Underaged Achiever

swissnex San Francisco’s most recent — and youngest — short-term visitor is a model entrepreneur. At the age of 20, Arik Brückner has already founded two companies and just wrapped up a couple of months in the Bay Area working with a friend’s start-up and immersing himself in Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Brückner started his first company, pc and mobile world, in 2004, when he was just 13. Thirteen! When his teacher started using USB sticks in class, the young student smelled a market gap. He decided to launch a business selling personalized USB sticks, and he got it going by picking up the phone, contracting a retailer, and getting companies to order his products. Just a couple years ago, Brückner’s USB business supplied the portable drives for a huge, worldwide sporting event (hint: it involved kicking a ball around a grassy field).

His second venture, e-merch, provides online shops for companies that wish to sell their merchandise through the Internet.

Barely graduated from high school, Brückner left for China to enhance his multi-linguality (German, French, Spanish, English) with Mandarin and to finally meet the retailers he had been cooperating with for the past seven years on the USB business.

While in China, he got in touch with a friend who runs Swipegood, a Bay Area start-up that lets shoppers round up their credit card purchases to the next dollar and donate the difference to a charity of their choice. He arranged for a two-month stay in California to help out.

During his Bay Area stint, Brückner took advantage of swissnex San Francisco’s visitor desk, where he benefited from the existing network while also contributing to its growth.

Although he has now returned to Switzerland to perform his mandatory military service, it wouldn’t be Brückner’s style to depart for just a normal assignment; he’s hoping to be admitted to the military’s parachuting division.

Asked if he was looking forward to his first sky dive, he smilingly admits, “I am now, but we’ll see once I stand in the open air plane and am told to jump.”

We are pretty sure that he will leap right off and land directly in the drop zone.