Arriving to the office early in the morning is not always easy. But we discovered that things do not get much better if your office is on the beautifully foggy Pier 17 in San Francisco. That is if you are lucky enough to be part of the “xxxxx” program of Swissnex, the Swiss business hub that supports Swiss (go figure) startups on their journey to the Silicon Valley.
About the program
We have managed to get into the amazing program starting September 2017. Within the program, we receive mentoring, access to an extended network, travel allowance from CH to SF and last but not least, office space for a couple of employees right at their new, Pier 17 office.
Don’t let yourselves be fooled- this is not just a free office space on an extremely beautiful (if not the most beautiful) spot. An important part of the program is the setting up of concrete milestones to be accomplished during a period of time set by both parties.
The road so far
Our experience so far has been amazing. The Swissnex office is fascinating insofar as it is a perfect showcase of all things Swiss. From furniture, to art and Swiss products, any visitor can get a taste of Swiss quality. It is fascinating to see all the Swissnex alumni written on the wall, among which, Mindmaze or Ava, to state just a few ( and yes, we’re starstruck).
The office space itself is occupied by a vibrant variety of startups and established companies for whom the Bay Area is the perfect place to build an innovation office.
During our stay in the Bay Area in the past months, we have been very happy to call Swissnex our daytime office. Not only were we able to experience a great push in creativity and productivity linked to a change of work environment, we were also able to interact with the great people working tirelessly at making Swissnex a great place to be. Our mentors have been of great help in connecting us to highly relevant contacts (legal firms, companies..) and we were able to exchange valuable knowledge from a business perspective- especially when it comes to knowing how to set up and manage a US based office and entering the US market.
Moving at the speed of light
Overall, going to the Bay Area is always a fascinating experience. This is mostly due to the monumental difference in speed of life. Such geographical concentration of innovation comes at a cost: one must be ready to run for it. Our usual day in life could be summarized by:
6:00 Alarm clock
6:30 Departure towards San Francisco (a difference of 5 minutes in departure time can result up to 30 min in loss of time due to morning traffic)
7:45-8:00 Arrival to Swissnex office
The day is then usually composed of around 3-5 meetings, work time, quick lunch and departure around 8-9pm towards place of stay. On our worst day, we would spend up to 5 hours a day commuting. On a good day, 3 hours.
While living fully the San Francisco way is at first exhausting and overwhelming, it is also in many ways extremely energizing. Meeting individuals who are at the front of innovation, with decades of experience and openness to share their story is extremely enriching and inspiring.
At the end of the day, in Silicon Valley, it is all about the stories one will be able to tell. We cannot wait to write ours. In the meantime, enjoy our view through our trip in photos!
For more information about Swissnex, click here.
Written by Bara
Image: Golden Gate Bridge – Lea