In cooperation with Bilanz, digitalswitzerland is looking again for the 100 people who push forward Switzerland as a leading digital innovation hub. Either by founding promising startups or initiatives, by using digital technologies for their art, research or for a greater vision: to make the world, or at least Switzerland, a better place.

The new edition 100 Digital Shapers 2018 will be published on 27 September 2018.

Why Switzerland needs more Digital Shapers

Digital transformation is nothing new or something out of the blue, however, the speed of change is picking up. As a small country without natural resources, Switzerland has always relied on innovation and it is in the national interest to keep up with today’s technology and speed. Attracting the brightest minds, digital pioneers, data enthusiasts and digital visionaries is thus of utmost importance. With the 100 Digital Shapers edition 2018 we want on one hand to raise awareness for all the great potential in the country and on the other, bundling forces and pushing together for digital projects with international visibility and a true impact. We will call these projects Matterhorn-Projects, named after the well-known and majestic Swiss mountain. These projects should stand for the same characteristics as the Matterhorn: Swiss excellence, innovation and resilience.

11 Jury members on a mission

Behind curtains, heads are smoking. Even in our mall country, the number of visionaries, doers and thinkers is astonishingly high. We have compiled a jury that brings all the expertise and knowledge to the table, to make the right choice. Let us introduce in this blogpost the 11 jury members who will appoint the country’s next 100 Digital Shapers.

Edouard Bugnion, Vice-President Information Systems at EPFL Lausanne, Digital Shaper 2016 and 2017

Operating systems, datacenter infrastructure (systems and networking), and computer architecture are Edouard Bugnion’s focus of interest and expertise. He joined EPFL in 2012, where his focus is on datacenter systems. Before joining EPFL, Edouard Bugnion co-founded the startups VMware and Nuova Systems (acquired by Cisco) and played many roles including CTO and spend in total more than 10 year in Silicon Valley. He’s currently also on the Board of Logitech and Kudelski.

Taïssa Thierry Chaves, Founder of Women in Digital Switzerland, Founder & Managing Director Y Coaching & Consulting
Building on 15 years of experience in leading complex business and marketing strategies and as an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, university teacher, mentor to startups and Managing Director of Y Coaching & Consulting, Taïssa Thierry Chaves has a profound knowledge of the Swiss startup and digital ecosystem and a tight-knitted network in this field. To connect all women working in digital, she founded in 2014 Women in Digital Switzerland, an organization that is more than 2’000 members strong and supports women in a rather male-dominated industry.

Alisée de Tonnac, CEO & Co-founder of Seedstars World
Having left a safe career in an international cosmetics company to found her own startup, Alisée de Tonnac is today CEO of Seedstars World, the global startup competition aiming at impacting people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. At a very young age and as a CEO, she brings great expertise in entrepreneurship and a feeling for ideas and business models with hidden potential. She was on the Forbes List 30 under 30 – Social Entrepreneurs.

Hannes Gassert, Lip/ WeMakeIt/, Digital Shaper 2016 and 2017
Hannes Gassert is a Swiss civic entrepreneur, a developer, activist, author and curator at the intersection of technology, media and culture. He is involved as founder, partner or board members in projects such as the web agency Liip, the crowdsourcing platform WeMakeIt  or the strategy consultancy crstl. Hannes Gassert is also described as a ‘a policy shaper with a hacker mind’. As a double digital shaper and driver of innovation himself, he has a feeling for who is bringing Switzerland forward.

Bruno Giussani, Global Curator of TED and curator of the TEDGlobal and TEDSummit conferences and of special TED events
As a Global Curator of TED (, writer, entrepreneur and idea generator, Bruno Giussani has created and hosted numerous other conferences. Besides his role with TED, he is the Chairman of the Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) and an Advisor to the think tank Igarape Institute, the ICRC and private companies. In 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, the magazine Wired UK selected him as one of the “Wired 100”, the 100 most influential Europeans.

Marc Kowalsky, Deputy Editor- in-Chief, Bilanz
Words are his business and business is the major topic of the magazine «Bilanz». Marc Kowalsky has been writing about new technologies for over 30 years and is responsible for the topic start-ups and digitalization at Bilanz. Thus, he  knows exactly what is going on in Switzerland’s economy and has a sense for innovation and the next disrupting business models.

Stefan Klauser, Lead Strategist Digital Society at ETH Zurich
Stefan Klauser is a Political Scientist and FinTech Expert and leads the subject “Digital Society” at the Chair for Computational Social Science at ETH Zurich. His main passion is to lead research in distributed digital networks (yes, Blockchain!). Prior to that he worked for the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and the OECD Global Science Forum.

Alain Nicod, Managing Partner at VI Partners, Founder of
Alain Nicod’s area of expertise is information technology. Equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset and critical eye, he supports other portfolio companies with challenging decisions. As Managing Partner of VI Capitals, one of the most well-know and active Swiss venture capital firm, he provides promising startups with capital, coaching and networks. Prior to that, he founded in 1997 the first Swiss Online Supermarket

Lesley Spiegel, Managing Director at the Institute for Design Research, Zurich University of the Arts

As Managing Director at the Institute of Design Research at the ZHdK, Lesley Spiegel is fostering application-oriented research and the emergence of innovative ventures combining design and technology. She is a former CEO of the foundation Technopark Zurich and member of several key institutions in the venture branch. Thus, Lesley Spiegel has an extensive expertise and knowledge of Switzerland’s high-tech and innovation ecosystem.

Marc Walder, CEO Ringier and founder of digitalswitzerland
At home in an industry that is disrupted by digitalisation itself, Marc Walder felt the urge to actively tackle the challenges stemming from digital transformation. But Switzerland is not known for courageous experiments, yet more for its rational pragmatism. Because things went too slow for Marc Walder and digitalisation too fast, he decided to found an association with the vision of making Switzerland a leading digital innovation hub. digitalswitzerland was born.

Nicolas Bürer, Managing Director digitalswitzerland
From our association, we have our Managing Director Nicolas Bürer who is bringing his entrepreneurial and innovation experience in the jury. With his extensive network in the Swiss startup ecosystem and the world of digitalisation, as well as expertise in founding a startup himself, he has an eye for the next big things and talents.

Have a look at previous editions of the 100 Digital Shapers

Already in 2016 and 2017, we chose the Digital Shapers of the country. Have a look at the class of 2016 and 2017. And of course, keep up to date on all things digital by subscribing to our newsletter!