Swissnex Boston

Tell Awards

On June 18, we moved to NYC for joining the Swiss Business Hub USA and Switzerland Global Enterprise to celebrate the Eleventh Annual Tell Awards, which recognize U.S. companies with significant investment projects in Switzerland. The awards, named for the legendary Swiss hero William Tell, were presented by Ambassador André Schaller (Consul General of Switzerland in New York) and Daniel Küng, CEO of Switzerland Global Enterprise. Bloomberg hosted the event at its New York headquarters. Following the Awards Ceremony, the Swiss National Startup Team was invited onstage to showcase Swiss innovation projects. The recipients of this year’s awards are Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Fossil Group, and Zimmer.


The 10-day business development bootcamp ended with a company visit at the Headquarter of Uber in NYC and with nice group pictures on the Top of Rockefeller Center. The two main learning lessons of this experience are 1) it is all about EXECUTION and 2) “a ship in a harbour is safe, but that’s not why ships are built”.






Swiss Startup Corner @ BIO International Convention 2015


From June 15 to June 18, 2015, swissnex Boston had the pleasure to be an integral part of the Swiss Biotech Pavilion at the BIO International Convention 2015 in Philadelphia. The convention featured more than 1,700 exhibitors on approximately 14,900 square meters. Within the Swiss Biotech Pavilion, we assembled the Swiss Startup Corner and brought together 10, among startups and Swiss institutions, currently catalyzing Biomedical innovation in Switzerland (For a complete list of the participants, please see section below). All participants could profit of the one-to-one partnering system to initiate important business development collaborations. 6 of the companies were part of the Swiss National Startup Team, and were already in the US to go through the 10 day venture leaders program, which started in Boston on June 9 and ended in New York City on June 19. The 6 entrepreneurs participated in a pitch competition at the University Science Center in Philadelphia on June 17, where they were challenged by Philadelphia based entrepreneurs and a jury of investors. Ruben, from Polyneuron and Chris, from Cellspring, both Swiss, won the competition. The event was also an opportunity to launch the collaboration between the University Science Center and the Swiss based Y parc, represented in the competition by Yannick Charrotton, CTO of Lambda Health Systems, a robotic company specialized in rehabilitation systems.


The Swiss Startup Corner was possible also thanks to the generous contribution of the Commission for Technology and Innovation of the Swiss Government (CTI), which is providing several instruments to Swiss startups, when it comes to internationalization. In the US, the swissnex team, together with CTI, is running the US market entry camps, programs which have already supported and given unparalleled competitive advantage to some of the most innovative startups emerged from our small country in the hearth of Europe. 3 of the startups present at the Swiss Startup Corner, PIQUR, inSphero and NBE-Therapeutics, were CTI labelled, an important recognition that the CTI provides to startups having gone through a really intensive coaching and maturation program back in Switzerland.

If you wish to learn more about swissnex Boston, our activities in innovation and entrepreneurship or about the participants at the Swiss Startup Corner at BIO 2015, please contact Niccolo Iorno, Project Leader Innovation @ swissnex Boston:

Swiss Startup Corner; list of participants:

CellSpring: Chris Millan; CTO
Rqmicro Gmbh: Hans-Anton Keserue; CEO
SimplicityBio: Miguel Barreto; CEO
Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG : Ruben Herrendorff ; CEO
HYLOMORPH AG : Simone Bottan; CEO
ZuriMED Technologies:  Xiang Li; CEO
PIQUR Therapeutics AG: Herve Girsault; CBO
NBE-Therapeutics AG: Ulf Grawunder; CEO
InSphero: Stewart Hunt; Director North American Business Development
Wyss Institute Zurich: Michael Stucky; COO

swissnex Boston: Felix Moesner, CEO; Niccolo Iorno, PL innovation; Francesca Cerza, Junior PM innovation.

Francesca @ Swissnex Boston

The Swiss National Startup Team visited the East Coast for the 15th time in a row; a 10 days business development boot camp with pit stops in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Niccolo, Project Leader of this program called Venture Leaders, was supported by my colleague David and myself. It was a great experience and I learnt a lot on how to manage a big project as well as how to launch your own business in the US. But let’s see what it is.


Every year since 2001, the Venture Leaders program has introduced over 280 Swiss start-ups to the US start-up ecosystem. Co-organized by Venturelab and swissnex Boston, this program includes executive education, mentoring workshops with local industry leaders and investors and demo events for 20 of the most promising start-ups spinning out of our technical universities. The 2015 team encompasses a large array of industries with innovations ranging from the biotech to the robotics and engineering field.

