Séverine Gisin, Co-Founder & CCO
at IDUN Technologies tells us her story
Entrepreneurship is a feeling; you know you want to make things your own way. Séverine, Co-founder of IDUN Technologies tells us her story, the challenges and rewards of building a company. Entrepreneurship is also about the exchange. Sharing knowledge, ideas, perspectives is definitely part of the successful launch of your business.
What’s your background and how have you met with Simon, co-founder of IDUN Technologies?
«In between my bachelor and master’s degree, I met Simon, with whom we shared this preventive vision of health and will to act.»
Valais is my native region where I grew up until going to university. I started architecture at EPFL in Lausanne, but I felt more appealed by hard sciences than my orientation. I was super interested in the combination of neuroscience and computing science, that’s why I moved in Zürich to dive into health sciences & technologies at ETH. In between my bachelor and master’s degree, I met Simon, with whom we shared this preventive vision of health and will to act. Together, we took part to an ETH start-up program and that’s how IDUN Technologies born.
When did you know your desire to become entrepreneur?
«For us, IDUN Technologies came at the right time. We were at university, without the fear to quit a good job position nor family responsibilities, the only thought was, let’s do it!»
Being an entrepreneur is a feeling, as long as I can remember I always tried to do things by myself, to create. The difficult part is to jump into the entrepreneur world, but the reward is big. You need to structure your concept to turn it into a viable business model, what is really challenging. For us, IDUN Technologies came at the right time. We were at university, without the fear to quit a good job position nor family responsibilities, the only thought was, let’s do it! Discovering the start-up world was the next step, you face a new dimension where you need to convince stakeholders about your idea. You have to go through predefined stages in order to develop your business.
What type of leader are you?
«I’m the mediator between experts, first doing the role, then hiring talents to perform it better than me.»
For me, a leader should be the person who sets the vision and provides the required resources to achieve it. At IDUN Technologies I want to get an idea of every tasks to really understand how we could develop it; thus, I would say that I’m a visionary leader. I’m the mediator between experts, first doing the role, then hiring talents to perform it better than me. That’s what happened with the technology, as former CTO I knew what skills are required to achieve our goal. Now, as CCO, I drive our commercialization efforts to start building a skilled sales team. Once it will be entrusted to experts, I would love to focus on Human Resources, the core of our company.
How the Internet of Humans concept popped up?
«The movie “Her” with Scarlett Johansson was a deep source of inspiration for us.»
Companies’ innovations, IP, patents, are perceived as the genie going out of the bottle, but there are lots of incremental steps. Internet of Humans didn’t pop up as our first idea, it evolved along the path to become our common goal. The movie “Her” with Scarlett Johansson was a deep source of inspiration for us. We wanted to move from the Internet of Things to the Internet of Humans to help people to better understand themselves.
What is the most challenging in leading a company?
«It’s really important to provide our talents the room to have an impact within IDUN Technologies.»
Communicating your vision internal and external in a clear way is the tricky point. That’s why loyalty towards your co-founder is essential to stay aligned and be complementary. Once you put down your company culture, it allows you to transfer your management vision to the whole team. Managing people is a learning curve, you have to dissociate personal attachment from work competencies for the benefit of all. I surround myself with people who know themselves enough to set their own guidance. It’s really important to provide our talents the room to have an impact within IDUN Technologies.
My advice would be to put your ego aside in order to avoid identifying through your company. You’re bringing to life an idea, but you’re not the idea. You’re working for your business and try your best to nurture it, but you’re not intrinsic to it, keep in mind that everybody is replaceable. This is a life philosophy that helps to find a balance, be proud to let it go. You were able to grow up a company which is now taking its independence, you achieved a goal.
Is it harder to be recognized as a woman entrepreneur within the tech-world?
«I’m optimistic that soon the knowledge, ideas and vision will be the main dimensions took into consideration to evaluate project legitimacy.»
I’m lucky, I never experienced any type of sexism as a female tech entrepreneur. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all my fellows whereas diversity is key to evolve the right way. That’s why I’m optimistic that soon the knowledge, ideas and vision will be the main dimensions took into consideration to evaluate project legitimacy.
What means entrepreneurship for you?
«I perceive entrepreneurship as a chance to pursue my idea without anybody to say if
I’m doing it the right or wrong way.»
That’s really interesting, I’m giving a course about entrepreneurship to young people, and I asked them what’s the first thing popping up in their mind when thinking about building their own company. Most of the answers were: risks, money or fear of the unknown.
For me, what comes up is freedom. I perceive entrepreneurship as a chance to pursue my idea without anybody to say if I’m doing it the right or wrong way. I never questioned our legitimacy, you need to be convinced about your concept, but doubts may appear on resources. As entrepreneur, you’re always 3 years ahead considering all that still needs to be done. Of course, each step is a success, but future achievements drive your hunger. Entrepreneurship is also about the exchange. Sharing knowledge, ideas, perspectives, is definitely important and part of the successful launch of your business.
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Where to find us
We are located in the outskirts of Zurich, near the airport. We always welcome drop-in visits!