A deep-dive into Startup Switzerland in two days

Stefan Kyora

12.06.2018 17:10

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Can foreign startups establish contacts with potential business partners and gain an overview of the Swiss start-up scene in just two days? The digitalswitzerland Market Entry Bootcamp, which is organised together with Impact Hub Zurich, pursued exactly these goals. We asked the startup teams about the results.

Franz W. Lye is at home in Singapore. On the evening of the second intensive day of the Market Entry Bootcamp, he sits in the Kraftwerk Zürich and still sprays a lot of energy. "On the first day the jetlag made itself somewhat noticeable, but today I feel very well,” says Lye. His startup called Chynge wants to make international bank transfers faster, safer and above all cheaper with the help of Blockchain.

Chynge addresses three target groups: Immigrant workers, wealthy private individuals - so-called high net worth individuals - and multinational trade companies. "All three groups are present in Switzerland, which makes the country a very interesting market for us," explains Lye.

The same applies to MDOTM. The Milan-based startup develops investment strategies for institutional investors based on artificial intelligence. MDOTM already has a first client in Switzerland. "For a B2B company like us, it's crucial to build up your network, make yourself a name and meet potential customers directly," explains MDOTM COO Federico Invernizzi.

Chynge and MDOTM are two of the fifty startups selected for the first Market Entry Bootcamp. More than twenty Swiss corporates took the opportunity to get to know the international start-ups and their business models and to examine future cooperations. The one-to-one meetings that gave corporate start-ups and innovation managers the opportunity to establish direct contacts, were among the highlights of the Market Entry Bootcamp.

"The format of the Market Entry Bootcamps is unique in Switzerland. In short but intensive two days, Swiss companies and accelerators are able to establish contacts with international and innovative start-ups, create new collaborations and thus create added value for the Swiss innovation ecosystem," says Nicolas Bürer, Managing Director digitalswitzerland.

Meetings with tangible results
Franz W. Lye, who has many years of industry experience, and Federico Invernizzi, who was able to present a product that had already proven itself on the market, seized the opportunity: "We had seven meetings, four of them with banks," says Lye. And Invernizzi explains: "We were able to arrange four follow-up meetings with large financial service providers.

"I am very pleased how much we have achieved in two days," explains Katka Letzing, Program Manager for Innovation Projects at the Impact Hub Zurich. In addition to the one-to-one meetings, the Bootcamp offered an overview of the Swiss start-up scene on the first day, whose strengths and special features were previously unknown to the entrepreneurs from abroad. "For example, the fact that many large companies in Switzerland are open to proof of concept projects with start-ups and that there are several programs that help to initiatte PoCs, was completely new for the participants," says Letzing.

Exactly these accelerators introduced themselves to the participants of the Bootcamp on the first day. "The startups now know to which program they should apply, if they want to take the next step," explains Katka Letzing.

Several founders are interested in doing business in Switzerland in the long-term. These include Dmitriy Prostov, CEO of Panda Money. Panda Money, headquartered in Moscow, developed a financial literacy app for children. He found open ears with his conversation partners in Zurich, especially because his app not only imparts basic knowledge, but also helps children to handle money responsibly. "I can certainly imagine registering an official branch in Switzerland," says Prostov.

See attachment for the article in German.

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