Successful startups have
Boards of Directors

Directors Education Program
for Business Angels

Day 1

14 March 2017

Back to the Basics

  • What’s so special about start-ups?
  • Roles and duties
    • Company bodies (General Assembly, BOD, Auditors)
    • Swiss legal framework
    • Responsibilities of a BOD member
    • Being a BOD member in a start-up
  • Principles of good governance
    • Best practices for start-ups
    • Role of the BOD at key stages in the life of a start-up (future rounds, merger, exit, key person resignation)
  • Start-up environment
    • Classical risks and pitfalls for BOD members in start-up
    • What questions to ask before joining a BOD?
    • Improving relations between shareholders, BOD and management
    • Building a successful BOD
    • BOD remuneration, what model to apply in start-ups?
  • Compliance
    • BOD members liabilities
    • Conflict of interests
  • Insurances

Day 2

28 March 2017

Finance for BOD Members

  • Understanding the Business Model
    • How solid is it?
    • What are the key success factors?
    • Case studies of successful  and failed business models in start-ups
  • Financial checklist
    • Key reminders
    • How to monitor the finances of a start-up ?
    • Financial tools
    • Case studies of start-ups financials in good and bad shape
  • Overindebtedness (art. 725 CO)
    • Duty of the BOD
    • Risks for the BOD
    • Case studies
  • Role & Responsibilities of BOD members in financial management
  • Relation with auditors
  • Start-up financing and BOD involvement

Day 3

4 April 2017

Crisis Management

  • Crisis Management in a start-up
    • What are the common causes of start-up crises?
    • How to identify the early signs of a crisis?
    • Crisis response recommandations
    • What actions to take as a BOD member?
    • Communication in the crisis
    • Groups role play
  • Insolvency
    • Type of enforcement proceedings
    • Role and responsibility of the BOD
    • When to call the judge?
    • What actions to take ?
    • How to present the case to the judge ?
    • BOD liability in a bankruptcy procedure
    • Groups role play

Day 4

25 April 2017

BOD members meet start-ups

Real life exercise

  • 4 start-ups, which have already incorporated, are invited to present to participants, acting as potential BOD members
  • At the end of the presentation, each start-up describes its ideal board (skills & personality)
  • 4 groups are created among the participants with the closest match with each of the start-up  requirements
  • Each group, with the support of a trainer, conducts its due diligence as future BOD member, interacting with the start-up management team
  • Each group gives the results of its due diligence to the start-up with a list of recommendations
  • Start-ups give their feedbacks to the due diligence team (how they feel about this experience, lessons learned, communication process, etc..)


Paul Watkins

CEO at KÔJNT – Masters Accredited Executive Coach
I got a lot from the SBMA sessions. Acting on a Swiss board has some significant differences to other countries. The SBMA sessions made those differences clear and gave a realistic and pragmatic experience of where a Swiss board member’s attention needs to be.

Penny Schiffer

Head of Startup Initiatives

I was really impressed by the quality and experience of the speakers but also by the great knowledge and niveau of discussion with the participants.

Philippe D. Monnier

Board Member at several international start-ups such as WayRay SA

The Startup Board Members Academy is particularly useful because course leaders are successful practitioners, the content is down-to-earth and participants provide excellent networking opportunities. Highly recommended!

Course leader

Virginie Verdon
Virginie Verdon
Virginie has a strong background in energy, clean-tech, telecommunication and IT sectors. Often called in during transition periods, she helps companies in their fast growing and restructuring phases. She brings her hands-on expertise in C-level management, finance, marketing & communication, and international business development. Fascinated by organizations in transition, she took part in two IPOs, led a full privatization process and restructured various SMEs as well as MNCs departments in multicultural environments. She is chairman of the board of a government-owned company and serves on the board of directors of several SMEs and start-up companies.


Jean-Marc Wismer
Jean-Marc Wismer
Jean-Marc Wismer is a serial entrepreneur in the fields of IT and medical devices and a former executive with a large multinational organization. He has a history of building companies from early stage to international growth, with strong experience in carving out strategies for complex businesses, in product development, in private equity financing, in regulatory affairs, in operations and growth management, and in marketing and sales. He holds a MSc in Electrical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and an MBA from the IMD. Jean-Marc is also a business consultant, teaches and lectures entrepreneurship with various organizations.
Guillaume Dubray
Guillaume Dubray
Guillaume is managing partner of Polytech Ventures. He brings with him over ten years of experience in investment management, fund management and corporate finance. In parallel, Guillaume is a finance lecturer at several leading academic institutions and business schools.

Prior to joining Polytech Ventures, Guillaume was Chief Investment Officer and Co-founder of Active Niche Funds SA, an investment firm specialised in the CleanTech sector. Previously, he was responsible for various Venture Capital activities for the LCF Rothschild Group in Geneva. Guillaume started his career with Ernst & Young in Geneva and in New York, where he worked as an M&A consultant on behalf of large US-based Private Equity funds.

He graduated from the Haute Ecole de Gestion (HEIG-VD) in 2002 and subsequently obtained Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA) as well as an MBA from the Manchester Business School.

Michel Jaccard
Michel Jaccard
Michel Jaccard is the founder of id est avocats, and a widely respected tech | media, IP and corporate law expert. He teaches and publishes extensively and is regularly invited to speak and lecture at international forums in his fields of practice. He also maintains a blog on Technologies, Media and Innovation, chairs the Jury of the Prix Strategis for Innovation, and is a member of the national jury for the Swiss ICT Awards.
Jean de Wolff
Jean de Wolff
Jean spent over 20 years in technology oriented companies. His domains of expertise range from international sales to management of large telecom projects. While an executive in large multinational companies, he experienced many of the domestic and international development stages of a corporation. Jean is also an entrepreneur and started several ventures which have been successfully sold.
Jean is currently a partner and board member of several small and medium-sized companies and start-ups. He also works as a consultant, advising entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Training will take place from 2 to 6 PM
on March 14 & 28, April 4 & 25, 2017
at the EPFL Innovation Park

Thanks to sponsorship from CTI Entrepreneurship,
total fee for the 4 afternoons is CHF 800.-