Many EPFL Alumni decide to embrace a career in tech entrepreneurship. EPFL Alumni start-up programs provide young EPFL entrepreneurs with mentoring support and advice from Alumni or friends of the School who have developed a relevant experience in industry or entrepreneurship.
We also give the opportunity to Alumni and entrepreneurs to grow their angel investment skills through our partnerships with local business angels clubs and our annual pitch event, the Seed Night.
EPFL Start-up Mentoring
The mentoring program is designed to allocate 3 mentors to a young EPFL entrepreneur. Since inception, more than 30 entrepreneurs have benefitted from the expertise of mentors in order to serenely approach the human and technical challenges of starting up a new venture. See the list of companies that have been involved in the mentoring program.
Why participate if you are an entrepreneur?
- To benefit from relevant advice and connections from 3 senior Alumni or friends of EPFL;
- To challenge your vision and decisions with external viewpoints;
- To improve the soft skills needed to grow your business (presentation skills, investor communication, human ressource management, interpersonal skills).
Are you an EPFL entrepreneur looking for mentoring ? Contact us at email@example.com
“When I jumped into the startup world right after my PhD at EPFL, I was a well-trained scientist with very little business experience. I very soon found myself in situations where I simply “didn’t know” – my EPFL Alumni mentors have helped me structure and sequence my actions to identify and avoid crucial early mistakes. They have given me savvy and trusted guidance through important challenges on my way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.”
– Sylke Hoehnel, CEO/Co-Founder, Sun bioscience.
Why become a mentor?
- To share your experience and contribute to the personal development of an entrepreneur ;
- To nurture young talents and consequently support the local innovation ecosytem;
- To stay connected to EPFL.
EPFL constantly recruits new mentors. If you have gained a solid experience in an innovation-driven industry, have a first-hand entrepreneurship experience or specific skills helpful to grow a start-up (legal affairs, sales, marketing,…) please share with us your interest in mentoring young entrepreneurs by filling out our online form. Please upload your CV.
« As an industry executive (Nestlé & General Mills), I very much enjoy mentoring start-ups at EPFL. While sharing my business skills and experience with high potential entrepreneurs, I also learn a lot from their fresh, creative and passionate approach to starting-up their venture. It is a very rewarding experience at the heart of one of the most vibrant innovation ecosytems in Europe. »
– John Wanvig, EPFL Alumni mentor.
Rules and matching process
EPFL Alumni matches entrepreneurs and mentors through four annual events where three start-ups are invited to present. Each start-up will receive 3 mentors upon mutual interest to work together. Once the matching is made, the entrepreneur meets his/her mentors between 6 to 10 times a year on average.
The program is regulated by a moral code of conduct that will be respected by both mentors and mentees. EPFL Alumni stresses the selfless dimension of the program in order to avoid any conflict of interest in performing mentoring activities. We reserve the right to refuse new mentors based on thei motivations and competencies of the candidates. We evaluate each new candidate through personal interviews.
Business Angels activities & start-up investments
Business Angels dinner : join our investor networks
In 2014, EPFL start-ups raised a record of 220 million Swiss francs of private capital (read more here). To further support early stage entrepreneurs looking for seed money, EPFL Alumni has launched a partnership with BAS (Business Angel Switzerland), a leading Swiss business angels club. Two of the 10 BAS’s annual events are fully dedicated to EPFL start-ups and open to EPFL Alumni interested in angel investments. Each event (usually a dinner) presents 3 or 4 EPFL start-ups.
Conditions: Our collaboration implies that EPFL Alumni will have the opportunity to attend up to 4 BAS dinner-meetings without being members themselves, 2 of which will be organized jointly on EPFL campus. Alumni interested in attending the BAS dinner must buy a ticket (usually CHF 120). If – following the event – Alumni want to invest or join a group of investors, they will have to pay the annual membership and the registration fees of BAS.
For additional information or to receive an invitation to our next event, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Seed Night : annual EPFL start-up pitchfest
The EPFL Alumni Seed Night is an annual event that invites 15-20 start-ups from EPFL and Canton de Vaud to pitch their business in front of local investors, potential mentors, industry executives and alumni (250+ people).
The event brings together the EPFL start-up community and gives the opportunity to Alumni to find out about our various innovation programs and to familiarize themselves with start-up investments activities through our network of business angels. See the pictures of the 2015 Seed Night.
The 2016 Seed Night will take place on April 21, 2016 at EPFL Forum Rolex. More info about the event.