Interview with Raphael Tobler

Raphael has taken the initiative of relaunching the Swiss Startup Association in the beginning of 2020. Observing the need for a common voice for startups in order to express their struggles but also achievements, he has dedicated a great amount of his time building the organization and selecting the new team members with high goals in mind. He has an entrepreneurial background but also worked in the hotel and gastronomical industries. One of the most impressive characteristics about him is his desire to make a change and foster the growth of innovation in Switzerland.

Personal topics

1. Please share with us shortly your background.

I was born in Winterthur, which is also the foundation spot of the SSA and started my career in a less common background to the entrepreneurial one. I have worked in the hoteliere industry which I totally enjoyed and learnt a lot from. After, I have decided that I want to go back to the academical preparation and I decided for superior education. I have studied my Masters in Economics in St. Gallen (FH) and then I founded my own company, eduwo.

2. What is your biggest achievements from your perspective in your career by now?

From a personal perspective I am very proud of the fact that I still have a great relationship with all my former bosses. They were great professionals that have taught me a lot and managed to leave a mark upon my further path. 

From another point of view, on a purely professional level, would be that I have worked on the greatest hotel development project in Switzerland. Also, being able to start my own company and pay the employees’ wages was and still is a fact that I am really happy about.

3. By now, what is your involvement in the startup scene? (local or international)

Well, I think that I have been through a large progress since I have founded eduwo. This has allowed me to experience in another way everything that I have heard or ever read about the entrepreneurial dream. Right now, the company is the largest professional platform in Switzerland. I am very involved in the company and I am leading more than 15 people. 

Another one of my achievements is being founder and president of the Entrepreneur Club Winterthur. It is an organization that is supporting the local entrepreneurs and seeks to provide network occasions to grow ideas and people. Plus, on the same note I am the founder and president of the Home of Innovation. It is a 2600 sqm startup space in Winterthur that is hosting numerous startups from the region.

You and SSA

4. Describe the current Swiss startup scene in 3 words.

I like to believe that due to the latest developments on the market it can be easily described as solid, professional and with great potential.

5. What is your motivation for supporting the SSA?

I am seeking this every day and in every project, to build up something great and helpful for other founders. I was lucky that in some aspects I had people to consult and ask during the early stages of my entrepreneurial career, but I think it is always needed to learn more, from as many people as possible. Further I desire to show that start-ups are important for our country and our economy.

6. In which areas can you best support the SSA? What are your main skills that you bring to the table?

Some of my characteristics are that I can think big, I like connecting people, but also push and motivate them when needed. A large part of my tasks are related to bringing the right people to the right task. Also I have project management skills and a lot of energy to keep me going.

7. Your vision for the SSA in 5 years?

I hope that even sooner we would actually get to be the efficient and effective voice of Swiss startups. That means that we have to put projects and topics on the ground and create a positive impact for the whole ecosystem together with all other stakeholders as investors, government, education institutions etc.

Swiss startup scene and SSA-future outlook

8. How do you see the development of the local scene in 5 years?

I expect an increase in the number of startups. Hopefully with SSA and other initiatives, we could create a better networking and collaboration space between all parties included in the startup world.

9. What could the SSA bring that would allow Switzerland to be the Nr. 1 European Startup Hub?

Our unique value proposition is a strong and bundled voice for startups in Switzerland. All together we can change the general conditions, tax regulations and the social image of entrepreneurship. We can bring improvements that would mean a lot not only for the innovation bringers, but also for the ones benefiting from it.

10. Describe one of the next steps of the SSA.

We basically need to set up everything, we are in the beginning of the relaunch but with many ideas and support to follow. The team and I need to build a great fundament to grow, secure funding for the organisation and hire more motivated people. On an external note, we have to stay in close contact with all startups in CH and all other great players in the ecosystem to make sure we hear all problems and create practical solutions in 2021.

11. What is your advice for the execution team?

The more you work, the more you will learn. I am a strong believer that everything you do using your own resources will give you something back. Link your existing knowledge with what you are currently experiencing. Question the status quo. Lastly, networking is the key for your future.


AUTHOR

Ioana Voicu Startup SSA

IOANA VOICU


CONTRIBUTOR

Max Bieri Startup SSA

MAX BIERI

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