“We want to provide start-ups with reliable information about intellectual property”

Founded.ch and the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) have been content partners since the start of the year. Founded is an online magazine that reports on the Swiss start-up ecosystem. We spoke to Alyssia Kugler, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Founded.ch, about her work and the importance of IP for start-ups.

Alyssia Kugler on stage at Startup Nights in Winterthur. (Photo: Chantal Teixeira)

As part of the collaboration, the IPI regularly publishes content relating to intellectual property (IP) on Founded.ch. Why? Because it’s essential for start-ups to look into protecting their IP at an early stage. The success of a start-up greatly depends on how well its innovations are protected from imitation and free riders. What’s more, a strong IP portfolio combined with a stringent IP strategy attracts potential investors.


Alyssia Kugler is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Founded.ch. Originally from Appenzell, the 26-year-old moved to Winterthur, the epicentre of the Swiss start-up scene, a few years ago, where she promotes the local innovation ecosystem. The IPI spoke with Alyssia when the partnership was launched.


IPI: Alyssia, you’re the managing director of Entrepreneur Club Winterthur and Startup Nights, as well as editor-in-chief of Founded.ch. Where does your passion for innovation come from?

Alyssia Kugler: I’ve always had a very strong entrepreneurial spirit. It first came to the fore when I started working for the student magazine ‘Brainstorm’ at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), where I studied communications and journalism. I naturally wanted to develop on what was already there rather than keeping things the way they were. So, I launched an online version of the student magazine, because it had only ever been available in print.


I also established advertising partnerships and restructured the organisation so that someone specialising in communications took care of the organisation and partnerships and someone specialising in journalism was in charge of the editing. This allowed each individual to use their strengths, which in turn meant, for example, that we could increase the journalists’ salaries and increase the quality of the journalism.


What led you to the Winterthur start-up ecosystem after that?

My interest in entrepreneurship grew from listening to American business podcasts. I came across the Entrepreneur Club Winterthur the good old-fashioned way – I saw a poster at the ZHAW. The Entrepreneur Club’s aims and activities aligned with my own values and ideas, and I really wanted to be a part of it. One speculative application later, I was sitting in Winterthur talking to Raphael Tobler, Co-Founder and President of the Entrepreneur Club Winterthur, about start-ups and innovation. I very quickly took on the task of creating a magazine about start-ups for the Entrepreneur Club called Founded.ch.


Nowadays, we have even bigger projects to keep us busy, namely growing Startup Nights and our ‘Home of Innovation’ project, which offers suitable and affordable office spaces to start-ups, and dealing with our biggest question – how can we make Winterthur the start-up capital of Switzerland in the medium term?


What inspired you to partner with the IPI?

All of our activities are designed to help start-ups succeed. And IP protection is a part of that too, of course. Because it’s a complex topic, we’re happy to have found a competent partner in the IPI to provide Founded readers with reliable information about IP. We’ve already been working with the IPI on Startup Nights for some time. So I’m all the more pleased that we get to build on the collaboration by creating joint content for start-ups on Founded.


What do you think will be the biggest challenges Switzerland will face as a country of innovation in the next few years?

We in Switzerland definitely can’t afford to sit on our laurels at the top of the various international rankings, like the Global Innovation Index. Unfortunately, we still have a very cautious mindset in this country and the willingness to take risks could be greater – on the part of both investors and companies. In future, organisations like ours in particular need to mediate more between stakeholders and establish contacts. Because start-ups’ first potential customers need to be open to and have faith in their ideas in order for them to be able to grow. Let’s take the example of pension funds – they could be investing five per cent in start-ups, but in reality they only invest around one per cent. So there’s still plenty of scope for financial support to help innovative projects achieve a breakthrough. That’s what we’re working towards every day.



The online magazine Founded.ch is published by the Entrepreneur Club Winterthur (ECW). Once a year, 62,000 print copies are distributed with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Der Landbote, a Winterthur-based newspaper. The ECW supports founders in all stages of building their start-ups. Its active members work on a voluntary basis for the innovation ecosystem in Winterthur and beyond. The ECW also hosts Startup Nights, Switzerland’s largest start-up event, which takes place in Winterthur every late autumn.

Back to all blog articles

Share article