Together with the
"Silicon Valley meets Switzerland"-Event

Unicorn Switzerland
Workshop Summit

For ambitious Swiss high-tech SMEs and startups: learn how to become an international success story

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Learn how to become an international high-tech success story

At this full-day workshop event, we will bring know-how and best practices that are required to succeed internationally to highly ambitious Swiss high-tech companies both SMEs and startups.

Who should come?

The event is for Swiss high-tech SMEs and startup entrepreneurs, investors, accelerators, as well as coaches and educators.

What can you learn?

In workshops, keynotes and panels we will present and discuss what is needed to create large high-tech successes. This will be done from the viewpoints of entrepreneurs, investors and educators/accelerators.

Why should you come?

At this event we have experts from Europe, Switzerland, Israel, the US and Asia present and discuss with you what is needed to succeed. They have done it already and can teach/discuss practical approaches from their very own experiences.

Sign on early as seats are limited (hands-on workshops).

Fees: early bird: 290 CHF, normal: 390 CHF

March 28, 2019

Opens: 08:30Begins: 09:00

Holiday Inn, Messe, Zürich


This event is organized by

This event is hosted by Innovationspark Zürich




What are Unicorns and why are they important

  • Ralf Haller, CEO, R. Haller IT Marketing & High-Tech Connect Suisse
  • Prof. Dr. Miriam Erez, The Mendes France Chair in Management and Economics, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
  • Leo Keller, CEO, Blue Ocean Semantic Web Solutions
  • Dov Moran, Managing Director, Grove Ventures

Workshop introductions

  • SME's & Startups
  • Investors
  • Educators & Accelerators

Networking break

Breakout Workshops

SME's & Startups

What are the challenges to become an international success story creating hundreds or thousands of high-tech high-paying jobs?

Vincent Bieri, Leo Keller
Aron Braun, Dr. Dorian Selz, Dr. Jörg Rychen
Speaker & Panel:
Dov Moran

More Details


What are the challenges for high-tech investors to be part of large success stories?

Nils Granath, Jan Reinhart
David Hug
Speaker & Panel:
Shomit Ghose

More Details

Educators & Accelerators

What are the challenges for educators and accelerators to be part of large success stories?

Prof. Dr. Miriam Erez
Prof. Dr. Sascha Götte, René Kalt
Speaker & Panel:
Marcel Dridje

More Details

High-tech SME and Startup Workshop

What are the challenges to become an international success story creating hundreds or thousands of high-tech high-paying jobs?

Some of the hypothesis that will be discussed:

  • Not enough angel and venture capital money available.
  • Lack of experienced startup entrepreneurs that could serve as role models and mentors.
  • Lack of international business expertise.
  • ...

What can be done to overcome these challenges?

  • Bring in international talent.
  • Move operations to other more suitable places.
    Operate a virtual company seeking for talent worldwide.
  • ...
Vincent Bieri, Co-founder & board member, Nexthink,
Ralf Haller, CEO, R. Haller IT Marketing & High-Tech Connect Suisse
Aron Braun, High-tech & low-tech Entrepreneur, ,
Dr. Dorian Selz, Co-Founder & CEO, Squirro,
Dr. Jörg Rychen, Researcher, University Zürich
Speaker & Panel:
Dov Moran, Managing Director, Grove Ventures

High-tech Investors Workshop

What are the challenges for high-tech investors to be part of large success stories?

Some of the hypothesis that will be discussed:

  • Not enough money compared to US, Israel or China (100s of USD)
  • Not enough true investment potentials to invest into
  • ...

What can be done to overcome these challenges?

  • Collaborate with international talent.
  • Co-invest with international VCs.
  • ...
Nils Granath,
David Hug, Managing Director, Ringier Digital Ventures
David Hug, Managing Director, Ringier Digital Ventures
Speaker & Panel:
Shomit Ghose, Partner, Onset Ventures

High-tech Educator and Acceletrator Workshop

What are the challenges for educators and accelerators to be part of large success stories?

