For our first activity in San Francisco, we went to the Swissnex office at the Jackson Square. With a hot Starbucks in the hand, we walked through the Financial District. It allows us to discover the life into this amazing city with its buildings, coffees and famous Cable Car Lines. We arrived at 9 a.m. which was the time of the meeting (Swiss Precision). In the office we met Benjamin Bollmann who is Head of Science Programs & University Affairs for several months. We were kindly received with croissants, orange juice and hot drinks. Then the CEO of the Swissnex San Francisco, Christian Simm, introduced himself and presented to us the main goals of the office.
« Swissnex San Francisco connects the dots between Switzerland and North America in science, education, art, and innovation. » – about Swissnex
Basically Swissnex is in charge of relying the Switzerland and the Silicon Valley through innovation and new technologies. Moreover the organization helps swiss startups to grow up their business in the US. At the end of his presentation, we had a talk together about the mindset of a typical american entrepreneur. Afterwards, Benjamin guided us to the second floor in order to see all the office.
Finishing the visit, we had to hurry up to take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and then the CalTrain to go to the Downtown of Menlo Park where Swisscom is based. After a quick lunch in the area, we went inside the Swisscom office. There, we were received by the Vice-President, Gregory Leproux. Him and some of his colleagues presented the aim of the company in the US. They talked about the Swisscom Startup Challenge, which is a very interesting contest for swiss startups. Also we had an introduction on the value chain. After this, we directly began an exercise based on this model. We worked by the groups of our startup’s project. Each group made a short presentation of their exercise’s results and then had some feedbacks from the Swisscom’s advisors. Their advices were very helpful for the direction we will take to the projects.
Before the sunset, we decided to go back to our hostel in the Downtown of San Francisco. It was our first day visiting companies. We were very happy to meet swiss people at around 10 000 km from home. In a few hours, we learnt a lot about innovation and how competitive have to be the companies in order to stay in the race of success.
If we had to resume the day in one sentence, we would say: If you have to fail, fail fast!
Karim & Karim