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Celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives throughout Ecolint's alumni community.

 

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45. David Franzén (LGB '12)

Posted By Alumni Office, jeudi 1 juin 2017
Updated: jeudi 1 juin 2017

Catrina Hays - Independent Learning ToolsNocto International B.V.

> Founded 2017
> www.noctoapp.comwww.noctoapp.club 

 

1. What is your company’s product/service?
The Nocto app offers a solution for the nightlife and events industry, with a free mobile app that lets you see real-time pictures and videos of events around you, so that you can be at the right place at the right time (based on the music type, the atmosphere and the attendance that best suits you).
Once you are within 100 metres of a venue, you can check-in, and upload your pictures and videos (we call these "insights.")  Insights can be “hooted” (liked) by other users, which earns you “Nocs,” our in-app currency. You can then use these "Nocs" to purchase drinks, entrances, queue skips and more at certain venues. To summarise, our app helps you be at the right place at the right time, and allows you to be rewarded with free deals for contributing your own insights.

Nocto also offers a platform for venues themselves, that allows them to better understand their audience, and to know how to please them. Venues can subscribe to www.noctoapp.club on a monthly or yearly basis in order to have access to the data that the app collects from within the venue. This enables them to promote their events more efficiently, attract a larger audience and reward their loyal customers. 

With over 4’000 venues spread throughout Europe already in the app, and solutions for both sides of the nightlife industry (individuals and venues), we are well on our way to becoming a dominant force in what is still a surprisingly traditional industry that is waiting for a revolution.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
The idea started in September 2015, but the company was officially founded in January 2017 in Rotterdam, where we now have our head office.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Our core team consists of 18 members.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
The hardest thing was to combine Nocto with my studies in terms of time. In addition to that, having had little previous entrepreneurial experience, we were making some common beginner mistakes. But these mistakes have been lessons and now that they are sorted out, I am very glad they were made.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
In three years, we expect to have a dominant position in the European nightlife industry, and to have expanded significantly to Asia, where we are already setting up the infrastructre. 
The beauty of our model is that we only need a City Ambassador to start establishing Nocto in a city, which allows for our ambitions to be set quite highly.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
Ecolint surrounded me with people from all over the world, and allowed me to understand the existence of different cultures and mindsets. As a startup that deals with all of Europe, and in a society that is becoming increasingly interconnected, it has helped me thrive within a multi-faceted team and a business that is globally ambitious.


 

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Tags:  apps  digital  europe  nightlife 

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44. Catrina Hays (La Chât '91)

Posted By Alumni Office, vendredi 9 décembre 2016

Catrina Hays - Independent Learning ToolsIndependent Learning Tools

> Founded 2002
> www.independentlearningtools.com

 

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Teaching students who are dyslexic to read. Providing training to teachers on how to teach dyslexic students and participating as part of a diagnostic team with psychologists to diagnose dyslexia.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Chicago, IL. Our office is now located in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
We have one full-time and three part-time employees.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
I have no business background at all and so had to educate myself on how to set-up and run a business.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
I hope to have several more employees as we often have more students who need remediation than we have available tutors.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
I think it taught me that I can survive and even thrive outside my comfort zone. I especially learned this through La Chât’s drama guru, Mr. Pasternak. He consistently supported me in taking on roles and responsibilities that were outside my ‘norm’ and/or expectations.

 


 

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Tags:  Chicago  dyslexia  education  learning  USA 

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43. Willem Jan Hofmans (Former Board Member)

Posted By Alumni Office, lundi 31 octobre 2016

Willem Jan HofmansYield

> Founded 2015
> www.yield-association.org

 

1. What is your company’s product/service?
YIELD is the Youth Institute for Excellence in Leadership Development, focusing on young people in the age range of 18 to 24 years. It was founded as a not-for-profit organization, aspiring to make the world a better place by accelerating the leadership development of young people. It complements the offering at schools, universities and other means by which young people learn about leadership.

Our vision is to contribute to a significant increase in the number of leaders who are driven by purpose, meaning and vision. In 2017 YIELD will run a month-long youth leadership development programme in both Geneva, Switzerland and Cape Town, South Africa.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
YIELD was founded in Chavannes-de-Bogis, Switzerland.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
We are three founders and currently work with a network of eight associates.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
The nature of our offering implies a diverse target market, i.e. potential participants (young leaders aged 18-24), their parents, educators and sponsors. Reaching them has proven to be much harder than originally envisaged.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
In three years we aspire to have established ourselves solidly in Switzerland and South Africa as well as having expanded into other countries. In addition it is our aspiration to influence how leadership is taught to young people.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Yes.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint experience help you in founding a company?
As the father of three Ecolint Alumni as well as former Chairman, Treasurer and Member of the Board of Ecolint, the schools of the Foundation and their approach have always inspired me to make a further contribution to the education of young people.

