At Greater Zurich Area, we are committed to opening doors and forging connections between key players of our ecosystem and innovation-driven companies. In line with this mission, we've had the privilege of engaging with some of the most exciting personalities across our diverse ecosystems. Through a series of thought-provoking questions, we delve into their unique insights and experiences. Here's a glimpse into their world - their inspirations, challenges, and successes of the past year as well as their visions for the future.
The future of technology - sci-fi turns reality
In the realm of technology, the horizon is always expanding. We asked the tech minds of the Greater Zurich Area which sci-fi technology they believe to become a reality in the future. Their responses covered a wide spectrum, ranging from artificial intelligence breakthroughs to revolutionary medical technologies and human performance enhancements.
Question: Which technology which may seem like science-fiction at this moment, might become a reality in the future?
- "Wearing little lenses on our eyes that are like mobile devices screens, so that we are always on and augmented by unlimited access to know-how."
- Pascal Kaufmann, Founder of Mindfire, Starmind & AlpineAI
- "I am fascinated by the combination of Generative AI and robotics and think we might see some exciting developments in the humanoid space."
- Sunnie Groeneveld, Founder & Managing Partner of Inspire 925
- "AI seems like the obvious choice - the current hype is bringing a lot of funding into the space that will hopefully give rise to some exciting new functionalities/uses of the tech across different industries. That said, I’m also curious to see whether the next generation of commercial VR Hardware (like the much-anticipated Apple Vision Pro) will usher in a wave of experience-focused applications across entertainment, sports, productivity, design, etc."
- Tracy Trachsler, Managing Director of CV Labs
- "Just look at science fiction literature. Highly effective personalized medicine and upgrading human performance by biohacking or biomechatronics, for example with exoskeletons."
- Jürg Stuker, Partner at Kickstart Innovation
- "Cold Fusion: The potential advantage of cold fusion would be the ability to achieve nuclear fusion at lower temperatures and under more controllable conditions, leading to more efficient and safer energy production."
- Martin Neubauer, Managing Director of SwissAssociation for Autonomous Mobility (SAAM)
What to love about the Greater Zurich Area
The Greater Zurich Area is home to a vibrant tech community, but what are the factors that contribute to this? When we asked what they love most about our dynamic region, the interviewees highlighted the area's blend of innovation, a business-friendly environment, and exceptional quality of life.
Question: What do you love most about the Greater Zurich Area?
- "The shared ambition to maintain a high quality of life and great conditions for doing business in the Greater Zurich Area and beyond."
- Franziska Barmettler, Head of Sustainability at IKEA Switzerland & Member of the Cantonal Council
- "The diversity of people, regions, landscapes and industries it covers, the location in the heart of Europe, and the excellent quality of life including clean air, great public transport, healthcare and education."
- Dorothea Baur, Founder and Owner of Baur Consulting AG
- "It's unbelievable how tech at the highest level accumulated in Zurich. If you look at a list of the top tech companies in the world, basically all of them have an office of significant size in Zurich, which makes it an attractive place to live for the best talents in the world. It's also just a beautiful place."
- Lukas Meier, CTO and Co-founder of Fixposition
- "I could write a (mini) novel about this but to in spirit of brevity: Generally nice and quality people, so easy to get around, and amazing lifestyle (including outside of work)!"
- Brandon Cohen, Director of Talent at DFINITY Foundation & Co-Founder of Toolbox4HR Switzerland
- "While the idea of the "American Dream" seems to fade, I feel like the "Swiss Dream" is a reality. I received a world-class education at a public university amongst highly motivated students, gained practical experiences within competitive companies, and was able to set up two companies with ease thanks to very collaborative and digitized authorities. Living in Zurich - and meanwhile holding a Swiss passport - I over and over fall in love with the diversity of the country and its most scenic nature. Greater Zurich Area is attracting highly innovative companies and extremely skilled people from all over the world - for a lot of reasons."
- Justus Spengler, Founder & CEO of Rockstar Recruiting
Where to invest in Greater Zurich
Our thriving tech scene prompts another intriguing question: If given one million Swiss francs, in which technology or company from the Greater Zurich Area would our tech experts invest? Their responses provide a window into the sectors they believe hold the most promise. From AI and digital innovation to sustainable technologies and health tech, these preferences reflect not only the current strengths of the region's tech landscape but also its potential future directions.
Question: If you had to spend 1 Mio, which technology or company from the Greater Zurich Area would you invest in?
- "I am always impressed by the quality of startups in the Bio-Technopark Schlieren."
- Jürg Stuker, Partner at Kickstart Innovation
- "If I had $1m, I would spend it in many University spin-offs. There is nothing like Swiss Technology from the GZA area. I love Seed stage companies."
- Alexander Fries, VC Investor & Partner at InnoQube Switzerland
Inspirations of 2023
In 2023, the innovators and experts in the Greater Zurich Area found inspiration through personal connections, celebrating business milestones, and embracing technological advancements, showcasing the diverse nature of the region's tech ecosystem.
Question: Looking back, what inspired you in the year 2023?
- "We managed to transfer from finding product-market-fit to growth stage regardless of a slowdown in the global economy."
- Zhenzhong Su, CEO & Co-founder of Fixposition AG
- "In December of 2022, I've heard of ChatGPT for the first time. I was inspired by the speed of adaption of the technology, and it will be interesting to see how fast we as a society adapt future technologies and services."
- Veronika Sallenbach, Founder of werdinnovativ & Co-founder of StartHub Schaffhausen
- "My children Ava (11) and Ryan (7). I love seeing the world through their eyes."
- Raffaello D’Andrea, Founder of Verity & Professor of Dynamic Systems & Control at ETH Zurich
Triumphs and trials of the year
When asked about their biggest challenges and successes of the year, the interviewees shared a diverse array of experiences. From overcoming business obstacles to achieving personal milestones, their stories reveal the rich tapestry of paths and achievements that make up our region's dynamic tech community.
Question: What was your biggest challenge and success in 2023?
- "Unfortunately, we could not grow the way we wanted in 2023. We also struggled in the beginning of the year with our sales organisation, but we learned out of our mistakes and established a more resilient organisation which now starts to bring first results by the end of the year. We also established first contacts with some target accounts which really makes us happy."
- Alain Stebler, CEO of Rapid Manufacturing
- "The biggest challenge has always been to find the sweet spot of doing meaningful and inspiring work while being successful and authentic as a businesswoman. The biggest success lies in achieving this better than ever in 2023."
- Dorothea Baur, Founder and Owner of Baur Consulting
- "The biggest success: we kept innovating for our customers and consequently were able to significantly grow our trusted customer base."
- Lukas Meier, CTO and Co-founder of Fixposition AG
Do you want to explore all of the insights from various tech leaders in the Greater Zurich Area? Head over to our LinkedIn channel and scroll through our #DoorOpener series!