Some of the hypothesis that will be discussed:

  • Lack of practical expertise, challenge: from theory/lab to practice to large success
  • Lack of coordinated activities, too many small initiatives, no large bold concentrated approach
  • Not enough investments
  • ...

What can be done to overcome these challenges?

  • Concentrate activities.
  • Get more international business experts into programs.
  • ...
Prof. Dr. Miriam Erez, The Mendes France Chair in Management and Economics, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Prof. Dr. Sascha Götte, Professor for Marketing and Strategic Management, Hochschule Luzern
René Kalt, Geschäftsführer, Innovationsparks Zürich
Speaker & Panel:
Marcel Dridje, President SBA Board, Sophia Business Angels

Lunch break

Workshop Recaps, Conclusions & Further Discussions of the Workshops

Final & Outlook

Networking & Apéro



Prof. Dr. Miriam Erez

My research interests have evolved over the years to include three major topics:

Work Motivation, Cross-Cultural Organizational Behavior, and Innovation.

In the field of work motivation my research has focused mainly on the goal-setting theory of motivation - feedback, goal commitment, participation in goal-setting, and goal orientation.

In the field of cross-cultural research I focused mainly on culture as a moderator of the effects of motivational approaches on performance.

Recently, I take a multi-level approach, studying the global work environment - multinational companies, and international mergers and acquisitions, and their effects on value change, and on the emergence of a dual global and local identity.

I also run an International Virtual Team Project

Innovation, the most powerful individual and organizational resource for competing in the global market, has become my third field of research.

In particular, my research focuses on team innovation, the interplay among the cultural values of innovation, quality and efficiency, and their effects on individual and team performance, and the interaction of individual differences and organizational culture on innovative performance.

Dr. Dorian Selz

Dr. Dorian Selz is co-founder and CEO of Squirro.

Before that he founded the Swiss search platform and made it the market leader in four years.

Previously he was a partner and COO at Namics, the largest e-business consultancy in Switzerland & Germany.

He holds a PhD from the University of St. Gallen and a Master in Economics form the University of Geneva.;Squirro is a data insights solution developer.

Based in Zurich and with offices in London, New York, Munich and Barcelona, Squirro works with global data-driven organisations, predominately those in the financial services and telecom industries.

The core suite of Squirro solutions offers risk, service, and customer insights.Deployed by the world’s leading banks, law-enforcement organisations and other commercial businesses, Squirro’s cognitive technology extracts more value and business-critical information from complex data environments to improve operational efficiency and increase revenues.

Benjamin Soffer

T³ is the technology transfer office of Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Its task is to open the doors to innovation, facilitating the passage of new ideas to successful products and companies in world markets. As part of Technion Research and Development Foundation Ltd. (TRDF), T³'s success in bridging between the laboratory and the marketplace has been critical in affirming Technion's position as a global pioneer of innovation.

Victor Bergonzoli

Victor Bergonzoli, Co-Founder and Dartfish CEO, is responsible for the strategy, operation, marketing, and sales of Dartfish video technology worldwide.

From a start-up, he and his management team have established Dartfish as the worldwide industry leader.

Victor’s varied life experience, living in three countries, a native son of Switzerland, along with his international business acumen and executive leadership in multiple fields, provide a vast and varied platform of expertise.

His extensive international background includes overseeing hundreds, while innovating in the area of training, sales, and marketing. Victor’s financial experience involves corporate banking, as well as serving as a CFO, managing investments of several hundred million dollars.

Add to this, he is an expert in entrepreneurial business start-up and business development.

Mr. Bergonzoli received a Master's Degree in Business Management from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He speaks several languages, and served in the Swiss Army as an Infantry Captain.

Victor is married to Laure and is the father of two children.


Dartfish develops and offers cutting-edge video solutions that empower its users to capture, analyze and share video content.

Dartfish makes the power of video accessible to millions, setting the video standard across industries such as sport, education, and healthcare.

Trusted globally by thousands of elite sport organizations, federations, and corporations, it leads the world with technology to create, analyze and distribute video content.

