Simon Furer has joined the Swiss Startup Association to support the relaunch initiative together with the president, Raphael Tobler in May 2020. He is dedicating his time and expertise in supporting and overseeing the whole team from an operational point of view. The main focuses on his daily agenda are legal, HR topics but also financial and team structuring. He is making sure continuously that internally, the proper tools are being used, that the processes are put in place and followed, keeping everyone happy at the same time.
1. Please share with us shortly your background.
I have started my career in a family business in the countryside of Basel. That has built in me the entrepreneurial endeavours that later became my chosen path. Afterwards, in order to set the academical base of my progress, I have studied Law and Economics in the University of St. Gallen. During studies but also after graduation, I engaged in the swiss startup ecosystem with START Global. It is the largest student-led conference for Entrepreneurship and Technology, where investors, future entrepreneurs and startups gather. I was part of this exciting project for about 4 to 5 years and represented it as president for 1 year.
2. What is your biggest achievements from your perspective in your career by now?
Since it is one of my longest projects, I would say that it is represented by the organisation of START Summit 2017 with more than 2500 participants, START Hack 2017 with more than 350 participants but also running an organisation of 55 volunteering students. On top of the aforementioned facts, for sure building up a foundation to sustainable run the organisation was the underlying achievement.
3. By now, what is your involvement in the startup scene? (local or international)
Thinking about my university time I worked for an insurtech company for about 2 years during my studies. That has been a great chance for me to develop on a practical manner, but also to be independent from a financial perspective.
And actually, right now on a side from my other projects, I am in the finding phase of starting my own company. I have the chance to put into practice all that I have learnt on a professional but also academical level by now. I am very excited about this opportunity and I am sure I would gain more insights that I would be able to share with the startup community.
You and SSA
4. Describe the current Swiss startup scene in 3 words.
I have been part of it for quite a while now and I think the best adjectives would be: innovative, small and with a high potential for growth.
5. What is your motivation for supporting the SSA?
In my opinion entrepreneurship and technology, in particularly innovation are shaping the right approach to solve the world’s biggest challenges. The organization is focusing on supporting ambitious leaders that want to transform today’s world. Our aim is to also have here in Switzerland a more welcoming political system and create a better communication between the main actors of the startup scene.
6. In which areas can you best support the SSA? What are your main skills that you bring to the table?
I can support with my knowledge on how to run and organise a non-profit organisation as well as voluntary based organisation. My focuses were and still are for a long time the operational projects. On a parallel note, I also have my wide network within the startup ecosystem that helps to activate the right people to support.
7. Your vision for the SSA in 5 years?
In my eyes, it is being the number one organisation that includes all startups but also other organisations and interested individuals in Switzerland. We can only achieve our goals if we act as a network including all stakeholders instead of fragmented organisations in the ecosystem. They should all be heard and collaborate in order to empower great ideas that would generate a push of the economical system but also more jobs in the long term.
Swiss startup scene and SSA-future outlook
8. How do you see the development of the local scene in 5 years?
It is a rapidly changing market and lately a high push from the corporate but also governmental entities has been notices. Therefore I expect the number of new startups increasing every year. An incremental change would be considered especially also related to students from universities. I think there should be more entrepreneurship related courses and initiatives as an alternative career path.
9. What could the SSA bring that would allow Switzerland to be the Nr. 1 European Startup Hub?
There is a very ambitious timeline ahead of us, but not only being a network platform to connect stakeholders but also to create real value for the startup ecosystem would be the target. We would focus on projects such as lobbying activities, benefits for startups and international cooperations.
10. Describe one of the next steps of the SSA.
We are still working on the strategy but we have already some clear goals defined for the team. So as until end of 2020 we should focus on bringing the organisation back to speed and rising awareness on the local scene. Then also to create 2-3 individual projects to state our ambitions and finally acquire at least 500 members in Q4.
11. What is your advice for the execution team?
My advice is to always stay proactive, ambitious and hard-working. Also to increase simplicity and efficiency in what we are doing. It is crucial that the execution team is aware of what actions bring the most value at what time.