 


 

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Tags:  coaching  education  leadership  South Africa  Switzerland  youth 

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42. Carolynn Crabtree (LGB '02)

Posted By Alumni Office, lundi 3 octobre 2016

Carolynn CrabtreeCornerstone Reputation

> Founded 2013
> www.cornerstonereputation.com

 

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Our mission is to help students act on the fact that they are the most powerful students ever to have existed – because of what they can do and share on the internet – while being purposeful about their online reputations.

We have just launched a virtual workshop for high school and university students to help them take control of their online reputation in preparation for the college admissions, college athletic recruiting, grad school admissions, and professional interviewing processes. We have surveyed hundreds of employers, over 1,000 college coaches, and over 500 US admissions officers to discover when, how, and why they perform searches of candidates, and what types of online content can leave positive and negative impressions on them. We have incorporated this research into our workshop.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
We were founded in Boston, MA in the United States and have offices in the Somerville area (near Cambridge, MA), but our first major presentation series was at the International School of Paris, so close to Ecolint!

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
We have had upward of 20 employees and currently have 10 in both part time and full time capacities.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
That we were the first company to offer a tool for students that helped them specifically with Online Reputation Management in the context of major life gatekeepers (admissions officers, employers, etc) searching them online. No one had ever done research on when, how, and why admissions officers and college coaches search applicants online, and since we were devoted to being research-based, we had to gather the data from those gatekeepers, analyze it, and present it in a way that is meaningful and actionable for students.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
In three years we hope for the Cornerstone Virtual Workshop to be incorporated as part of the college (and life!) preparation process both in high schools in the United States and internationally.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Sadly not yet but we are always looking for Brand Ambassadors on different campuses and international representatives so please reach out if you're interested!

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
I can say with great confidence that my exposure to so many motivated international students shaped how I have approached building Cornerstone's mission. My peers at Ecolint were doing such amazing things, travelling to incredible places, and fundamentally were such interesting individuals that I have been inspired to find ways for students to ensure that when outsiders are searching them online and trying to form an opinion of them, that students can control that search result and share the truly positive things they have going on in their lives instead of being judged by other random things that exist about them online. 

 


 

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Tags:  Boston  online  reputation  students  USA 

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41. Lucy Axam (Crudgington) (LGB '96)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 9 août 2016

Lucy AxamLADesign

> Founded 2015
> www.lucyaxamdesign.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Interior design.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
It was founded in Founex, Vaud and the headquarters are still at the original address.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
One employee.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
The first step. But I have a little quote I found which I stuck above my kettle. ‘Every journey starts with a single step.’ It’s what keeps me going. Looking too far ahead can be overwhelming. Having a clear image of where you want to go but making sure you don’t forget to feel your feet every step you take are key to a steady, positive evolution.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Making more people love the spaces they spend their time in, be it home, a holiday home or place of work.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No, but I am in touch with many and the community is very supportive and inspiring.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
The energy, positivity and belief that if you put your mind to something you can achieve it. People come to Ecolint from all walks of life, from many different levels of wealth, education and society. When you are a child, none of that matters; what makes the difference is your spirit, the energy that surrounds you, what you put out there and what you make of all your experiences, bad and good.

 

 


 

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Tags:  design  Founex  interior design  Switzerland  Vaud 

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40. Irene Hofmeijer (La Chât '06)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi 20 juillet 2016

Irene HofmeijerLife Out Of Plastic  L.O.O.P.

> Founded 2011
> www.loop.pe

   

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Life Out Of Plastic SAC (L.O.O.P.) is a women-led Peruvian social enterprise that takes care of the oceans by inspiring businesses and consumers to purchase products that promote a conscious lifestyle. It aims to create a self-financed movement that takes action on plastic pollution, promoting marine ecosystem conservation.

L.O.O.P.’s main source of revenue is the sale of sustainable products, primarily B2B. L.O.O.P.’s flagship product line is re-usable bags made from recycled PET fibre produced locally in Peru. Other products include certified organic cotton T-shirts and recycled paper stationary.

