Navigating Innovation and History

Our Final Days in San Francisco

As our seminar abroad came to an end, our last days in San Francisco were a blend of innovation, education, and historical exploration. This experience was not just a saying goodbye to a city; it was a step forward in understanding the strings that create the future technologies and understanding the entrepreneurial spirit in the city.

Plug and Play: Where Innovation Meets Opportunity

On Wednesday, April 3rd, we visited the Plug and Play Tech Center. Plug and Play is known for its mission to connect bright minds and drive innovation. With a network of 50,000 startups, over 500 leading corporations, and various venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies, the center is a thriving hub for technological innovation aimed at shaping a smarter future.

Our team, connectUS, participated in the weekly pitch session of Plug and Play. This was a unique opportunity for us to see new startups with groundbreaking ideas. The diversity and ambition of the tech startups presented were very interesting. 

Lunch on the sunny terrace at Plug and Play was the perfect break before heading out on our next adventure.

Menlo College: A Closer Look at Silicon Valley's Educational Heart

In the afternoon, we visited Menlo College, a renowned institution for business education located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Menlo College is known for its practical approach to teaching business skills and preparing leaders for the entrepreneurial economy.

Lars Fässler, Oliver Mayer, and David Stuber guided us through the college’s Living and Learning Community (LLC), providing us with a close-up view of student life and learning in this dynamic environment.

Alcatraz Island: A Journey Through Time

On April 4th, we visited Alcatraz Island, a historic site that provided a contrast to the technological and educational narratives of the previous day. It was an immersive experience through the famous federal prison, revealing stories of imprisonment and escape attempts that captured everyone’s interest. This visit was not just a tour; it was a journey through the layers of history that define San Francisco.

Swissnex San Francisco

Our afternoon was spent at Swissnex in San Francisco’s Financial District. Sarah Burckhardt provided an insightful office tour. Swissnex serves as a hub for public events, startup coaching, innovation consulting, and more, fostering a connection between Swiss and American academic and entrepreneurial communities. The panel discussion featuring Jean-Philippe ‘JP’ Perisco and CEO Emilia Pasquier highlighted the vibrant culture of innovation that defines the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem.