Day 9 – Boston

Today, we had the chance to go to the Cambridge Science Festival. It was a pleasure to see all the different types of sciences. For example, we could drive electronic bikes, see a robotic doc or use a 3D printer.

 

After having fun at the festival, everybody could do what they wanted to do.

 

Now, we are looking forward to our final destination – New York.

Day 8 – Boston

Our eighth day or our On-Site Seminar. We had a full program with lots of impressions.

 

Proclara Biosciences

Hampus Hillerstrom, the CFO and Executive Vice President as well as Co-Founder, welcomed us at the office of Swissnex. Proclara produces alzheimer medicine that decelerate this illness. Their goal is to reach all molecule and not only once. This is something unique in this sector.

 

The medicine is actually too expensive for the market, so they have to share the costs with others.

 

MIT Media Lab

This Media Lab was founded by private companies and has nowadays 25 different teams in researching. Phil Tinn who is a research scientist gave us an overview about their activities. The City Science Lab is the second biggest field of these 25. A new project in this field are autonomous vehicles which can be used as a transport method in the future.

 

Pixability

We were welcomed by the founder and CEO of Pixability, Bettina Hein. She is a Swiss who lives in Boston since a couple of years. In 2008, she founded this company. Firstly, they were located at the CIC building. Pixability is a video advertising company that helps media professionals.

She told us that anyone can be an entrepreneur. All you need is:

  • naivité: it doesn’t mean not having a plan
  • chutzpah: this means you need the courage to do new and other things
  • perseverance: you need the power of endurance

 

A good and successful business field is always a market which is disrupted, changes rapidly and is large enough. Really important is the fact that almost each start-up has to change their first business model while growing.

 

In the evening and also tomorrow, the whole delegation will go to the Cambridge Science Festival.

 

 

Day 7 – Boston

Today we had our first day in Boston!

Swissnex Boston

Dr. Felix Moesner, the CEO and Consul of Swissnex Boston welcomed us at their office in Cambridge. He told us that networking is essential and you should prepare yourself for every single event. After the introduction of Felix Moesner, Jonas Brunschwig and Francesco Bortoluzzi – both are Swiss –told us some facts about Boston, Cambridge and the US. There are 75 colleges and universities as well as 265’000 students around Boston. It is actually the world’s leading life science cluster.

MIT tour

We had the pleasure to see some buildings of the MIT and get an insight from Jonas Brunschwig. With his deep knowledge of lots of secrets of the MIT campus, the tour was a blast! Through walking around the campus, we could feel the spirit of entrepreneurship and wanting to achieve more.

CIC & Venture Café

After having lunch at the campus of the MIT, we went to CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center). This is a company who provides workforce spaces for other companies. So, you can rent some space in their building and get a great network, especially for start-ups. Firstly, we got a short presentation of the mission of CIC and afterwards we got to see the different work spaces provided by CIC.

The Venture Café is inside the building of CIC and is thought to be a networking place. Today, there was an event with lots of business people and we had the chance to talk to them in a comfortable atmosphere.

Swiss Re

Pascal Marmier from Swiss Re spoke about digital analytics catalysts and the satelite office of Swiss Re in the CIC building. It was very interesting, why a reinsurer company has made an office in Boston. The reasons are vast, but the most important reason is that Boston is the Innovation Hub/generator. Lots of new ways are developed by start-up on how data can be used to evaluate risk. An important business/skill a reinsurer needs, therefore it is essential to be right next door where these innovations are happening.

Wrap up San Francisco

The Bay Area – The place where innovation comes from.

No matter what company we visited in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley, we always had the impression to have arrived in the future. Either a company’s product, business model, process or employees seem to strive for innovation. We were lucky enough to be given the chance to get firsthand insights into various companies. Furthermore, we also learnt a lot about the Silicon Valley ecosystems, as well as its engine – the Stanford University.