L.O.O.P. also provides sustainability consulting services to institutions. Services include the organization of corporate volunteering campaigns, design and implementation of environmental education activities, and eco-efficiency services for offices and events.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
L.O.O.P. was founded in March 2011 in Lima, Peru. Our offices are still based there.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
We have five employees (all women!), and are aiming to hire two more by the end of the year!

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Achieving financial sustainability. I founded L.O.O.P. when I was 22 years old and didn’t really have an idea of what I was doing. I had recently graduated and my only professional experience was in academic research. My motivation was purely socially-orientated, rather then business-orientated. For the first couple of years it was more of a “project” but when we began to have full-time employees on a payroll, the hardest thing was making sure we could meet our monthly expenses. I think still to date the hardest thing is the financial health balancing act.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Our aim is to grow L.O.O.P. to regional brand and expand our market and campaigns beyond Peru into the rest of the Latin American region… and why not the world!

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Not really, but I guess yes with the international schools networks. We have three regular international clients: the Inter-Community School of Zurich, TU Delft in the Netherlands and McGill University in Canada.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
My Ecolint education taught me to be aware of global issues. In addition, it developed a sense of commitment to giving back to the community. Through the years, I think this generated a sub-conscious desire to give back to my home country.

 


 

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Tags:  Peru  plastics  recycling  social enterprise  sustainability 

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39. Diego Fanara (LGB'11)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi 29 juin 2016

Diego FanaraUnibudy

> Founded 2015
> www.unibudy.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Unibudy is a student network that bridges the informational gap between high school and university by connecting applicants with enrolled students. We help applicants select the right course/university, get application tips and anticipate their onboarding (accommodation, budget, etc.). Our platform involves a unique social dimension by letting students chat with their peers and get tailored answers to their most specific questions.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Founded and based in London.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
We currently have a staff of four.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Our biggest challenge was to get the first schools to adopt our technology and open themselves to innovation. University applications having barely evolved in a long time, we had to convince schools – which are sometimes less open to change – that Unibudy actually improves the way students prepare for higher education while making life easier for their advisers!

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Our goal is to become the reference network between high schools and universities. Covering most universities in the EU and the US in three years would therefore be awesome!

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Alumnus Raphaël Scheps (LGB '10) helped the team when launching our beta version. He is also the founder of Converge, a startup providing wireless sensors and data analysis tools for construction companies.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
The large network of international students I built while at Ecolint proved very useful when starting Unibudy. At the very beginning, it helped us get feedback on our idea from students that had gone on to study in various countries and had therefore different mentalities, encountered different problems, etc. This helped us build a product that any student could relate to. While our platform is only active in the UK at the moment, I have no doubt this network will also help us implement Unibudy abroad when the time comes.

 


 

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Tags:  digital  education  guidance  London  network  networking  online  students  technology  UK 

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38. Nicola Lazzari (La Chat ‘04) Julia Paranhos (LGB ‘07)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi 8 juin 2016

Tom WillisTrade School Geneva

> Founded 2014
www.tradeschool.coop/geneva/
> www.facebook.com/Trade-School-Geneva-479262128856068

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Trade School Geneva, an association, is a non-traditional learning space that runs on barter – non-monetary exchange. We emphasize on community building and sharing.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Trade School first came to life in New York in 2009. We, along with our co-creators, brought Trade School to Geneva in 2014. We use a variety of different spaces in and around the city.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Twelve volunteer co-creators, hundreds of community teachers and thousands of students. No one is paid; courses are based around bartering items and services.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Meetings and consensus decision-making: co-creators are involved in the process of decision-making and commit as much time as they can afford to the project. We do not have an operational hierarchy, an office, or wages. We do this because we believe in the power of the community in Geneva and the amazing things the people in our community can share with each other. We are passion-driven.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Doing the same amazing things we are doing now – maybe more classes and more venues depending on community demand – but nothing is broken, so why should we change it?

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Currently just the two of us but ANYONE is welcome to become a co-creator. We are quite certain that many Ecolint alumni have participated in Trade School Geneva (or in other cities around the world) over the years.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
After an Ecolint education we were empowered to create community and improve the world around us. We feel we are doing that with Trade School Geneva, and that this is the just the beginning.

 


 

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Tags:  association  barter  community  education  geneva  learning  training 

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37. Wouter van der Lelij (LGB '93)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 26 avril 2016

Wouter van der Lelijagenda.ch sàrl

> Founded 2011
> agenda.ch

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
We are revolutionizing appointment booking for professionals in Switzerland, by proposing online booking with SMS reminders, and a rating service allowing clients to give feedback.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
We are based in Geneva, four tram stops from LGB. We will always be a local Swiss company!