In the first week the Venture Leaders benefited from a three-day intensive program at Babson College, one of the highest ranked business schools in the world, specialized in management and entrepreneurship. The team attended classes led by Prof. Les Charm and Prof. Ed Marram on team building, decision-making processes, strategy, and leadership.

The day after, they had the opportunity to pitch their businesses in front of experienced experts of the respective industries. These sessions provided the entrepreneurs with valuable feedback for refining their ideas and strategies. The sessions took place at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), a co-working space more than 600 start-ups. The CIC is considered the ‘Mecca’ of start-ups in Boston, where many large corporations decide to have a presence and access to a strong pool of resources for innovation.


For the first time in the history of the program, the Venture Leaders had the pleasure to get to know the practices of a global Design Thinking Agency. The group visited Continuum, a world-leader in this creative method. The entrepreneurs were introduced to the design thinking method and could apply the method hands-on to some of their own business ideas. Michael Amante, Pete Chapin and Michael Dunkley of Continuum did a great job explaining the design thinking technique and showing some new perspectives to the group.


In the second week, the six Biotech Venture Leaders took off very early to attend the BIO International Convention in Philadelphia: the largest global event for the biotechnology industry. I had the great opportunity to be in charge of the organization of these 3 days in Philly. At 5.30am we woke up, ready to represent the Swiss Start-up Corner, within the SWISS Pavilion at the BIO International Convention.


Many other activities happened in Philadelphia and in New York; I will update you in my next blog entry. Stay tuned and follow this great experience on twitter @CzFrancesca

Francesca @ Swissnex Boston

My new life in Boston started more than one month ago. But first, let me introduce myself very quickly. I am a masters student in Business Administration and I am doing an internship of 6 months at Swissnex Boston. Swissnex is the scientific consulate of Switzerland with the mission to connect the dots between Switzerland and North America in the field of science, education, art and innovation. I work as Junior Project Manager in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship as well as academic relations. In the same time, I am writing my master thesis. I will give you more details about my proposal but now, I would really like to share this first exciting period with you .

Since I arrived here, I took part in many great activities such as the Cambridge Science Festival, where we presented a huge yellow human cell from the University of Basel. I was also involved in a reading of Hansjörg Wyss’ My Brother at the State House. Additionally, I    joined the MIT $100K finale competition and some Venture café meetings; a weekly conversation meeting for innovators, entrepreneurs and investors that help them to find each other and start potential collaborations.









I also met some very interesting people from start-ups based in Switzerland such as Abionic, a company that offers a biomedical diagnostic device providing reliable, low-cost and personal allergy diagnosis – or Nanolive, which developed a 3D cell explorer. They both are from the EPFL Innovation Park and are supported by Swissnex Boston while trying to enter the US market. I also met the EFTA (European free trade association) Parliamentary Delegation with Prof. Fabrizio Gilardi, who gave a lecture entitled Role, Models and Women’s Political Representation and the Parliamentary Association Switzerland-USA. The Swiss Parliamentary Delegation visited Boston’s Innovation Ecosystem and was composed of Thomas Hurter, Martin Naef, Ruedi Noser, Markus Stadler and Ignazio Cassis. Ignazio is from the same canton (Ticino) as I am and he was so happy to see my colleague Niccolo and myself (both from Ticino) at Swissnex Boston that he took a picture with us and posted it on his own Facebook page. As Niccolo said, “Ticinesi are rare animals”.


On a private side, I am really enjoying this beautiful place, Boston is simply amazing. I went to the TD Garden for a basketball game, to the annual famous Boston Marathon on Patriots Day, on a road-trip to the East Coast with other interns and last week I celebrated my birthday.


Et voilà my first update guys, I hope you enjoyed this virtual trip into my new life. Stay tuned and follow this great experience on twitter @CzFrancesca

Cheers from Boston

Nathalie’s last report

20140626_170500Today I am going to tell you about my last week in Boston and I can’t really believe it’s already over. Unfortunately, I was a little bit sick at the beginning of the week and spent most of the time at the office writing my final report about my time at swissnex.

On Wednesday I watched the Switzerland vs Honduras with some friends and was very happy to see the Swiss team win! After this great game I went to an opening event from Coalition. This company provides co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and just opened a new location in the hearth of Boston. The office is in the 19th floor of a building in Downtown and has an amazing view over Boston.

Midweek I was getting nervous as the ending of my stay at swissnex was getting closer. On thursday, we  went for lunch in a pub and watch the soccer game between Germany and USA with some of the swissnex interns . It was a great atmosphere as there were a lot of Americans. In the evening I helped preparing a last swissnex event: a farewell party for the HESAV students from Switzerland. They have been studying in Boston for 4 weeks with students from Chile and from the Boston College.

