Swissnex Celebrates 20 Years of Connecting Switzerland and the world in education, research, innovation, and the arts

Swissnex Celebrates 20 Years of Connecting Switzerland and the world in education, research, innovation, and the arts.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – November 2, 2023 

Swissnex in San Francisco, Switzerland’s innovation outpost on the US West Coast, is celebrating two decades of fostering collaboration and innovation between Switzerland and the US West. What started as a visionary idea with the aim to connect Switzerland and the world in education, research, innovation, and the arts, is now a global network with 6 locations (Brazil, Japan, India, China and two US locations: Boston & New York as well as San Francisco) and over 20 Science Counselors around the world. 

20 Years of Impact: Inspiring Success Stories

The success of Swissnex is visible in countless success stories: Take Faceshift, for example. The then Zurich-based startup took part in one of Swissnex coveted internationalization bootcamps (powered by Innosuisse), where it was introduced to a variety of key players in the SF Bay Area. In 2015 it was acquired by Apple. Today, faceshift is known for the real time face tracking algorithm behind Apple’s Memojis. 

While not all of our program participants get acquired by Tech Giants, many can boast great successes. Today, of more than 150 startups that completed the bootcamp, 3 of them are valued at over USD 1 billion, making them so-called Unicorns. 

Moreso, Swissnex has connected Swiss artists, researchers, and corporate employees with people who went on to play a crucial role in the further development of their projects. In honor of its anniversary, and to make their successes more tangible, Swissnex in San Francisco is sharing 20 of those stories on its social media channels until the end of the year.

Co-creating the Future with Metropolis: Sustainable Futures Under Construction

Emilia Pasquier, CEO of Swissnex in San Francisco, has big plans for the future: “Bringing Swiss innovators to the Bay Area is nothing short of magic. They arrive thinking small, and are often too perfectionistic – in San Francisco, everything changes. It’s a great feeling to know we’ve connected artists, entrepreneurs, and researchers with people, who went on to play a crucial role in their global success. Our journey so far has been incredible, but the best is yet to come.”

To commemorate this milestone in the spirit of innovation and growth, Swissnex in San Francisco introduces its new program Metropolis: Sustainable Futures Under Construction. The program explores the future of cities, focusing on food, energy, and the physical and digital environment. By highlighting radically new solutions from Switzerland at the forefront of urban development, this program inspires Swiss innovators to question existing paradigms and envision bold and transformative solutions that can shape sustainable and thriving cities of tomorrow.

Out of over 60 applications, 14 projects from Switzerland have been carefully selected to participate in the program. After having shared their knowledge during our Swiss events in Lausanne (Reimagining the Future: Building Within Our Planet’s Limits), Basel (Feeding the Future: Innovating Urban Food Systems) and Zurich (Cities in the Age of AI: Digital Twins or Digital Fiends?), they will travel to San Francisco to further develop their projects.

Swissnex’s 20th anniversary in San Francisco coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Zurich-San Francisco Sister City Partnership, which was commemorated with an event on Circular Cities on October 5 in San Francisco with special guest Corine Mauch, Mayor of the City of Zurich.  

The anniversary program is a collaboration with the Institute of Technology in Architecture (ITA – Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich), the University of Basel Innovation Office, Future Sustainable Territories, Infrastructure and Cities (FUSTIC – an initiative of EPFL and its faculty ENAC: School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering), EPFL, Enterprise for Society Center (E4S), and kühne wicki Future Stuff. It is sponsored by the City of Zurich, the ETH Board (the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology), Greater Zurich Area, Innovaud, La Mobilière, and SwissLife. 

About Swissnex in San Francisco

Swissnex in San Francisco is Switzerland’s innovation outpost in the Bay Area with a vision to connect tomorrow by empowering the next generation of innovators to collaborate and create futures in which the planet and society thrive. They present a variety of programs in collaboration with Swiss partners for the next-gen innovators from Switzerland, including entrepreneurs, students and researchers, artists and designers, policy-makers, and corporate innovators. Swissnex is an initiative of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and is part of the Confederation’s network abroad managed by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. 


Media Contact

Sophie Bohnen
Head of Communications, Swissnex in San Francisco

[email protected]

Nextcast – A Swissnex Podcast

Out now: The Anniversary Season

In our anniversary season we share the stories of selected Swiss innovators, that play an active role in co-creating the future. Listen as they share why they do and what they do, what challenges they've faced and what's next on their audacious journey to change the world.