This week I visited Warsaw, for Google Campus’s exlusive “CEE Allstars” event, matching investors and startups at a 1:1 ratio for 2 days of pitches and discussions. During the event, I sat down for an episode of the StartupYard podcast with Thomas Patzko, to talk about Impact Hub Zurich, growing startups in one of the world’s richest and most conservative countries, and fundraising for Central European startups.
- Switzerland, with its high cost of living and conservative society, stigmatizes startups and entrepreneurialism
- Risk aversion in Switzerland goes back in history to its political neutrality
- The social safety net is built around employment, not self-employment
- In Switzerland, salary levels are guaranteed according to a person’s level of education, offering graduates attractive salaries
- Small traditional businesses are respected, and are in fact the backbone of Swiss society
- ImpactHub mentors its members on investor relationships – Thomas focuses on helping startups understand investor motivations
- Swiss startups can suffer from “over-investment,” causing them to defocus in order to match investor benchmarks
- Communities like ImpactHub are growing in their importance as a defense against predatory investors or wild speculation.
- ImpactHub encourages its members to tackle problems that are outside of their experience
For Thomas work is more than just making money. That is one of the reasons why he has worked in multiple fields, including a private home for the aged, building and leading various country presences of an insurance corporation, and for nine years as an independent business consultant and coach. His journey of finding possibilities to facilitate real change and encouraging individuals to experience happiness in their professional lives, has led Thomas to the Impact Hub where he curates the relationship with corporate partners and conducts business development. He holds an M.Sc. in economy and business administration and has completed advanced degrees in coaching and sociology.
ImpactHub is built around the belief that the world’s greatest challenges will never be solved by one person or organization alone. We need to work together.
ImpactHub has set out to build a thriving innovation ecosystem where people collaborate across organizations, cultures and generations to solve the grand challenges of our time. ImpactHub Zurich, among the largest of ImpactHub’s locations, has nearly 1000 members, and reaches 10s of thousands of people in Zurich and across Europe. It was founded in 2010, and has 3 locations in Zurich.