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
We are currently four full-time plus three people part-time.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
For me, the biggest ingredient for success as an entrepreneur is to experience and transmit to others a deep drive in what you are trying to accomplish, while finding a balance to make sure that you don’t kill yourself trying. I believe that it boils down to understanding the “why” of what you are doing and where you want to go.

So although this is the fifth business I’ve created (including the local website JobUP, that I sold successfully in 2008), agenda.ch has probably been one of the most difficult to take off. When I started agenda.ch, five years ago, the market was not ready, and I was not involved enough in the daily operations.

Today, I’ve found a new drive; I learned a lot about myself and I understand better what it is I like about this project. And that is; creating something new, simple and revolutionary, being the underdog while beating the odds against big players, meeting and convincing local professionals to use our service, and being independent. Right now, it is really starting to pick up, over 350 local professionals use our service every day and I want to triple that amount over the next year.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
We will be a local company that tens of thousands of Swiss people use every day, probably without even knowing it when they book their appointments, with many satisfied customers  ranging from physiotherapists, garages,  bowling alleys to big hospitals  where my employees and myself are happy to come to work every day.

We will be able to answer the question: is there a good dermatologist in Carouge that is available this afternoon?

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
My Ecolint classmate and best friend for life Fabrice Beaux, the successful founder of local IT services company Interhyve sàrl, is part-time CTO.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
It wasn’t the education as such, it was the experience…I loved the seven years I spent at Ecolint, and I think fondly back on it almost every day. At the time, I did not realize the power of the unique international environment which taught me many things.

Although this does not answer the question; I do believe there was (at the time?*) a huge deficiency in Guidance; students in 13th grade were specifically encouraged to undertake a university education, especially in the US and UK, perhaps because this looked good on statistics, while this is clearly not something for everyone. I believe Ecolint Guidance could have done a better job by helping students learn about themselves; what are their deep drives, and what do they want to get out of life? For me, having people being connected to their drives makes them successful and happy in what they do, and to me this is a true measure of a good education.

To get back to the question, come to think of it, my love for providing local services may be a direct consequence of the frustration I have felt about the “explosion” that happens after graduation from Ecolint; most classmates are scattered all over the world. Although that is a fun idea, in practice over the years it becomes difficult to keep up relations with friends that I would have wanted to hold closer. And since I’m not really into social networks…

 

 * Editor's note: Naturally Guidance services at Ecolint have evolved greatly in the 20+ years since Wouter graduated. Across the Foundation students are now offered extensive advice ahead of and during their IB studies, both on their university options and alternative paths. There are career evenings on all three campuses, and the IB Career-related Programme is offered at Campus des Nations.


 

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Tags:  agenda  booking  geneva  online  rating  reviews  Switzerland 

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36. Jassim Benchenaa (LGB '05)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 19 avril 2016

Jassim BenchenaaCrans Montana Ski Rental (Ski at Home)

> Founded 2015
> www.skiathome.ch

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
It's a ski rental store in Crans-Montana. We rent and sell skis and ski touring gear. We do home delivery with pre-booking online.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
The shop started out as Ski at Home last year (2015) and during the year I partnered with Angel's Sports, an existing shop in Crans-Montana.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
We are in total three employees in the company without counting all the friends and family who help out and support us.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
The hardest part of starting a company is coming up with the idea and pitching it out to your friends.  

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Well I hope we'll be in the same four walls as now. That we'll expand our clientèle, keep our place in the ski resort, and manage to draw more clients to our shop. I would like to expand the Ski at Home concept to other resorts.  

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Yes I kind of as two of my sisters who attended LGB have helped me out a lot.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?

I can't really say Ecolint helped out much as I left when I was 10 to go to boarding school in the UK!

 


 

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Tags:  online  rental  retail  skiing  Switzerland 

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35. Richard Nichols (LGB '05)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 29 mars 2016

Richard NicholsVitamin London

> Founded 2011
> www.vitaminlondon.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
We are a digital product design agency. We go beyond merely just website/app/platform design and build and are obsessed with getting real world results from digital actions.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Founded in London with offices in Victoria (Westminster).

