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A unicorn, a StartUp and a Kickboxer - getIT
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Personal Development

A unicorn, a StartUp and a Kickboxer enter a bar…

Digitalisation and Innovation are core to all our present and even more to our future. Swisscom is often a key partner for young ventures to start and grow. Thanks to our internal Kickbox intrapreneurs, we make sure StartUps can connect and grow with Swisscom on eye level and a culture where client needs and agile growth take the center stage. To see this in action, we talked to Chris Rüttimann (Wireless Mobile Operations Specialist), Mauro Guerini (Software Project Engineer) and Samuel Scheidegger (Lean Agile Manager), three Swisscom Kickboxer who pitched their way into the Kickstart 2021 Accelerator programme. Their mission? To connect with leading Swiss organisations, foster innovation partnerships and grow their ideas in the Open Innovation Ecosystem. We spoke to them about their ideas, burgers at the pitches and scaling ambitions with REGA and other partners.
Michael Hunkeler
Michael Hunkeler, Head of Intrapreneurship Swisscom Kickbox
21 septembre 2021

Tell us briefly in 1-2 sentences what your Kickbox ideas are about.

Chris: We have developed a world first: INFRABOX – a component for our antenna locations which monitors, measures, controls and communicates in real time with the equipment (including ventilation, cooling, alarm equipment, solar systems, weather stations, energy measurements). At the moment, we are only using the solution Swisscom internally, but our approach is also to attract a lot of interest from other mobile operators beyond the country's borders.

 

Mauro: XRMeeting is like working in an office, but completely virtual. Imagine: a virtual room, your avatar, slides, whiteboards, notes, post-its, virtual objects. Now add your virtual colleagues and you're in the middle of an XRMeeting, whether you're using a mobile phone, laptop, augmented or virtual reality glasses.

 

Sam: If you pass out alone in your flat or, say, while hiking in the mountains, it can take hours for someone to find you and call for medical help. With each hour, your chances of survival decrease. Life Sensor is a smartphone application that uses the sensors in the smartphone to detect unconsciousness in the user and independently sends an emergency call. With Life Sensor, we want to bring innovation to the Search and Rescue (SAR) sector and save people's lives.

You also had to compete against projects from other companies with your pitches to the Kickstart jury. How did you feel there?

Chris: I received the invitation and the details (e.g. 4 minutes pitching time) 24 hours before the pitch. This challenged me accordingly. Very much in the spirit of "reduce to the max". I was excited to present the whole project to a broad external jury. It was a challenge to communicate it all in 4 minutes and I was curious to hear what kind of questions would be asked. Since the idea is already fully developed to the "finished product", there was not much discussion about this aspect.

 

Mauro: When I walked into my pitch I was taken aback, all the jury members had a huge burger in front of them and were busy enjoying their meal. I had to smile a bit and I realized: we are all just people living our individual lives. At that moment, I wanted to present my pitch and my passion to create a shared event, even if we only had a short moment together. Ah yes, sure I was nervous, but the burger moment took that away and I was able to fully enjoy the pitch. Right afterward I was hungry and craved a burger myself.

 

Sam: It was important for me to pitch the idea of Life Sensor honestly and not sell the jury on any fantasies. So I presented my passion and energy, but also the hurdles and struggles of Life Sensor in a very honest pitch. This was very well received and it was exciting to hear the different opinions of the jury members.

Kickstart Cartoon

What are your plans for Kickstart 2021?

Chris: As I said, the product is already mature and the rollout started at Swisscom Mobile. So my plans for Kickstart are to further develop the product and the idea in the areas of "possible scaling", "future business model", "necessary financial planning" and "risk assessment of the next steps". I also find it very exciting to explore what kind of know-how I can access here and expand my network accordingly. I look forward to the next steps.

 

By the way, our idea has already been nominated for the Green Business Award this year, please check it out.

 

Mauro: A clear business model that is easy to explain. As well as finding out which are the best application areas to make XRMeetings successful in the long run. The areas where the solution is currently being tested are: 3D design, teaching, development (IT systems), workshops, but other areas could well be considered. Oh, and if there's a bit of fun involved and a great community to enjoy, then there's nothing to stop my personal growth too.

 

Sam: We're excited to have Rega as launch customer for Life Sensor and plan to roll out in spring 2022. At Kickstart 2021, we'd mainly like to further improve the implementation of our product and talk about possible international scaling after the rollout.

 

Thanks again for taking the time to share your experiences with us today. We look forward to hearing more about your journey soon.

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Michael Hunkeler

Head of Intrapreneurship Swisscom Kickbox

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