are trail blazers Many pivot to B2B to find first revenues, intending to expand to B2C lateron Must know the needs of your target segment very very well & design solution precisely And: The enthusiasm and ideas remain strong! Opening remarks by Gert Christen, CEO BlueLion Incubator Sharing economy business ideas will get more important, as they can solve problems, which are not solvable today. In addition, sharing fits with the lifestyle of the young generation. There have been many and impressive ideas over the last several years. However, the success rate has been rather sobering…. We are still waiting for the “killer app” in the sharing economy. All entrepreneurs in this space must know that they are trail blazers and that their time …

Gebäude Werkerei

Angestellte träumen von Selbständigkeit

  In der Schweiz werden immer mehr neue Firmen gegründet. Oft endet der Traum der Selbständigkeit aber vorzeitig – vor allem für die Jungen. Der Wunsch, sein eigener Chef zu sein, ist in der Schweiz weit verbreitet: Laut einer Umfrage von Geschäftspartner.ch würden rund 70 Prozent der Angestellten die erfolgreiche Selbständigkeit einer Lohnerhöhung vorziehen. Die aktuellen Daten des Bundesamt für Statistik (BFS) zeigen, dass in den letzten Jahren auch immer mehr Leute den Schritt in die Selbständigkeit wagten: 2013 wurden in der Schweiz 12’440 neue Firmen gegründet – die höchste Zahl seit 2001. Laut Adrian W. Müller, Leiter des Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship an der ZHAW School of Management and Law, sind in der Schweiz Unabhängigkeit, Selbstverwirklichung, Flexibilität und der Wunsch, eine eigene Idee zu realisieren, sehr wichtige Treiber für die berufliche Selbstständigkeit. «Nicht selten auch aufgrund von Unzufriedenheit, weil man sich im Angestelltenverhältnis nicht wohl fühlt», sagt Müller. Beziehungen sind entscheidend Gert Christen, Geschäftsführer vom Startzentrum Zürich, einer Organisation, die Zürcher Start-ups unterstützt, beobachtet zwei Hauptgruppen bei jenen, die den Schritt in die …

startup logosstartup logos

Digital Lifestyle is Inevitable – Resistance Futile and Unnecessary

Today’s confluence of new digital technologies, new devices and people’s lifestyle preferences is a revolution and offers vast opportunities for innovation, new businesses, and a better life. The digital revolution concerns all industries. Embracing the revolution has many benefits. Trying to resist is very risky. Startup companies are at the forefront of this digital revolution and are commercializing innovations in many areas. Startupfair 2015 makes the digital revolution visible by showing “Digital Lifestyle Showcases”; Swiss startups demonstrate their solutions for the digital age. All industries are touched by the arrival of new digital technologies, and some will be transformed forever: Farmers increase crop yield by using drones with sensors and cameras to compute fertilization patterns. Large supply chains may be replaced by on demand and on site production: A 3D printer recently printed 10 single family houses in just one day*. And service businesses continue to be disrupted by internet businesses and the sharing economy, as can be witnessed by the very public conflict between traditional taxi and delivery service operators and the Silicon Valley company UBER. Resistance has been the choice of some …

gert-artikel-2

Swiss Startups are too modest – Startup-Battle to break the spell!

Swiss startups are often too modest compared with their international peers Gert Christen, CEO of Startzentrum Zurich and founder of the national Swiss Startupfair: “Entrepreneurial thinking must be learned earlier.” Courage to take risks is a challenge for Swiss society Startupfair and Startup-Battle created to break this cultural spell The decision to remove the support for the cap on the Swiss Franc exchange rate against the Euro, and the unexpected popular vote to restrict so-called “mass immigration”, continue to occupy the news in Switzerland. In addition, ominous news about the industry and the downgrading of growth expectations, are heating up discussions about Switzerland as a competitive country. These negative news seem to drown out the positive impulses coming from innovating Swiss startup companies. Studies see Swiss startups among the most innovative in the world. However, even with such a high ranking, some discomforting deficits are showing upon closer examination – Swiss modesty and perfectionism, are but two of them. Modesty, very well paying jobs as an alternative, and the lack of business ambitions are hampering …