Beiträge

Final wrap-up

It’s sad to say, but connectUS 2017 is already over. With the Closing Event on May 8, it officially came to an end. But we had a wonderful year with lots of interesting and amazing moments.

 

Everything started in summer 2016 with the planning. The first official event then was the Kick-Off Meeting for the Delegation at the end of December 2016. There, we got to know each other for the first time personally and learned more about the upcoming Preparatory and On-Site Seminar.

 

In February, the Preparatory Seminar took place. We had the pleasure to welcome different high-ranked people from various fields and companies. Furthermore, we had the opportunity to get an insight into the Google Offices in Zurich and the Swiss Embassy in Bern.

 

Then, everybody was really excited and looking forward to April 6. We finally headed off to the USA for our On-Site Seminar! Our first stop was San Francisco. With DocuSign, Swissnex, Swisscom, Microsoft and Xamarin we had absolutely fabulous visits there. Boston was our second city of our On-Site Seminar. We had a speech from the CEO of Swissnex, an MIT tour, a tour and speech by the CIC and the chance to network in the Venture Café as well as a speech from Bettina Hein, the CEO of Pixability. Moreover, we had the chance to visit the Cambridge Science Festival in Boston. Last but not least, we went to New York. The program was packed with insightful visits such as Google, Alex Goldberg – a venture capitalist, MoMA, Swiss Consulate, Brooklyn Grange and Livestream.

 

No doubt, we had a wonderful time. This was for sure a once in a lifetime experience. Now, everthing finished with the successful Closing Event.

 

Our last words are dedicated to all those people that enabled us to have that unforgettable experience such as our supervisor, accompanying lectures, delegates, speakers and of course, a big thank you to our partners!

 

There is one more thing we want to share with you: Lean back, fasten your seatbelt and enjoy our On-Site video 2017!

Day 15 – New York

This is actually our last day of our On-Site Seminar. We enjoyed this day with two interesting visits.

 

Livestream

We were warmly welcomed at Livestream by Matt O’Leary and Dave Yeu. This company exists since 10 years and has over 120 employees here in Brooklyn. They also have teams in India and Ukraine, but the headquarter is still in Brooklyn.

 

They are organised by two different working-groups. The first one is VPG (Video Product Group) which builds videos. The second one is called PPG (Plattform Product Group) which is responsible for the distribution.

 

After their presentation, we had the pleasure to see the whole office and get some insights into their worklife.

Wall Street Experience

In the afternoon, we went to the Wall Street and did a tour with a tour guide called Jared. Therefore, we got some great information about the Wall Street itself. For example, the name „Wall Street“ is leaded back to a wall which stood there. Moreover, the company „General Electric“ is the only company which is on the down jones index since its beginning.

 

Another intersting fact is that the largest business district is not at the Wall Street, it is actually in the midtown. Also the huge banks like UBS or Credit Suisse are not located there.

 

To sum up this whole On-Site Seminar, we will have a joint dinner in the evening and have a great closure of it.

Day 14 – New York

We had this day, actually our second last day in New York, two different visits and a bit of leisure time.

 

Consulate General of Switzerland

In the morning, we met André Schaller, the Ambassador, at the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York City. First of all, he told us some facts about the relationship between the USA and Switzerland. One interesting fact is that US-companies have created about 100’000 jobs in Switzerland. On the other hand, Swiss-companies have created approximately 500’000 jobs in the USA.

 

Furthermore, he spoke about the image of Switzerland in the USA. The Swiss are at the six place at the moment. In natural beauty, Switzerland is actually on the second place.

 

Lastly, André Schaller presented the tasks of the Consulate. The most important one is the support of Swiss citizen. Another task is to promote Switzerland in the USA in several fields.

 

 

Brooklyn Grange

We were warmly welcomed by Mollie Kinsman at Brooklyn Grange. This company was founded in 2010 and uses rooftops as a breeding ground. Their core business is agriculture. But they also do some consulting work like designs for a garden. At the moment, they have two buildings which they use and one more is in planning.

 

Due to this usage of rooftops, the environment can profit from a better air, local food and biodiversity. The customers of Brooklyn Grange are 2/3 local restaurants and 1/3 private customers.

Day 13 – New York

Today, we had two interesting and absolutely different visits. Both of them were really exciting.

 

Alex Goldberg

He is a venture capitalist and the Managing Director of Canary Venture. The focus of his company lies on seed-stage as well as B2B enterprise and infrastructure software start-ups. Alex Goldberg does not only invest in these start-ups, he also supports them. At the moment, he has 12 different companies.

 

After the presentation of Alex Goldberg, we had the pleasure to hear two speeches from two different start-ups. The first one was „All Beauty“ from Camille Varlet. She is the CEO and founder of this company which produces a special water. The water should make you more beautiful, has a flavor in it and has actually no sugar and calories as well.

 

 

 

The second speech was from Miika Perä. He is the CEO of the company „Cambrian Intelligence“. Cambrian is a robot OS made of Artificial Intelligence in car production. He wants to solve the problem that the software is the limiting factor for a fully automated world.

 

 

 

 

 

MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)

In the afternoon, we visited the MoMA. We could learn so much about the modern art with a private tour guide. Thus, we had the chance to unterstand the background of some paintings and pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 12 – New York

Our twelfth day was fully booked with a visit at Google in New York city. Chantrelle Johanson, Caitlin Boston and Maria Grach welcomed us at their huge office. An incredible fact is that the office has the same space like the Empire State Building. Furthermore, about 7’000 employees work for Google in New York.

First of all, we got an absolutely amazing tour through the office. The view of the rooftop is stunning. Afterwards, Chantrelle told us something about the design sprint process. It is a five phase framework – unterstand, sketch, decide, prototype and validate.

 

Then, it was time for us to explore this process in real. We had the task to design an app for students which makes the life for them easier. With several contraints we knew what we have to do. So, we did some user interviews, put some ideas together, did the design principles, defined the user journey and in the end, we had to present our idea.

 

It was really interesting to learn more about this desing sprint and to get some first-hand experiences.

Day 11 – New York

On this Easter Monday, we had no company visits. So, each delegation member could do what he or she wanted. Some of us went to a shopping outlet and others did some sightseeing.

 

Here, you find some impressions of the sightseeing tour.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 10 – New York

This day, we were travelling from Boston to New York with the bus. The journey was longer than we thought due to the huge traffic in the city. Nevertheless, we were all really excited to arrive in New York and enjoyed a great evening.

 

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.

 

 

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!