The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have led to an acceleration in the digitization of all major aspects of life – and has brought to light who the laggards are, and who leads the charge. For a small country like Switzerland, looking outside and connecting with the most thriving hubs of innovation around the world is crucial to future-proof the economy and be prepared for impending disruptions. A continuous engagement with the world’s hotspots of technology – such as the Silicon Valley, Boston, or Shanghai – has become imperative for companies to read the signals of the future, and strategically engage in digital transformation.
Part of the swissnex Network’s 20th anniversary campaign nex20, this event will explore how three leading Swiss corporations engage with the world’s most important innovation hubs, and how they leverage the swissnex Network – Switzerland’s official network of innovation outposts – to future-proof their business. Join us for an interactive event featuring intimate discussion tables hosted innovation experts from SBB, SwissRe, Swiss Post, swissnex Boston and swissnex San Francisco. Learn why and how Swiss institutions engage in the world’s innovation hotspots, and ask about best practices, strategies and do’s and don’ts.
Pascal Marmier is Head of Strategy for iptiQ, a platform powered by Swiss Re to deliver end-to-end solutions and solve key value chain issues for distributors and carriers. Before joining iptiQ, Pascal was Head of Engagement Americas at Swiss Re Institute leading client engagement, innovation management support, and business development. Pascal joined Swiss Re in 2017 to lead the Digital Analytics Catalyst team in Boston working on data innovation. Before joining Swiss Re, Pascal was the CEO and Vice Consul General of Switzerland in Shanghai at swissnex China. Being passionate about helping entrepreneurs and innovators, Pascal developed many programs for startup and corporate executives looking to grow their teams and partnerships abroad.
Andreas represents Switzerland’s largest mobility provider SBB CFF FFS in Silicon Valley. His mission is to find and connect the best startups to the railway business and to open new business opportunities.Andreas is an Innovation and Business Development professional with experience in the Mobility and Telecommunications industry. He is passionate about startups and engaging with technology and innovation leaders to discover business opportunities.
Thierry is Director of Open Innovation and Venturing of Swiss Post. In this role, he has been developing open innovation initiatives with external partners as start-ups, universities and accelerators in Switzerland, Germany, France, Israel, the US and China. These innovation ecosystems enabled disruptive projects as, amongst others, the deliveries by drones and the autonomous shuttles. Furthermore, he is managing the strategic venture capital funds of Swiss Post. Thierry holds several Masters in Economics and Technology from the University of Fribourg, EPFL and UC Berkeley.
Benjamin is the CEO of swissnex Boston. He was previously Deputy CEO at swissnex San Francisco, where he launched interdisciplinary programs spanning from science communication to humanitarian action and human rights in the digital age. Before joining swissnex in 2015, he worked as a journalist and communication specialist at the intersection of science, data, and design in Switzerland. Benjamin is a graduate of ETH Zurich and has conducted neuroscience and AI research at MIT.
Gioia Deucher Vilchis is the CEO of swissnex San Francisco, and the Deputy Consul General for Switzerland in San Francisco. Gioia’s professional journey has taken her to various countries, from Colombia and Switzerland to Brazil and Palestine, and most recently the US. Starting her post-university career in microfinance and sustainable investing working for small and large investment firms, Gioia has dedicated the last decade to fostering cross-continental collaborations with a view to inspire and strengthen Switzerland’s innovation ecosystem, and contribute to solving the most pressing global challenges through borderless science and innovation. A curated innovation platform hosting 40+ startups, designers, scientists, and corporates, swissnex’s Bay Area office acts as a convener for thought-provoking conversations on how technology and innovation shape our world and fosters international connections and collaboration for meaningful action. Beyond her role at swissnex, Gioia sits on the Board of DART Labs – a female-led seed-stage venture fund – and is the President of the Swiss-based association MySurvivalStory.org – a storytelling platform to mentally support cancer survivors. In 2019 and 2020, she was selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Business, a selective Swiss network for female business leaders.
As Head of Innovation+ at swissnex Boston, Alicia works to connect Switzerland’s startups, innovation-driven companies, and foundations with game-changing partners and ideas in the US. Prior to joining swissnex, Alicia worked in the field of technology transfer at the National Institutes of Health, and as an open innovation consultant at yet2 in the Boston area. Alicia holds a PhD in Molecular Medicine from Boston University, and a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.
Nicola Ruffo is the Head of Public Programs at swissnex San Francisco, developing a diverse set of programs, events and accelerators to connect Switzerland and the US West Coast. His work focuses on digital innovation and urban culture. Previously, he held various positions as a reporter, project lead and innovator at the Swiss Television SRF. Furthermore, Nicola has realized several exhibitions, publications, film programs worldwide – ranging from publishing about skyscrapers in Johannesburg to curating shows on the urban development of Warsaw. Last but not least, he studied international relations and curating in Berlin and Zurich.