Boston – Day 2

Swissnex

Today the connectUS 2016 delegation was warmly welcomed by Swissnex at their office in Boston.

As an introduction Jonas Brunschwig briefly explained to us the unique characteristics of the vibrant ecosystem especially for entrepreneurs in Boston. With over 300 universities it is a huge pool of talents. Jonas refered to Boston as Athen of higher education. This makes it also very attractive for startup companies as well as for venture capitalists.

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Furthermore the Consul Dr. Felix Moesner gave deeper insights into the mission of Swissnex. Their overall mission is to connect dots, mainly between public to private partnerships. The areas they focus on are education, innovation and research. Through hosting as well as in participating in selected events like the New York Fashion Week or the MIT Career Fair, they want to strengthen Switzerlands reputation as a center for science and innovation.

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After a short coffe break we could enjoy two presentations about entrepreneurship which enriched our knowledge with new perspectives we didn’t hear so far.

Martin Steinmann, Managing Partner of SteamFab Ventures, told us about his perspective of the differences between Switzerland and the US business culture. He talked about seven variables that are crucial when starting a startup in the US: Culture, Financing, Market Size, Test for Demand, Team, Commitment and the Legal Framework. Especially he pointed out that a good preparation is key, as failure matters and is not easely forgiven by venture capitalists.

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The last presentation of the day was hold by Patrick Anquiel, PhD, CEO of Portal Instruments. He shared his personal success story in the field of life sciences with us which represents his formula for entrepreneurial success: Select a huge market, define a clear value proposition and have a defensible IP.

His presentation ended with a quote of Steve Jobs: “You can only connect the dots backward“.

MIT

In the afternoon after lunch Jonas Brunschwig gave us a tour through the MIT and showed us the most important places.

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Cambridge innovation Center and Venture Cafe

At the end of the day the connectUS delegation had the great opportunity to visit the Cambridge Innovation Center and got a tour through the location. The CIC supports the entrepreneurship community in Boston. In the end we could join a real life networking event at the Venture Cafe.

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Boston – Day 1

This morning our day started early with a four hour bus ride to Boston.

Pixability

In the afternoon we had our first company visit in Boston at Pixability. The company with its offices in NY, San Francisco, Chicago and the only EU office in London was founded in 2008 out of the MIT. Pixability is a video advertising company for premium platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube with around 70 employees.

Bettina Hein the founder of Pixability is an entrepreneur originally from Switzerland and welcomed us in their new office in Boston.

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„Anyone can be an entrepreneur“ was the message of her inspiring presentation where she was talking about the recipe for being an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur needs to stick to the three principles of „Naivité“, „Chutzpah“, „Perseverance“.

Bettina Hein finished her presentation with a Q&A session with the connectUS delegation which was really helpful for delegates that intent to become entrepreneurs themselves. There is a typical saying in Boston which is important for prospective entrepreneurs: „You have to go to where the puck is going, not to where it is now.“

New York – Day 5

Consulate General of Switzerland in New York

The Swiss Council André Schaller welcomed connectUS at the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York and talked about his personal success story as well as the duties of the Swiss Consulate in New York City. Furthermore he explained to us how Switzerland is being perceived by Americans as one of the most innovative and competitive countries in the world.

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Afterwards connectUS heard two interesting speeches. The trade commissioner told us about the importance of the US as a trading partner for Switzerland as the US is its second largest export market. He also shared with us how Swiss companies are valued as high quality and innovative. Therefore Swiss companies operating in America are very valuable to the economy as they provide high level jobs.

wordpress-9323Continuing with the last speaker Michael Smith who is a Swiss-American entrepeneur. He shared his experience of enterpreneurship and start-ups both in the US and Switzerland. His top five learnings are: there is more than one way, just do it, don’t be afraid to fail, be a connecter and last but not least don’t be humble.

UN Headquarters

In the afternoon the connectUS delegation had the chance to visit the UN Headquarters in New York city with a guided tour.

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After the tour the delegation was introduced to the principals of the UN with its Global Compact program via a private UN HQ briefing by one of the leading project managers. All the principals they promote today are still based on their core values; maintaining peace in the world, retain human rights and support sustainable development. The Global Compact program offers companies the opportunity to support the UN’s sustainable goals and help tackle important issues and receive some recognition as an additional incentive.

New York – Day 4

The Wallstreet Experience

After having one day off, we started the forth day in Wallstreet to understand the roots, history and importance of the former financial district in New York.

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John our tour-guide showed us the most representative buildings and explained why they used to be very important for New York and whole America. As a matter of fact most of the buildings in Wallstreet are no financial institutions anymore and are used now as museums, housing or shops for example. To fit the current needs of the financial sector, with all its new technologies, most of the companies are located in Midtown nowadays.

