Launching a startup is hard and even harder if you’re not in a viable startup ecosystem (where there is enough money flowing to startup, enough entrepreneurs and a general acceptance of failure). In Europe and Middle East, there are 2 mature startup hubs, London and Israel. Of course, Berlin, Paris and many startup scenes are growing and maturing. Switzerland still doesn’t really exist as a startup hub on the global map, even if many Swiss tech startups deserve more attention. And there are also many new initiatives popping up regularly. Like the launch of the Startup Manifesto to transform Switzerland into a real Startup Nation, initated by the association Le Réseau.
It is still a long way to go to have a mature startup ecosystem in Switzerland (talking about web and mobile companies, not life sciences). The advantage is that Swiss startups know from day 1 that they need to go international (Swiss market is, well, not that big) and network in the relevant startup hubs. One of my advice is to start early on to “Go London” (or Berlin, whatever is best for you). Commit yourself to fly there regularly, 3-4 days every month: it’s not (too) expensive, even as a bootstrapped startup. You can even book a flight to London City (with Swiss) for a very reasonable price (CHF 150.-/200.-), which has the big advantage to be very close to Google Campus for instance (45min door-to-door).
But I never really thought seriously of flying to Israel. Even though it’s a very advanced tech center. And you can find many very successful originated from this country (check this post to discover a dozen of the most successful Israeli startups). This idea came to my mind by discussing with a fellow entrepreneur in July. He told me about a business trip to DLD Tel Aviv (the local chapter of the acclaimed DLD Conference happening every year in January in Münich) taking place early September (6-12th). Organized by Sabrina Cohen Dumani, president of the Nomads Foundation (a new initiative to support and grow the Swiss innovation ecosystem by building bridges with the finest global startup hubs, industry leaders and research institutes), the trip aims of connecting Swiss entrepreneurs/startup activists with the Israeli startup scene. Anyone can join the trip by registering here (it costs EUR 260.- to join the delegation – flight and accomodation are not comprised).
Nomads Foundation has just launched a “Swiss Tech Founders Contest”: 3 entrepreneurs will be selected to participate to the delegation at no cost (free flight, accomodation at other entrepreneurs house (well… do you remember the awesome service of StartupStay?), organisation fees, introductions to local entrepreneurs/investors, etc.). The deadline is extremely short (Wednesday 19th (extended!) of August at 23:59:59 Swiss time) but it only take 5min to send your application. Isn’t it cool?