3:43 - What makes ETH special
8:13 - Commercializing research at ETH
13:03 - Switzerland sells itself short
15:31 - Making Switzerland more startup
19:17 - Where our ecosystem is going
Roland Siegwart is a professor of Autonomous Systems at ETH Zurich and board member for Sevensense Robotics, NZZ, Komax and Evatec. He has been a visiting scientist at both EPFL and Stanford, and holds a PhD in Mechatronics from ETH Zurich.
Roland’s original ambition was to become an entrepreneur; however, he does not regret having become a professor instead, since teaching at ETH Zurich has allowed him to help and watch grow a vast number of startups.
Roland attributes ETH Zurich’s prominent role in the Swiss startup scene to the very clever students that it successfully attracts, and he suggests that if we want to further motivate students to become entrepreneurs, we should first and foremost offer them role models. He also would like to see ETH Zurich collaborate more with business-focused schools like HSG, so that the expertise of tech and business leads can be brought together.
Roland is not of the opinion that every Swiss startup needs to scale massively. However, if scaling massively is the goal, then two things are needed:
Founders must change their Swiss mentality and relinquish the desire of staying in control. Switzerland shouldn’t necessarily mimic Silicon Valley, but it needs to be faster to get bigger, and there is a lot of outstanding tech for us to do this. More financial support is naturally required.
"If you want to build a perfect product, you’ll never be on the market."
"In order to motivate students to become entrepreneurs, we need to give them role models. And we have to create a stronger link between established companies and startups."
If you would like to listen to the first three episodes in our Startup Days co-production, check out our conversations with Laura Matter, Olivier Laplace and Lars Mangelsdorf.
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