The first day of visits and kickoff of our on-site seminar started with the visit of DocuSign. Their basic service is a cloud-based platform to read and sign contracts online wherever you might be in the world. Of course, they are constantly thinking about new features and therefore it is no surprise that DocuSign recently introduced a new service that also includes payment. The mindset of constant product and service improvement is something we discovered in all our visits. Right after DocuSign we headed to Swissnex San Francisco. After a general introduction into Swissnex we were able to learn how they support Swiss startups that want to succeed in the U.S. Since the Bay Area is the heart of new technologies and innovative thinking this part of Swissnex is really attractive and a lot of startups take advantage of it. In general, there is a huge number of startups in that area, what also leads to even more untouched ideas. The last visit of that day was at the Microsoft office located in San Francisco downtown. It was fascinating to see how many Microsoft products each one of us uses on a daily basis without even realizing. This requires a great ability of evaluating, which technologies have a chance in the future.

After a sunny weekend and some sightseeing, we travelled to the roots of innovation – the Silicon Valley. Once we arrived there everyone thought that we took the wrong highway exit, because it looked like a totally normal living district. After the visit at the Swisscom Outpost and their introduction into the Valley, we found out that pretty much everyone who visits SV has a similar first impression as we did. Furthermore, we learned a lot about the development of the whole Silicon Valley and its “founder”. Nowadays this place is an own eco-system that is the engine of new technologies and innovation in general. This is also why companies like Swisscom decide to open an outpost over there. In the afternoon we had the unique chance to visit Microsoft again, but this time at their office in the Valley (Mountain View). Learning more about artificial intelligence (AI) and experiencing the “HoloLens” is something none of us will ever forget. It was unique to get the opportunity to explore one of these futuristic technologies.

On Tuesday, we had our last visit in San Francisco. The company Xamarin, that was newly acquired by Microsoft, hosted us at their office in the city center. Hearing something about their history and reasons to sell themselves to Microsoft was definitely an added value to our stay in San Francisco. Even more fascinating and special was the Q&A with the founder and CEO of Xamarin.
To learn firsthand what it needs to successfully lead a company and which skills are required to be a good entrepreneur, was an absolutely enriching and unforgettable experience.

Interested to read more about our visits? Here our daily blog entries:
On-Site 2017

Our next stop is Boston, where we will further expand our minds and explore more companies where we will get an impression about the difference between the west and the east coast.

The last words are dedicated to all these people that enabled us to make that unforgettable experience. All of them did that next to their regular tasks and we highly appreciate their great efforts. Thank you!

Day 6 – Boston

This day we were travelling the whole day from San Francisco to Boston. We had to leave really early in the morning and arrived in the evening at our hotel in Boston.

The whole delegation enjoyed together a first dinner in a typical American restaurant.

Day 5 – San Francisco

Our fifth and last day in San Francisco was splitted in two parts. In the morning, the delegation had time for them-selves and do what they wanted. In the afternoon, we had a last visit here.

 

Xamarin

Karina Ung from Xamarin organised together with Paul Singh from Microsoft this visit. David Hathaway presented us the company Xamarin in their office in the city of San Francisco. In 2016, Microsoft bought this company and nowadays Xamarin is a subsidiary of Microsoft. Xamarin has over 350 employees, 15’000 customers and 1’400’000 developers worldwide. They develop apps for each device such as iOS or Android.

 

Furthermore, we had the honor to meet the CEO and Co-founder of Xamarin, Nat Friedman. He talked about his career steps and afterwards we could ask some questions. For beeing a successful entrepreneur, you need these three qualities: persistence (keep trying), result orientation and story telling (clear communication).

After this last visit we sat together and talked about our key-learnings from these interesting visits in San Francisco. Tomorrow, we will leave San Francisco and heading to Boston.

Day 4 – San Francisco

We spent our fourth day in the Silicon Valley. So, everbody was really looking forward to this day.

 

Swisscom Outpost

Our first stop was at the Swisscom Outpost. Lukas Peter, CEO of this outpost and a Swiss guy, welcomed us at their office. It was founded in 1998 and has nowadays 10 employees. He told us that each start-up from Europe has to go to the USA for going globaly in the future – otherwise they would fail.

