This was Kickstart 2021 - getIT

Personal Development

This was Kickstart 2021 – three innovators share their story!

In today's interview, we catch up with our three Swisscom Kickbox intrapreneurs Chris Rüttimann, Mauro Guerini and Samuel Scheidegger, who took part in Kickstart Innovation 2021 with their Kickbox intrapreneurship projects. In the previous interview, they had told us about their ideas, burgers at the pitches and scaling ambitions with first partners. Today we learn more about buzzing start-up energy, hospitalizations and juicy plans for the future.

Guys, it has been a while! Great to have you back after your adventure at Kickstart(opens in new tab) – how do you feel?

Chris: Full of energy, highly motivated and my head is filled with important learnings but also challenging questions about INFRABOX. It was very inspiring to breathe fresh start-up air once again and to experience what is possible when you give employees time and freedom to tackle ideas. I am ready for the next steps! 

Mauro: I can relate to that! I feel fantastic but also exhausted for sure! It was a rollercoaster with hardly any breaks on the way. The learning curve got steeper and steeper, but it was great fun as the adrenaline made sure you enjoy even the toughest lessons throughout the whole ride! ;) 

Sam: Very very very very good, lots of energy. Last night I found myself working until 03:15 am simply because I lost myself in exciting things. You know I started my apprenticeship as a media technician when I was 15 years old, so I practically grew up in the Swisscom offices in Zürich. For me it was a great kick in the butt to leave the Swisscom environment for a while and to see how damn efficient people work in the start-up world.

Well, I am happy to see you made it out of the rollercoaster in one piece! But we want more juicy details of course! What was the most memorable moment for you during Kickstart 2021?

Mauro: Phew, there were so many it is hard to choose! but I think the highlight was the first pitch at the Opening Ceremony in front of all the startups – that was a truly impressive audience. My heart was pounding, the 60-second timer started and bam I was on stage and in the spotlight. Adrenaline and endorphins shot through my body and I just flew through my pitch! And please note the irony here: With my project XRMeeting I bring such highly physical moments into virtual reality! 

Chris: Ah yes that was intense! However, my favorite moment deserves the title "full commitment". The Intrapreneurship teams were led by Fritz Seidel. In our last meeting with him, which as many others took place online, there was a huge surprise for us, as he logged in from a hospital bed! Still, we then went through the online meeting in this setup. Today, Fritz is fully well again. But for me, this was certainly the most special moment at Kickstart. Thank you, Fritz, for your commitment! 

Sam: For me, it was a moment at the beginning. I was very intimidated when Kickstart began, especially at the CEO's Dinner. I wore a shirt that was too big and had no idea what exactly I was supposed to do there. At the dinner several courses were served, the cutlery selection of knives and forks alone gave me puzzles. Oh but there was also a moment a few weeks later. I was walking up the stairs to the Musée Olympique in Lausanne to pitch my idea at a Kickstart event. I struck up a conversation with the gentlemen next to me who was obviously heading to the same event. When I asked about his job, he replied: "I'm CEO of Nespresso" :)

Wow I am sure you will never forget these moments! So after all this, what is next for you?

Sam: In the 12 weeks of Kickstart, I had to leave my comfort zone every day and I can't even describe how much I learned. On the one hand, I have learned a lot about psychology, working methods, getting feedback, validating ideas and networking. On top of that, I met a lot of new people and became more self-confident. Plus I am now an expert in Elevator Pitches! I'm now funneling all this energy into LifeSensor and giving it my all to push the idea further. There will be big hurdles ahead of me, but I am ready! I am not allowed to share more details about the development of LifeSensor just now. But I hope to be able to present results in spring 2022, so stay tuned. 

Mauro: For us, Kickstart opened vast new opportunities. But at the same time, we also pushed on, to realize the vision for Swisscom and potential further clients. After this very inspirational phase with Kickstart, I see us thus refocus on mastering the delivery. It is now our turn to complete our PoC's as we gather final feedback from users, prepare the pitch for the stakeholders for what is to come next and in parallel create our own VR solution for Swisscom. Stay tuned! 

Chris: We are in a similar situation to balance internal delivery and potential external partners. The INFRABOX is currently being rolled out successfully at Swisscom in the mobile sector to achieve benefits in the areas of energy savings, automation, and fault management as quickly as possible. In parallel, I will continue to challenge the business case internally, follow up on requests of other international mobile operators and look at their needs regarding INFRABOX with them. Exciting times are coming! 

That sounds amazing! I am curious to see what will be next for you. Great job from all of you in your projects and especially well done to leverage Kickstart so productively! And who knows, maybe next year you will be featured in the program as one of their success cases! 

Read the first interview with our Kickboxers here.

About Swisscom Kickbox

Swisscom employees can easily start and grow their innovative idea at any time with Kickbox. The physical box contains 

starting credit of CHF 1,000
20% of the working time for 2 months
manual explaining the idea validation process and providing valuable tips 

In the multi-stage process, you will be accompanied by a coach to drive your idea forward, learn a lot and, in the best case, make your idea really big! 

You can find more information on the Kickbox Program here.

Michael Hunkeler

Michael Hunkeler

Head of Intrapreneurship Swisscom Kickbox

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