It’s early morning as Daniel Meier enters the Impact Hub and already finds it buzzing with life. Upon scouting the room, he quickly makes eye contact with Janine, the graphic designer from Grafik2 who is currently helping his startup, and they get to work.
Daniel and his two co-founders created Aerotain as a startup idea and technology at ETH Zürich. In order to turn the idea into a real startup, they applied for Venture Kick, the premier Swiss startup support program. Upon winning Stage 1 and thereby entering the program, they not only won CHF 10’000 and excellent coaching support, but also a membership of Impact Hub Zürich. We are currently running a pilot for a new partnership is to give Venture Kick and its entrepreneurs, such as Daniel, a home.
A home for Venture Kick
Since its inception in 2007, Venture Kick has had impressive results. Over 400 Startups were supported with CHF 16.1 million leading to close to CHF 900 million in investment and nearly 3’500 new jobs. Venture Kick is a unique collaborative and philanthropic effort by a consortium of private foundations and companies. Since its establishment, the mandate to run Venture Kick has been with the IFJ, who are doing a tremendous job in supporting entrepreneurs in Switzerland. Now in its 9th year, Venture Kick was ready for the next step. It became time to not only support each startup directly, but also create peer-to-peer support and a true community among the active Kickers, its alumni and the jury. This is where the collaboration with Impact Hub was born. Being the leading Swiss entrepreneurial community with three locations in Zurich, one in Geneva and more in Bern and Lausanne coming soon, Impact Hub was a natural fit for Venture Kick’s goals – and we are of course very happy to pilot this collaboration.
Building a community
As a result of the partnership, all startups in the program as well as all jury members receive a “Community Membership” at Impact Hub. This not only gives access to our events, the spaces, the Business Help Desk experts and our international network, but particularly curated access to the Impact Hub community. Danka, as personal host, knows the Venture Kick startups, connects them among themselves but also creates connections with the highly heterogeneous community of Impact Hub: freelancers, corporates, entrepreneurs, investors and changemakers. Those Kickers who need it, can also co-work; not just in Zurich but in any of Impact Hub’s 82 locations around the world. On top of this, special events for the Kickers are organized such as the “Monthly Stammtisch”, the New Year’s Apéro and Summer Celebration.
So what’s next?
We are often asked about the difference between a network and a community. Our answer is straightforward: “Networks connect, communities care”. With this pilot, we’d like to built a true community that cares about each other’s success and shaping the future of business, collaboratively. Ask Daniel: Janine not only gave him excellent help with his design problem. She particularly did so in a highly collaborative way. And that’s what makes it perfect for Daniel: he has great acceleration support through Venture Kick and now also a place to call home and a community to contribute to and profit from. Future of business – here we come!
A background in business and economics, Niels’ curiosity took him through multiple countries and professions before finding his passion in social entrepreneurship and in Switzerland. After co-founding the Impact Hub Zürich, building its community and setting up its operations, he needed a break and went on a trip through Asia and Africa. Since Mid-2012 Niels is back as Program Director desig...
Niels Rot, Program Director