Fintech Global Tour Geneva Lausanne corridor nerds & rich people communicating

For such a small country, Switzerland has two poles of innovation – Zurich and Geneva.

Both have great universities that supply the Tech in Fintech. On the Fin side, Zurich is more Institutional and Geneva is more Private Wealth Management, but both centers have a mix.

(I live in between the two in the bucolic capital of Switzerland, Bern, which nobody would describe as dynamic).

Zurich and Geneva both have lots of nerds (drawn by great universities) and rich people. So they have the two active ingredients of an innovation center. The question is whether the nerds and rich people are communicating and finding common ground. That is what happens in Silicon Valley and that is why Silicon Valley is the great exemplar of wealth creation through innovation.

In London nerds and rich people connect around Fintech because many of the rich people made their money in Fin and know that Tech is critical to Fin, so a Fintech venture is not too big a stretch. That is now also starting to happen in Switzerland.

Last week I was in Lausanne. This week I was in Geneva. You would tend to put Lausanne in the nerds category and Geneva in the rich category. The meetings were the other way round. The meeting in Lausanne was the Tech Growth Forum and it was more investor centric and the MeetUp in Geneva was more tech and entrepreneur centric.

Often an innovation center is created through corridors (which can be linked by highways or trains). London to Reading, Route 128 in Boston and Route 101 are examples. The nerds need cheaper locations but cannot be too far away from the rich people. The Geneva Lausanne corridor seems to fit this profile.

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