Starting in Switzerland, Dartfish solutions went viral and global. With customers everywhere, we now have offices worldwide to better serve them.

Marcel Dridje

Marcel Dridje, a principle investor in Vaelsys, Faveeo, Cyberflowanalytics, Digitalarti and OnePulse brings his rich commercial acumen and business development experience to the team.

A seasoned European Sales Executive, Marcel has substantial field of experience helping IT and Telecom startups in the US and EMEA.

Marcel has a broad range of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, communication and management with direct experience with Fortune 500 enterprises (IBM, Nortel, Lucent, Cisco, EMC, ALU) and startups (Quantum, Andrew Networks, Pluris, Corvis, Ascend and Airespace).

During the course of his career, he has held Vice President roles most notably as VP EMEA Corvis (first all optical router) where he grew the team and business to an outstanding success.

Of French and British origin, Marcel launched his career after completing a Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Computer Science from Portsmouth Polytechnic.

He walked away from his first position with IBM UK as an Application Engineer greatly relieved to embark on a career in sales… his forte and passion. He hasn’t looked back since.

Bi-lingual in French and English with a strong knowledge of Spanish, Italian, German and Arabic.

Three major highlights from his career include where he helped Airespace to be the #2 WLAN in EMEA market share and positioned Cisco to be #1 WLAN vendor worldwide.

He also pioneered the French ISP Internet business while leading Ascend’s insertion into France Telecom Wanadoo’s first ISP business to include ISDNET, OLEANE and Internetway.

At Cisco he spearheaded both the NMS/OSS and Cloud Orchestration Software solutions Insertion into the Top Worldwide Service providers.

Again not looking back, Marcel most recently left 35 years in IT and Telecom Sales to start his new venture as a Business Angel (Sophia Business Angels Club VP business dev) to help EMEA startups with seed money, VC connections and Business development.

Vaelsys, Faveeo and Cyberflowanalytics are his star ventures.

A self-proclaimed Serial Entrepreneur, Marcel loves new challenges in sharing his 35 years IT & Telecom experience with new High Tech startups ready to expand their EMEA Sales and Marketing success.

Benjamin Joffe

Benjamin is General Partner at HAX, the #1 acceleration engine for hardware startups. His experience spans 16 years in Asia (China, Japan, Korea) in various high­tech industries: telecom, Internet, mobile, gaming and hardware.

Prior to HAX, he was the founder of +8*, a strategy consultancy researching Asia­based digital innovations supporting clients such as Microsoft, Citi and Harvard Business School. He also founded Mobile Monday Beijing, a community of thousands of mobile industry professionals in China, running over 40 events.

He has lectured, judged or joined panels at the world’s leading technology events and universities in over 20 countries, including TechCrunch Disrupt, LeWeb, Pioneers, Slush, SXSW, TEDx, Stanford, Berkeley and more. Benjamin is a regular guest writer on TechCrunch, also quoted by Forbes, Bloomberg TV, CNN, WSJ, The Economist, WIRED, Quartz and more.

Benjamin’s online presentations recorded over a million viewers, covering topics from innovation ecosystems to “Lean Hardware” methodology.

Dr. Luca Triacca

Luca Triacca has a Master of Science in Corporate Communication & Marketing and a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences.

After his studies, his only love has been YOUR INTERFACE founded in 2005 and since then, his second (and sometimes first!) home.

He led the company from start-up to adult with his demanding and visionary spirit.

Today he is responsible for Brand design, Information and Interaction design & Usability.

He cultivates his love for research leading thesis and research projects in collaboration with some universities where he also teaches (but please don't call him professor!).

He is passionate about creativity and brand with an acknowledged expertise in usability.

He is also Professor and Scientific Director for the innovation and e-business area in the Master of International Management at Franklin University Switzerland, where he teaches “Digital communication strategies” and “Innovation Management”.

Since 2017, he collaborates with IMD Business School as External Expert in Digital Transformation.

