All posts tagged: Startup


Silicon Valley Innovation Tours Done Right

This article was first published as a LinkedIn article by Antonio Grgic on November 12, 2018. He condensed his personal learnings from a study tour to Silicon Valley organized by HWZ University of Applied Sciences Zurich. What follows is the English translation of the article with an introduction by Gert Christen who organized and led the study tour. Silicon Valley Tours – Just Tourism or Meaningful for Innovation? If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you know the two types of buses shuttling people between San Francisco and Silicon Valley: Employee buses of the large tech companies on the one hand and chartered buses carrying visitors from all over the world to the same tech companies on the other. Each week there are hundreds of delegations from all over the world traveling around the Silicon Valley determined to learn its secrets. They fall into five categories: Politicians who want to learn how to set policies that attract innovative companies, resulting in more high qualified jobs and highly profitable and future-proof companies. Business people who want to learn how to be more innovative and who want to sell their products, find new suppliers or create …

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, …

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 Geschä 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 …


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 …


Zurich startups meet New York! Zurich meets New York!

We brought 10 selected hi-potential startups to New York and they got to pitch before a full house. Really enjoyed that evening – great energy and a great impression made by Swiss startups in the “Big Apple”. Since then, one of the startups set up their New York office in the space where we held the event: Flatev. … running the show that night: David Weber, project manager for the event at the City of Zurich and myself, MC for the night.

Waiting for the mayor of San Francisco in his meeting room

Waiting for the mayor of San Francisco in his meeting room…

I had the opportunity to visit with the City of San Francisco as a part of a delegation from Zurich. Very impressive how San Francisco deals with tight budgets, constant growth and the need to specialize. There is much more to the management of this city than this impressive meeting table and door leading to the mayor’s office….. Zurich and San Francisco have been sister cities for more than 10 years and I am representing the startup community on the committee. And, interestingely, both San Francisco and New York city managements seem to have a thing with very massive wooden tables!