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Katja Berlinger, CEO Swiss Medi Kids, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #73 - Katja Berlinger: Successful Boards Of Directors

Katja Berlinger

May 21, 2020

1:47 – What do Swiss startups often get wrong with boards of directors?
6:00 – What different skills need to be present in a board of directors?
12:06 – How to best compensate your board
18:52 – How can a board help your startup achieve success?
23:05 – How should a startup collaborate with a board?

The Episode In 60 Seconds

Setting up your Board of Directors – the right way.

The right composition

  • Get diversity of perspectives and skills, be sure you cover at least: legal, finance and your industry
  • Don’t go for titles, go for people with time and expertise
  • 4 is considered a good number to start

Founders on the board

  • In small companies where they hold a large stake, this may be appropriate
  • In large companies, operations and board roles have to be separated


  • Consider paying a fixed compensation in cash or equity and a variable compensation based on time invested

Where to find the right board members

  • Choose people you know you can work with
  • If you have smart money investors, they will probably be a good addition to the board

How boards change when companies grow

  • Small company boards may be more operational
  • As companies grow, boards necessarily have to professionalize and become less operational

Meeting and decision making

  • Meetings at most once a month and at least once a quarter
  • If possible, decisions should be unanimous or more time should be invested into discussions
  • If a board member dissents, be sure to note it in writing

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