Discussion with Hamburg Government Digital Arm: Trends in Tech Ecosystems

January 24th, 2014

The Hamburg Government digital arm interviewed our COO Nicolas Sierro about trends in tech ecosystems. The interview was published on their blog <a href="http://nextmediablog achat viagra en europe.de/”>Next Media : Hamburg. To access their article, click here or read the full interview below.

Your company helps to design disruptive business strategies for startups and enterprises. Apart from the Silicon Valley, which is the most innovative part of the world right now?

Today’s access to resource and knowledge is easy for all and a lot of cities, regions, and countries can foster significant innovation. But the financial aspect, i.e. funding is necessary to propagate and scale disruptive products and services derived from these innovations. This brings restriction. Apart from the US, Europe has the key components including experienced funding in London as well as strong technical knowledge in other European countries like Germany, France, Switzerland, etc. And across Europe, you can find the best talents located in different cities, a powerful recipe for top class innovation “Made in Europe”.

A lot of talk is going on at the moment if and how 3D-printing might disrupt many industries. Is this only a hype or developing into a real trend?

“Rapid Prototyping” has existed for over 20 years, but was costly and reserved to big companies (In 1992, I adapted the CAD 3D model of a blade for the 1st rapid prototyping by ABB, total needed money around 200’000 DM: CAD HW+SW 100’000 DM, the stereolithography blade 100’000 DM). “3D printing” as we call it now, is mainly the democratisation of this, costing ~2’000 DM, and operated in your kitchen. I think it will keep growing, fueled by this broader trend: successful new products and services mixing real world and digital world. But we have first to figure out the implementation and application of it. It will not be done by analysis and prediction but by successful future services around 3D printing. Entrepreneurs making money from 3D printing will show the way and shape this new industry, often by disrupting established players.

From a Swiss VC perspective, which German startups would you be interested in?

High quality product and engineering is our tradition and Swiss investors prefer to put money in new enterprises with solid technical innovation (barriers to entry, real USP), and feel more secure with startups active in the B2B. As we have 4 national languages and we are a small country, we value as well the importance to be ready for global markets from the beginning. Like their counterparts from other countries, Swiss Angels and VCs prefer to invest in areas they are very familiar with. For instance, by talking to them, I found only very few ready to financially support pure digital services (Internet, mobile, social media). I hope it will change in the future with more success stories … perhaps from German startups.

What should cities do which want to attract startups and talents?

A lot of parameters are needed and my answer is the “ecosystem”. To know these parameters, I suggest cities should map their ecosystem in a similar way to the “Introduction to the XYZ startup community”, and afterwards compare it to the ones of Los Angeles, London or from a technical perspective compare it to cities like Boulder in Colorado. This will help to see what is perhaps missing. But more importantly, cities need to identify specialities, expertise in their ecosystem and use them as powerful engines to promoting themselves through differentiation. My personal advice: do not forget to highlight the “life quality” aspect of your region, not only for startup’s employees, but for partners and families too.

Looking ahead, what technological trend will we talk about in 2014?

Mobile, cloud, big data, contextual marketing are inescapable, but it is more a continuity of talks … and actions (you cannot ignore them completely). I feel engineering will have a more significant place with online services linked to real devices and we will talk about specific appliances derived from this convergence of pure digital mixed with new hardware. On the marketing side “growth hacking” with its use of programming for fast marketing actions to grow business quickly will gain momentum and people experienced with these techniques will be heavily sought. The talks will first be “What is growth hacking?” and then soon “Do you know a growth hacker I can hire?”.

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Written by
Nicolas is a digital pioneer, i.e. 3D real-time robotics simulation (EPFL), patent for smartcard, 1st mobile ticketing for ski station worldwide and 1st HbbTV service in Switzerland. Delivering high-pressure projects & complex program management are some of his core competencies. Working internationally for startups & leading companies, he is at ease in different social and cultural environments. Nicolas is teaching about the Mobile ecosystem at CREA’s Master of Digital Marketing & Social Media in Geneva. He practices AFK socialization through openness, eating & drinking, inspiration from nature & history, humor & provocation. @Galixo Nicolas is COO and brings his pragmatic sense of achievement for operation acceleration.