My last day at swissnex was very busy. Most of the day, I was writing my final report. For lunch I bought a last time my favourite food Sushi! After work we had a farewell apero for Laura, an intern, and for me as well. We both got a farewell present. My present was a cool map from Boston and a book with lots of selfies inside. I laughed a lot when I looked through the book! We spent the night at Central Square for a big dance party in the streets. The place was very crowded, but we all had a lot of fun.

I had an amazing time in Boston! Found great friends and of course we had so much fun together. I will miss the people, but now I’m very excited about my trip along the US east coast. It was a pleasure to report every week from my time in Boston and I wish you guys a great summer! See you soon in Switzerland

Boston Update

IMG_8047I started my second last week at swissnex Boston with a visit at the Boston University School of Management. The school is located in Back Bay Boston and has over 3400 students. The school is part of the Boston University, which has more than 33k students in 16 schools and colleges. Every year they have between 2000 and 3000 applications for the MBA, but they select only 150 of them for the annual program.


Monday night we had the Global Pitchfest with the Venture Leaders. As there were a lot of people invited, the event wasn’t located at swissnex but at the District Hall in the Innovation District. The Swiss startupers were pitching against US startups. Every person had one minute to present their company. All companies were split in five different groups and the audience voted via SMS for the best pitch of each category. As the presentations were short, the whole event was very dynamic and also fun with the SMS vote. At the end the audience and the judges chose the Global Pitchfest winner: Luc Gervais with his business One Drop Diagnostics.


Recently at a swissnex event, I met a person of a MIT lab and he invited me to their weekly lab lunch. I took this opportunity to see a MIT lab from inside and joined them for lunch on Tuesday. The idea is that students present their projects to visitors who come for lunch and sometimes, even the visitors present their own projects, which was the case when I went to this lunch. On Tuesday night I joined some Venture Leaders for a sailing trip at the Boston Harbor. I’ve already seen Boston from the sea with the ferry, but this was even better as we spent the whole evening on the sea and saw the beautiful sunset behind Boston’s skyline. It was just amazing! Then on Friday, we went to a lab to watch the soccer game Switzerland vs. France with the swissnex team and the embassy of France. Of course we had to recognize the good quality of the French game but I hope Switzerland will win the next game! (What was already the case when I was writing this text). 20140617_193133

News from Boston

This week we had the visit of the venture leaders (VLs), who are part of a program organized by Venturelab and swissnex Boston. The VLs have been selected among 100 startups in Switzerland and got the chance to discover the US market. It offers them training and networking during 10 intensive days. The 20 top startups from Switzerland were very excited when they arrived at the swissnex office and I had the chance to join them for several events. The VLs had their first introduction event at swissnex Boston on Wednesday night. On that day, I went to a MassChallenge (MC) event – the Open House Celebration. MC recently moved to a new place in South Boston and the event was to celebrate it with guests.

techjam-kronos-2-9748On Thursday I went to the Boston TechJam. I attended the final pitch competition, where entrepreneurs had two minutes to present their company. The TechJam festival started straight after the pitches. As the VLs were supposed to come later, I took the opportunity and joined some friends to watch the first soccer game of the world cup: Brazil vs Croatia. The atmosphere in the pub was amazing and there were a lot of soccer fans – even in the US! Back at the TechJam two hours later I met the venture leaders and we had a lot of fun at the festival: there were plenty of stands from technology companies where you could play games, take funny pictures, win free beers, listen to music, ride a bull and much more!

DSC_0717The next day I spent the whole day with the venture leaders. In the morning they had an expert session divided into five different groups (BioTech, MedTech, Engineering, Tech/CleanTech, IT). They had to pitch their business idea and then they got feedbacks from experts and mentors. After this session they split the venture leaders in groups again and we went for different VC lunches and company visits. The highlight of the day was the BBQ at the end of the day at the residence of Switzerland. We enjoyed great food and discussions at this really amazing villa.

The weekend was soccer par excellence with fun and friends. For the soccer game Switzerland vs. Ecuador on Sunday we organized a pub meeting and enjoyed this exciting game with the venture leaders, some people from swissnex and friends.

