When I founded my company in 1995, Silicon Valley was not yet in my focus and I really like living in Switzerland.
In 1994, I was employed by Digital Equipment Corporation, the second-largest IT company at the time. There I had my first contact with the Internet and saw that it could change a lot of business processes and models.
“Blockchain is a cross-sectional technology that can penetrate all industries and technologies.”
As the responsible IT service provider for media companies, I knew the classic classified business very well and was convinced that this was exactly where the Internet could bring supply and demand together more efficiently than in newspapers and magazines. Through the development of the various vertical marketplaces, a large part of the supply available on the market would create much more transparency and thus make the search for interested parties much easier. So, I developed platforms such as AutoScout24, ImmoScout24, JobScout24, MotoScout24, and FriendScout24. Over the years, these were supplemented by other platforms such as Jobs.ch, Anibis.ch etc.
In the beginning, I did not see the dimension at all. I was too absorbed with the daily business. But when more and more large companies and investors contacted us and I was able to see how suppliers and buyers actually found each other on the platform and how we were able to boost trade, I realized that we had a huge potential. Today about 90% of all cars in Switzerland are provided via AutoScout24.
There were many, but three main challenges had to be overcome. First, the growth from 1 to 650 employees in 12 years. Second, the classic media houses and industry players wanted to oust me with large investments, because they had overslept this innovation and therefore lost it. Third, it was an enormous challenge to find the right employees. During this time, I brought an investor on board, which brought me a lot.
Thirty years ago, the Internet came virtually from nowhere and conquered the world in a relatively short time. The first ideas for blockchain technology, namely Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper, date back to 2008 when trust in the banking and monetary system was massively damaged during the financial crisis. The ideas of Bitcoin transactions, of shifting values without middlemen and based only on well-defined, secure mathematical processes, the new Distributed Ledger Technology, inspired thousands and thousands of programmers, entrepreneurs, libertarians and investors around the world. The Blockchain technology and the principle behind it is like the genie that gets out of the bottle. He can’t and won’t go back, because the freedom and possibilities are limitless.
“I had to overcome three main challenges.”
Digitalization can no longer be stopped. It has received a major boost from the COVID 19 pandemic. At the same time, some problems need to be solved. I am thinking of security and trust, two important ingredients for the cohesion and functioning of society and the economy. Blockchain technology plays a crucial role here. We are no longer dealing with a single, central, powerful database. Decentralization opens up completely new possibilities: People and companies can interact with each other, move and store information and values securely. Entire supply chains or business models are put on a new footing. The disruptive potential of Blockchain can be seen in the cryptocurrencies, which were initially smiled at and dismissed as pure speculative objects. Meanwhile, central banks are experimenting with Central Bank Digital Currency, CBDC. Tokens and ecosystems are gaining ground as well as digital assets.
Blockchain is a cross-sectional technology that can penetrate all industries and technologies. Large corporations and industries — whether finance, food, pharmaceuticals, raw materials, logistics, telecommunications or media — are in the process of bringing processes to Blockchain. In addition, there are a number of promising startups, especially in the Fintech sector, which are inventing the world of tomorrow.
“Decentralization opens up completely new possibilities.”
Switzerland is in an excellent position. While the World Wide Web was invented 30 years ago in Geneva at the Cern, so to speak on the doorstep, Switzerland, unfortunately, could not and did not want to profit from this great invention. The potential of the three magic letters WWW unfolded in the USA on the west coast, and from there it conquered the globe. Today this is different. At the beginning between Zug and Zurich, now working all over Switzerland, startups and corporations are experimenting with the blockchain technology. The ecosystem consists of first-class entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, lawyers, politicians and regulators working hand in hand. In addition, this year the Swiss Parliament approved one of the most advanced Blockchain frameworks, making Switzerland probably the most leading and innovative location in the world. Switzerland and its Crypto Valley are in an excellent position to remain at the top for a very long time and to really take off next year with the new legal framework, especially in the financial industry.
I learned about the CVVC project in summer of 2019 through a friend. I quickly realized that this project is exciting because of its broad approach and because I encounter so many use cases. On the other hand, this structure lowers the risk of a complete failure considerably. These two considerations and because I was interested in a deep dive with Blockchain, I decided to become financially involved with CVVC.
Investor and Entrepreneur Daniel Grossen Compares Birth and Potential of Internet and Blockchain was originally published in CV VC on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.