Finally John stated that history had a huge impact on the geography of New York. Manhattan, Manna-hata (many hills), has its name because it used  to be a hilly land but the more the city grew, the more it was made flat.

The tour ended with a short trading game where the delegation could make their own experiences as traders.

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NYU Incubators

The second stop today was at NYU Incubators where Alex Goldberg explained to us the role of a venture capitalist. As an Investor he has to decide which startup companies he will support with financial resources. There is a big number of factors he has to take into consideration, as for example the team behind the company, the strategic intent, the execution risk, the market conditions, the supporting network of the company as well as the stage.

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One very interesting aspect he mentioned was the DNI of a company. There are for example unicorns, that want to establish something new and unique in their market environment like for example Airbnb or Huber. These companies can be seen as Pioneers or Gamechangers. Then there are also so called Early Exit companies, which are established with the aim of being successfull and then sold in a few years.

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After his presentation, the delegation had the chance to see two pitches of two absolutely different startups operating in different markets and which also are in different stages.

Lary Wilmore late night show

In the afternoon we had the great chance to see the recording of the late night show of Lary Wilmore. It was a hilarous and exciting experience all delegation members enjoyed a lot.

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New York – Day 2 & 3

Today we had the chance to explore New York with some sightseeing.

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First stop was the the Statue of Liberty National Monument on Liberty Island that we reached by ferry. On the way back we went to Ellis Island with its Immigration Museum featuring the Wall of Honor.

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The second stop we made was at the Empire State Building which its really impressing view from the 86st floor.

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Tomorrow the delegation has a day off until we meet at 5 pm at Madison Square Garden to watch a basketball game.

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New York – Day 1

Today our journey in New York begun with a sunny day! The connectUS delegation had time in the morning to rest from the long journey and explore the city by their own and at 12AM we all met to heading towards the subway station and to the first company visit in Brooklyn.

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Column Five

Column Five is an award-winning visual communication agency located in Brooklyn, New York, which is specialized in data visualization, infographics, motion graphics and social media marketing.

On of their most DSC_8763testpopular produced campaign was the „Child of the 90s“ ad for Internet Explorer and its „Browser You Loved to Hate“ campaign. The video went viral within four days and received over 4.2 million hits.

Their starting point is always to fulfill the needs of their customers, why they always ask a lot of questions when starting a new project. To identify the aims they want to achieve and are able to come up with a tailored solution that really suits the needs of the customers target audience.

The strength of Column Five lays in their ability of storytelling. With their new apporach of transmitting thoughts through proposing interesting visiual form of content they had a huge impact on companies operating in publishing and advertisment and can thus be seen as a true game changer.

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Delta Airlines

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The second company connectUS visited today operates in the airplane business. Before starting their presentation they granted every delegation member the chance to express which questions and expectations they have from this company visit. Therefore the presentation could be adapted and really cover all areas the participants where interested in.

New York City is still nr. 1 most flying city of the world, what explains why they are based here. It represents the center of finance and is the connection to other financial capitals as well and their base for their network. In the airplane business having a well connected network is the most important value they can propose to their customers, especially to business travelers.

DSC_8783testAdditionally they informed us that New Yorkers are really comitted with their community, that’s why Delta also really involves themselves a lot on a daily basis with their commuity.

Trust and commitment also suits with their company culture and core values. Eventhough ist a huge company they care a lot about every eployee. The core values of the company rely on the fact that they believe that delta is a community that cares for each other like family. If their employees are happy, this will result in a professional approach towards their customers, which will lead to finally high Returns to their share holders.

Hardrock Cafe

In the evening the connectUS delegation met in front of the Hard Rock Cafe at the time square to have a joint dinner and while away the day.

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First Nexus Newsletter 2016

We are very happy to announce; we published our Nexus Newsletter today!

The FHNW International Student Projects Insight China, Focus India, connectUS, and exploreASEAN have created a corporate newsletter to share the highlights of the Preparatory Seminar week.

In the newsletter every project has its own sections that gives insight into the different projects and its current editions topic. Furthermore there are joint pages talking about the company visits, the Joint Friday and the Career Fair.

Finally you also get the chance to get to know more about some selected delegates from each project in the section “Key Learnings”.

We hope you will enjoy reading through the Nexus Newsletter.

New Semester

The connectUS team wants to wish all students a successful new semester.

Welcome to connectUS 2016

We warmly welcome you to the new edition of connectUS. It is an honor for us to have the opportunity to lead such a unique project in the next year.

Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce

We proudly confirm a continuous partnership with the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce.

Swiss AmCham