24 Hints to Build A Lean Startup

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Monday this week, I was organizing a meetup in my home city, Biel/Bienne. We had the pleasure of welcoming Dorian Selz, a very smart and serial Swiss entrepreneur (Local.ch, Memonic and Squirro). I asked Dorian to present us his hints on how to build a startup. Dorian shared his entrepreneurial journey, from becoming partner at Namics, then being recruited to launch Local.ch to his present company, Squirro. He explained the concept of freemium and its major hurdle when you build a startup: freemium means that only a small portion of users subsidize the other ones, who get “free lunches”! Internet entrepreneurs are aware of the model, but how Dorian made the concept comprehensible to the audience of non geeks was just… awesome! Dorian then explained his point of view on the challenges of being an entrepreneur in Switzerland. After building …

From Startup to Growth: 10 Survival Rules for Startups

In Startup Learnings by Sébastien Flury1 Comment

I first met with Raffael years ago  (in 2009 or 2010) at the Startup Day, FORUM EPFL, in Lausanne. At that time, I was trying to convince him to relocate his company a bit Northern Switzerland, as this was part of my mission. I was sure he and Joël were on something extremely promising, which is finally true. I remember our discussions as they were bootstrapping (this word was quite unknown at that time), rather than losing too much time to go pitching everywhere. Since then, their company has grown up to a “multinational SME”, with around 20 employees, multiple locations and customers all around the world. Raffael shared his “survival guide” some months ago, which you’ll discover in this post.   This is a guest post by Raffael Maio is a keen Swiss entrepreneur, who is COO and co-founder …

Do’s and Don’ts for Startups Going International

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End of October, I had the chance to be invited by Switzerland Global Enterprise (thank you Gioia for recommending me!) to Sao Paulo & Porto Alegre for a « SwissICT Roadshow ». The goal of the roadshow was to promote Switzerland among Brazilian startups as a key location to expand to Europe. Like most European countries, Switzerland is investing in fast-developing countries to attract them and create jobs in Switzerland. The key for such events is to promote the advantages of the location without hiding the potential disadvantages. Most countries do it pretty simply: they show up for a 1-2h presentation and explain why they are « the best place » for these companies when entering Europe. Switzerland Global Enterprise did it differently: let’s provide more value than a simple presentation! The guys of S-GE in Brazil organized an intensive …

Time for a break, no?

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There’s sometimes a cliché that entrepreneurs can’t go on holidays, that they have to always be there and reachable. To some extent, it’s kind of true… you cannot completely switch off. Your mind cannot be disconnected from your venture. That’s one of the inconvenient to be passionate about your activity as an entrepreneur. If you have no passion and no fun in what you do, you’ll never support the charge of being an entrepreneur. On the other hand, I wouldn’t exchange my job as an entrepreneur for a « boring corporate job » (I know, it’s kind of unfair: there are also great jobs in corporates!). Enjoying your job 24/7 has ways more value than being bored in a regular 9-5 job. Entrepreneurs have the risk of « burn out », when many corporate people fear the « bore out …

Launching your service: think about UX !

In Marketing & Sales, Startup Learnings by Sébastien FluryLeave a Comment

You often hear first-time entrepreneurs with an idea that they need to find a technical co-founder, a software developer. Which is quite a tricky thing. Why ? Because everybody understands that you are looking for someone who you won’t have to pay to build your product. Why is it so difficult for business guys with an idea to find a technical co-founder? Software developers have ideas (the good ones) and they can build things on their own. Without the business guy. So, first hand, you have to convince them that your idea is better than theirs. Given they have or can get easily (at least in Switzerland) a very decent, safe salary in a bigger company… Mission : impossible ? But, to quote Che Guevara : « Be realistic, demand the impossible ! » (Che Guevara) Developers are probably even more skeptical as all the other people …

If my kids become entrepreneurs… by Laurent Haug

In Startup Learnings by Sébastien Flury2 Comments

Some weeks ago, Laurent Haug hold a presentation at an entrepreneurship school on what he learned during his 20 years as an entrepreneur. Laurent is a Swiss entrepreneur, who notably sold his startup (CoComment) to Swisscom in 2006 and started the famous Lift Conference (#1 innovation conference in Switzerland) 10 years ago. His motto is to “help people find ideas, and ideas find people”. He’s current active as a Venture Partner at Anthemis (a VC specialised in fintech) and Partner at MKS Alternative Investment (a seed investment company based in Switzerland). I first met Laurent back in 2009 and we collaborated for the organization of the 2nd and 3rd “Venture Night” at Lift (I convinced the boss of the technology park I was working for to sponsor the night…). He’s an inspiring and friendly guy and a very sharp business …

12 startup learnings and advice

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On May 7th, I had the pleasure to be invited by IFJ/venturelab (Institute für Jungunternehmen, based in St-Gallen), the oldest and renowned entrepreneurs training in Switzerland, to share my journey so far to students from the Berner Fachshochschule in Biel/Bienne (very close to my home city village). To my big surprise, there were only German-speaking attendees (Biel/Bienne is the only true bilingual city in Switzerland (65-70% German-speaking, 30-35% French speaking) and only one woman present. The latter point doesn’t surprise me that much, however. Tech startups are mostly (and unfortunately) a “man-thing”. It’s the reality, even though I had the pleasure to organize a pitching event on May 11th (SICTIC Investor Day Lausanne) with 5 (out of 8!) female entrepreneurs pitching. Probably the exception confirming the rule (…). But back to my presentation. The first speaker was Matthias Hell, an …

The Importance of Startup Board Members

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When you start developing your startup, you are often 2, sometimes 3 co-founders. You may have seen more than 3 co-founders, but experience shows that it is not sustainable to be more than 3 (because everybody has less ownership for instance… but also because it becomes difficult to take decisions move forward quickly). The ideal composition of an internet/software startup is to have one UX/UI designer, a software engineer and a businessman/-woman. The 2 first members are the ones who will actually develop the product and the last one, the one who cares of everything else (administrative tasks, product management, marketing, business development, financials, fundraising, recruiting, etc.). You need to understand and to respect each other really well to make it working. As the businessman/-woman of the team, you need to be on the field, going to meet as many …