 

 

 


Furthermore, Lukas spoke about the difference in doing business between the USA and Switzerland. For example, you only have plans for the next 2 weeks and not any longer in the USA. Whereas in Switzerland, you have plans for the next 2 or 3 months. Another example is the risk aversion. In Silicon Valley is the motto „do new things – you can fail, but you will fail forward“. In Switzerland, you want to stay by the traditional way and you do not want to fail at all.

 

 

Microsoft

We had the great opportunity to have lunch at Microsoft in Mountain View. Paul Singh welcomed us again, together with Jarek Kazmierczak and Rajya Bhaiya. After a great lunch, we heard a presentation about Artificial Intelligence from Jarek. The most interesting point was that the digital revolution is the next industrial revolution. That means, the digital revolution is more powerful than all others.

Afterwards, we could try out HoloLenses. These are augmented reality lenses which combine the virtual world with the real world. Due to these lenses, virtual objects can be placed in three dimensional space. It was absolutely fabulous and something unique.

Stanford University

Our last stop was at the famous Stanford University. We could walk around by our-selves and see this enormous campus which is like a city.

Day 3 – San Francisco

Leisure time – this was the motto of our third day. Everybody could do what he or she wanted to.

 

But the delegation had the opportunity to explore Alcatraz, the prison of San Francisco. Most of them joined this trip. It was really interesting to see how the prisoner had to live there. With a audio guided tour, we were able to learn some interesting facts about it. For example, the families with the children of the prison officers lived on the isle.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Day 2 – San Francisco

The second day of our On-Site Seminar stood for exploring San Francisco. Therefore, we had a big bus tour across the whole city. We did a first stop by the Alamo Square. From there, we had an amazing view over the city.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards, we headed to the Golden Gate Bridge with the bus and drove over – it was so windy. After a walk up to a small hill, we had a brilliant view over the skyline of the city and the bridge.


 

 

 

 

 

In the evening, we had the chance to watch a basketball game of the Golden State Warriors versus the New Orleans Pelicans. Luckily, the Golden State Warriors won. It was an absolutely wonderful day with the whole delegation and lecturers.

 

 

Day 1 – San Francisco

Our On-Site Seminar started today with three absolutely interesting visits in San Francisco City.

 

DocuSign

This company manages contracts electronically and not on paper. So, you are able to sign, send and manage documents anytime, anywhere and on any device. About 2’000 people are working for DocuSign worldwide. 2005 was the foundation in Seattle and there is still the headquarter.

Boris Pavlovic and Christian Marek welcomed us at DocuSign. Interestingly, Boris is Swiss and Christian Austrian. Christian told us that each person can use their services, from a private person to a small or large company. Impressingly, with DocuSign we can eliminate 85% of paper from the contract cycle and 50% in the field of meeting for completing contracts.

To be and stay innovative, the have a process of five steps – opportunity, prioritization, requirements, execution and growth. With the system „3-in-a-box“ they get their ideas from 3 different fields. In each team there is a person from the business side, one from the engineering side and one from the user side as well.

 

Swissnex San Francisco

Swissnex is an initiative of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), managed in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Here, we were welcomed by Dominic Sutter – a Swiss person. He explained us what Swissnex exactly does. Probably the most important task is to help start-ups to get used to the American market. Therefore, they have three programs. One of them is the market entry support, where they help you to build up a brand in the USA. Around 10 to 15 companies each year are supported by Swissnex.

 

Microsoft (City)

Paul Singh, a cloud solution architect, welcomed us at the office of Microsoft in the city of San Francisco. „Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more“ is the mission of Microsoft. Paul told us some interesting facts about Microsoft like their culture or could system. Microsoft has a lot of famous clients such as Apple, DocuSign, Netflix or IBM.

 

 

 

Another fact is that the people all over the world only uses about 20% of all features of Microsoft’s products. Furthermore, Microsoft donates an average of 2.6 million dollar in software each day.