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Alexander Curiger, co-founder Silverbogen, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #176 - Alexander Curiger: From Family Business To International Brand

Alexander Curiger (Lukas Reinhardt & Tom Schlup)

July 26, 2021

04:40 - How market dynamics affect young companies

8:38 - Validating the market

20:35 - Why startups should participate in the SEF Growth initiative

22:23 - How SEF assesses companies

33:26 - The UBS growth advisory

About Alexander, Lukas and Tom

Alexander Curiger is the managing owner of the spirits company Silverbogen, which he co-founded in 2010. Since 2010 he has also been a board member at the family business Curiger Immobilien.

Lukas Reinhardt is a corporate finance professional and head of the UBS Growth Advisory. He previously worked at UBS as a corporate finance specialist and M&A analyst.

Tom Schlup is a financial analyst and the head of the SEF Growth initiative. He previously worked at Scout24 as an M&A project manager.

The Silverbogen story began when Alex's younger brother, Raphael, came back from his study exchange in St Petersburg with 4 bottles of Beluga Vodka which both brothers really enjoyed. They started importing bottles of Beluga and selling them in Switzerland, but it eventually dawned on them that selling just one product would be difficult, so they began adding more brands to their portfolio. By moving their business online, they saw some growth, but also had to face the difficulty of getting brands to agree to this different route to market. Raphael has since left the company. To test a possible European-level scale up, Silverbogen has recently expanded to Germany.

Silverbogen participated in the SEF Growth initiative. Tom Schlup indicates the following as the biggest challenges for SEF Growth companies:

1. Cash handling: young companies don't necessarily have a CFO, and are usually always short of cash.

2. Market orientation: young companies don't always understand the market well, even though they may have a very good product.

3. Team: Tom advises you build your team before you actually need it, since growth stages happen fast and require stable structures.

Why should companies participate in the SEF growth initiative?

- There are not many offers for growth companies out there, but mainly early stage or seed stage.

- SEF has a wide network of experienced entrepreneurs.

- SEF companies also benefit from a wide range of partner offerings, namely with their main partner UBS.

Why did UBS choose to be a part of SEF growth?

- They wished to strengthen their position in the SME and startup growth market, where they feel they can be impactful.

- It seemed to them that SEF was offering something truly innovative and beneficial to startups.

Memorable Quotes:

"In every company stage you need different people. At the beginning, it's generalists you want, but as you grow, so does the need for specialized skills."

If you would like to listen to more conversations on successful family businesses, check out our episode with Iman Nahvi.

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