Vincent Bieri

Co-founder & board member of Nexthink, a Swiss high-tech enterprise software in the field of digital experience management. With various leadership roles, I’ve been involved in developing and growing this company from scratch to over 300 employees in 2018 and year-over-year revenue growth over 75%, including a total of $70mio fundraising.

Before Nexthink, I spent 7 years at Cisco where I lead Technology Marketing in EMEA with the responsibility of new products launch, relationships with press and analysts, go-to-market programs, partnerships, and sales enablement.

Before moving into technology and business, I enjoyed several years competing in sport as professional cyclist racing in Europe and USA. In 2017 I was nominated member of the Forbes Technology Council of the renowned Forbes Magazine for which I am now writing recurrent publications.

Shomit Ghose

Shomit’s data-centric vision of the future has helped lead ONSET’s investments in software.

Prior to entering venture capital, he was a startup software entrepreneur with a career of operating excellence spanning 19 years.

Shomit’s startup roles included three highly successful IPOs as SVP of Operations at Tumbleweed Communications; VP of Worldwide Services at BroadVision; and software engineer at Sun Microsystems.

He was also CEO and board member of ONSET portfolio company, Truviso, for two years leading to its acquisition by Cisco Systems.

At ONSET since 2001, Shomit has represented ONSET on the boards of Adara, HyperGrid, Imanis Data, Pancetera (acquired by Quantum), Polymorph, Truviso, Vidder and Vindicia (acquired by Amdocs.) In his private life he has been committed to coaching girls’ sports for many years in softball, high-level club soccer, and club and high school varsity and junior varsity lacrosse.

At the age of 15, Shomit was awarded two academic scholarships to the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with a degree in Computer Science.

He serves on the advisory boards of UC Berkeley College of Engineering’s Sutardja Center, Innovation Center Denmark’s ScaleIT program, and the Lundbeck Foundation Clinical Research Fellowship Program.

Nils Granath

Investment executive with over 10 years of experience as growth investor in and board member of disruptive technology companies from start-ups scaling up to US$150+ million turnover.

Neil Rimer

Neil co-founded Index Ventures with Giuseppe Zocco and David Rimer in 1996.

Previously he spent 4 years with Montgomery Securities in San Francisco before joining Index Securities in 1990.

He has invested in market-defining companies from across the spectrum including Betfair (LSE: BET), Funding Circle, Climate Corp. (MON), Deliveroo, (CBS), MOO and Supercell.

He has served on the board of U.C. Sampdoria, and currently serves on the board of Human Rights Watch.

Nick Triantos

Nick Triantos is a Venture Partner at Ignition Partners.

He has previously worked in venture capital at numerous firms, as well as an entrepreneur (x2) and startup guy (x6).

Nick was one of the first software engineers at NVIDIA, as the guy who created their OpenGL software.

He became chief software architect there, and led teams working on 3D software, embedded software, Linux drivers, and compilers and tools for programming GPUs.

Most recently, Nick was a managing director in the ventures team at SRI International, a world-class research firm where inventions ranging from the computer mouse and the ARPANET to Siri were birthed.

Nick has a BS in Computer Science from SUNY Buffalo, and MBA degrees from Columbia University and UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

Ignition Partners

Ignition is a venture capital firm dedicated to helping the best entrepreneurs seize opportunity. With over $2B under management, Ignition invests in emerging and future leaders in enterprise software.

Ignition brings together an unparalleled combination of domain focus, technical expertise, and global operational experience. Ignition's partners are proven business leaders who have built some of the world's most successful businesses of the last two decades, including Microsoft Windows and Office, McCaw Cellular Communications, AT&T Wireless and Starbucks.

Ignition helps entrepreneurs by turning their early idea into a business, to hiring the right team, providing the right industry and functional insight and connections, to growing the business strategically, globally, financially, to realizing the best ultimate outcome, Ignition is ready to go the distance.

Prof. Dr. Sascha Götte

Dr. Jörg Rychen

I studied physics at ETH Zürich in the nineties. In my PhD I built up a complex scanning probe microscope to investigate the quantum hall effect.