News from Boston

2014-06-02-13 43 39

The time is flying too fast – half of my sabbatical at swissnex Boston is already over! This week we hadn’t a lot of events. Like every Monday morning we started the week with our overview meeting. After, we prepared the whole event space for the afternoon event: Wireless Autonomous Sensors for Global Challenges – Air and Water Quality. Swissnex and the EPFL welcomed over fifty visitors and five speakers from MIT Civil & Environmental Engineering, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA, Harvard School of Public Health, Siemens Germany and FogFinder. The aim was to discuss about the latest advances in wireless sensor technology for water and air quality monitoring with US and international experts . In my point of view the presentation of the project FogFinder was the most interesting, as the idea is to generate new renewable sources of water. It’s a wireless sensor grid which allows to figure out where the fog is, when it comes and from which direction. The initial testing work has been performed in a dry region of Chile. To have an image of this work check out the video on the following website:

2014-06-04-12 28 21Since I have been in Boston, my favourite food is sushi. Every Wednesday is ‘Sushi Wednesday’ at Broadway Market near to swissnex and it costs only 5 dollars. But as I fell so much in love with sushi, I also eat some on other days. To be honest, in this short time in Boston I was eating more sushi than in my whole life!

On Thursday night we went a second time to the Venture Café. We were promoting the Global Pitchfest again, which will be held in one and a half week. I really like the startup atmosphere at the Venture Café. Everyone is networking and you can have great discussions. Next week will be very busy and I’m already very excited about it.

I spent my whole weekend with friends. We were eating pancakes on Saturday and omelets for breakfast on Sunday , joined the river festival in Cambridge, could laugh at a comedy show and enjoyed the weather at the beach in South Boston. As you can see, life in Boston is hard and intense!

Nathalie @ Swissnex

2014-05-26-15 00 54We started the past week with a day off: The Unites States were celebrating the Memorial Day. It is a federal holiday for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. It’s every year on the last Monday of May and marks the start of the summer season. A garden of 37’000 flags was planted at the Boston Common – the oldest public city park in the United States. The flags honor and remember every fallen Massachusetts service member from the Revolutionary War to the present.

Tuesday we caught up the weekly meeting at swissnex. But we weren’t a lot of people as many of the team used the Memorial Day to take one more day off. In the afternoon we prepared the event room for the evening event. Swissnex hosted a panel discussion about urban farming: “from vision to reality – a Swiss perspective”. We had about 100 guests and four panel speakers. The speakers talked about urban farming in Switzerland and Massachusetts and about the advantages and challenges this activity faces. The Swiss start-up Urban Farmers ( started a project in Basel: the first commercial aquaponic rooftop farm. Their vision and idea is to eat really fresh. Aquaponic is their key solution to produce fresh fish and healthy vegetables.

14284117696_de8d7e93f4_b2On Wednesday we had an internal aperitif as one of the interns had his farewell. Elias was a junior project manager in higher education for seven months. He was the senior of all interns and symbolically  passed the “golden senior pick” to Laura, the next senior for two months. The rest of the week was very quiet. I was helping swissnex creating flyers for the Global Pitchfest in June (I lastly wrote about it) and was writing reports about the past events.

Nathalie @ Swissnex Boston

2014-05-19-19 04 45This week was very busy. We started Monday morning with our weekly meeting at swissnex. Then we attended the ‘Deans Health and Life Sciences Challenge Demo Day’ at the Harvard Innovation Lab. The competition supports startups to improve patients’ care and quality of life. The six finalist teams received mentorship, seed money and specialized programs. The winner of the ‘MIT $100k Launch Competition Finale’ was represented at the Deans Challenge too and got the second prize.

I visited the Naturejobs Career Expo the next day. Swissnex had a stand and was representing the Swiss research landscape and the possibilities to study abroad in Switzerland. There were a lot of alumnis and graduate students interested in job application. Besides the different exhibitors, the visitors could attend conferences and workshops. It was a great exposition for the young people as they could learn about different topics (like strategies for a successful job search, resume and cover letter, networking, transferable skills etc.).

10276991_10152382455725822_6914358842145325923_n2On Wednesday we were invited to the MassChallenge finalist announcement. 128 startups were selected for the final competition and the accelerator program. MassChallenge had over 1600 applications this year. They never had so many people wanting to be an entrepreneur. For the finalists, the 4-month program is a great opportunity: At the end they all will be transformed by large mentorship network and various workshops. Among the 128 startups, 4 Swiss startups have been selected!

Our last event was on Thursday night: the Venture Café. Swissnex had a table for promoting the Global Pitchfest in June. Venture café is a weekly conversation meeting for innovators and entrepreneurs to find one another. We had conversations with early stage startup entrepreneurs about Switzerland and the swissnex event. The Global Pitchfest is part of the venture leaders program. 20 of the top Swiss startups are coming to Boston for a 10-days boot camp. At the Pitchfest each entrepreneur will have one minute and one slide to pitch his business idea.

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