As an experimentalist my profession is to create systems of mechanics, electronics and informatics.

In 2002 I founded a company providing control systems for surface science experiments.

Always being interested in quantum and neuromorphic computing I joined the institute of neuroinformatics in 2012 to work on experimental setups in the group of Richard Hahnloser.

Here we research how birds learn to sing. I develop systems for the acoustic experiments with songbirds.

Andy von Bechtolsheim

Andreas Bechtolsheim is a Founder and Chief Development Officer of Arista Networks, a high-speed datacenter and cloud networking company.

Previously, Andy was a Co-Founder and Chief System Architect at Sun Microsystems, responsible for next generation server, storage, and network architectures.

From 1995 to 1996, Andy was CEO and President of Granite Systems, a Gigabit Ethernet Switching startup company he founded that Cisco acquired in September of 1996.

From 1996 to 2003 Andy was General Manager for the Gigabit Systems Business Unit at Cisco System that developed the Cat-4K Switch family, which became the highest volume modular switching platform in the industry.

As a private venture investor, Andy has been involved in the funding of numerous companies including Google, VMware, Mellanox, Brocade, and Magma Design.

He has served on the Board of Directors of 25 companies, the majority of which went public or were acquired.

Andy earned a M.S. in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1976.

He was a doctoral student in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University from 1977 to 1982. He has been honored with a Fulbright scholarship, a German National Merit Foundation scholarship, the Stanford Entrepreneur Company of the year award, the Smithsonian Leadership Award for Innovation, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dov Moran

Dov Moran formed M-Systems in 1989, a pioneer in the flash data storage market. The company invented the USB Flash Drive (DiskOnKey), the FlashDisk (DiskOnChip) as well as several other innovative flash data storage devices. Under Moran's leadership, M-Systems grew to $1B revenue within 18 years, and at the end of 2006 it was acquired by SanDisk Corp (NSDQ: SNDK) for $1.6B. This still ranks as the third largest acquisition in Israel's history.

After the sale of M-Systems, Moran founded Modu, an innovative company with a revolutionary modular phone concept, which eventually sold its patents to Google in 2011. These patents are the basis for Google's modular phone project, called Project Ara .

During his time at Modu, Dov was also the chairman of Tower Semiconductor, a developer and manufacturer of semiconductors and integrated circuits. During his tenure, he turned the struggling company around towards profitability. Moran was also chairman of Biomas, a developer of innovative pharmaceuticals.

In 2011, Moran founded Comigo, a company with a vision of revolutionizing the TV viewing experience. The company developed a multi-screen platform for Pay TV operators, redefining personalization, social viewing and engagement. Moran is acting as the chairman of the company.

In the course of his entrepreneurial work, Moran has filed more than 40 patents.

Philipp Löpfe

Philipp Löpfe was named Swiss Economic Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2015.

He works for the online news portal «Watson». He has a Masters degree in Arts (University of Zürich) and an MBA (Universitiy of St. Gallen).

In his long career Mr. Löpfe was editor-in-chief of «Tages-Anzeiger» and «SonntagsBlick».

He has written several books, the most recent one, together with Oliver Fiecheter, is called «Aufstieg der digitalen Stammesgesellschaft» (Ascent of the digital tribal society).

Philipp Löpfe is married and lives in Zürich.

We've set out to build a completely new user experience in the area of news and entertainment on mobile devices.

Our first focus will be Switzerland, especially the German speaking part.

Nicolas Bürer

Nicolas Bürer, studied Physics at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.

After several years in management consulting and young startups, he then went on to co-found MOVU, of which he still is Chairman.

Movu has been acquired through a Swiss insurance Group in 2017. Since October 2016, Nicolas Bürer is Managing Director at digitalswitzerland.

Nicolas is one of the 100 „2018 Who is Who“ of the Swiss Economy and has been awarded as 2018 „Swiss Business Angel of the Year“.

He is a passionate entrepreneur an startup investor.

Leo Keller

In 2000, Leo Keller started as a Business Angel for Startups in the area of Semantic Intelligence. He re-founded Netbreeze GmbH in 2002, and successfully performed as co-CEO until 2009, inciting interest from Microsoft, who finally acquired Netbreeze GmbH in 2013.

For the past 10 years, he has developed over 50 different business solutions using Semantic Technologies and Open Data implemented across multiple professional disciplines (Private Banking, Investment Banking, Wealth Management, Insurance and Reinsurance, Automotive, FMCG, Government and Research) and business sectors (Business Intelligence, Product Development, Marketing and Market Research, Risk and Issue Management, Communication and Reputation, Compliance and Anti-Counterfeiting). With his company Blue Ocean SWS, Leo continues to act as a business angel and entrepreneur in this technology sector, successfully entering the field of M&A.

Previously, Leo Keller was co-Head of A.T. Kearney Switzerland and a member of the Executive Group of Arthur D. Little (Switzerland), where he successfully acted as Strategy Consultant with a special focus on Learning Organization, Change Management, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management. He holds a master degree in Natural Science (ETH Zürich) and in OE Organization Development (SAAP).;Blue Ocean Semantic Web Solutions GmbH is a recognized leader in Semantic Web Technology and Open Source Intelligence, acting as a consultancy firm for system integration projects.

For over 12 years, Blue Ocean SWS has successfully delivered solution on the use of internet data (“listen to the Web”) that immensely improve Business Intelligence processes, focus on unstructured web data, social media and stakeholder themes for specified data sources.

The team combines Web Technology and Consulting, with its vast experience in Marketing, Market Research, Business Intelligence and Risk and Compliance Management. Its industrial competences lie in a broad range of industry segments, including Insurance, Banking, Pharmacy, Life Science, FMCG, Retail, Travel and Leisure.

Blue Ocean SWS is a recognized expert in the area of start-up coaching, M&A, Internet Policy Consulting, Internet Crime and Compliance and Marketing Research Solutions, running M&A projects and acting as a strategic partner and business angel for various start-ups in the field of Semantic Intelligence.

Steffen Wagner

Steffen is Co-CEO and co-founder of investiere.

Since the mid Nineties, Steffen has researched and worked in the interface of financial markets and private sector development: as the founder of two successful companies (a technology venture in Berlin and a dried fruit producer in Uganda), as a management consultant for financial institutions (Accenture, b&m management and PricewaterhouseCoopers) and as a business development consultant in Africa (UNDP).

He is also the author of various studies on financial markets and small and medium-sized businesses and currently acts as the Swiss correspondent manager for the Foundation of German Business.

Steffen holds an MBA and has an academic background in Economics and Philosophy (Freie Universität Berlin and Carlos III de Madrid).

Steffen enjoys the complexity and passion in jazz and classical music, the togetherness with close friends and the solitude of ski mountaineering

Ralf Haller

Ralf Haller's 20 year IT career has spanned various marketing and business development roles, based on his training as an electrical engineer and masters in Telecommunication Systems (Karlsruhe Technology Institute).

His career started while at university, when he took an assistant role in the USA. Later, he excelled as an IT project manager for large key account clients at CompuNet in Munich and also worked in Hong Kong supporting the Asian region.

This prompted his move to Silicon Valley where he lived for many years, working as a Product Manager for successful startups building datacommunication equipment.

Since 2001, Ralf provides product marketing support and has organised specialist IT events in Switzerland that explore current IT trends and introduce the Swiss market to new and pioneering technologies from Silicon Valley.

Owing to his strong links with Silicon Valley, the Swiss cantons rely on him as a valued advisor for fresh and exciting startup activities emerging from there.

Ralf is also the organizer of international high-tech, innovation, entrepreneurship and business events in Switzerland, among them:

He is also founder of the first High-Tech Connect Suisse association encouraging high-tech business development.

In his free time he loves spending high-quality time with his family, and doing fitness sports and intelligence training to keep fit physically and mentally. He is eager and open to always try out new things.