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
10

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Creating a sustainable and fun culture to work in while building a solid foundation of clients and pushing for incredible work to be done. Juggling a lot of hats is an exciting and challenging part of building the company. Thankfully I’ve had a brilliant business partner who complements my skills and we work great together

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Producing award-winning work and building key platforms to solve problems.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Not currently but it would be great to work with other Ecolint entrepreneurs.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
Such an international environment helped shape me as a person in dealing with very different circumstances. I remember the sense of community which has helped hugely in fostering my own company's community / culture.

 >> Alumni are most welcome to attend the Vitamin Clinic in London on Thursday 5 May.

 


 

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Tags:  agency  app  design  digital  London  UK  web 

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34. Matt Balogh (LGB '80)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 22 mars 2016

Matt BaloghMcNair Ingenuity Research

> Founded 2001
> www.mcnairingenuity.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
We are a Social Research company, providing quantitative research to government and other not-for-profit organizations. Our two largest clients are the New South Wales government and the Australian Federal Government, mostly on research related to health, but also on social or communications issues such as domestic violence, participation in the electoral system, immigration, etc.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Founded and based in Sydney, Australia.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
We have more than 100 employees.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Fear of going broke and everyone losing their jobs :)

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Growing steadily. I have commenced selling down my own shareholdings to other executive directors working in the firm, as I inch towards retirement.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
As a research firm, McNair very much reflects the values and cultural exposure that I encountered during my schooling at Ecolint. We specialize in surveying non-mainstream segments of the community, including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Indigenous Australians, older Australians, and people with disabilities. We are particularly known for our pioneering quantitative research among Indigenous Australians, including in remote areas.

 


 

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Tags:  Australia  quantitative  research  social  Sydney 

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33. Marc Hazan (LGB '09)

Posted By Alumni Office, vendredi 19 février 2016

Marc HazanKeys'n'Fly

> Founded 2015
> www.keysnfly.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
It's an Airbnb management solution. Our goal is to help property owners rent their apartment through platforms such as Airbnb by managing everything from the booking request to guest check-in/out and offering guests services. Today, people see it as a new investment vehicle versus “traditional rentals”.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
The company was created in May 2015 and our offices are at 2, Cours de Rive, in the heart of Geneva.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
There are just two of us for now.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
The hardest was getting started, being confident in our product. The second hardest thing is continuously finding new clients.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
We hope to be the number one rental solution in Europe by 2019.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Unfortunately not at the moment but hopefully soon!

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
My Ecolint education enabled me to have lots of contact with people from all around the globe and from different culture.

  

Photo: Darrin Vanselow


 

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Tags:  airbnb  geneva  property  rental  services  switzerland  traval 

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32. Paige Huston (LGB '91)

Posted By Alumni Office, lundi 8 février 2016

Paige HustonPJ's Parts LLC

> Founded 2006
> www.PJsParts.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Sales of high quality motorcycle accessories, such as exhausts, windscreens, levers, etc.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Founded in Kentucky and now in Maryville, Tennessee.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Three at peak, now just myself.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
I had no experience or education in accounting, so I found the behind-the-scenes business accounting quite challenging at first.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
I'm really not certain. I feel myself being called back to Europe, and this business is firmly rooted in the U.S.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
Most of my products are imported from Italy. While I don't speak Italian well, my bilingual education in the French program at Ecolint gave me the ability to better communicate with my suppliers and foreign customers, no matter what language they speak. It also gave me a sensitivity to cultural differences, and that has been valuable in dealing with international companies.

 

 


 

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Tags:  automotive  online  retail  sales  Tennessee  USA 

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31. Andy Ryan (La Chât '96)

Posted By Alumni Office, vendredi 4 décembre 2015

Andy Ryan3BaysOver

> Founded 2014
> www.3baysover.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
3BaysOver is building a market network for the global tourism and hospitality industry. A market network is a digital platform which is something of a hybrid between a network (think: helping people to connect and communicate) and a marketplace (think: helping buyers and sellers to come together and do business). It’s for tourism professionals and companies only (not for travellers), and our aim is to enable the industry to emerge from the age of the brochure and the trade fair and into the digital era of online connectivity and commerce.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Founded in Geneva. We moved the official seat to Lausanne in 2014. We have offices in Israel and India, and the rest of the team works remotely between Switzerland, Spain, Argentina, and Chile.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
16. We are currently growing and will hopefully peak some years down the line.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Where to begin?! Starting a business from scratch has been a tremendous challenge, far more so than I ever expected. But it’s also been more worthwhile then I ever imagined. Raising venture capital was really hard, as was finding the right people to build the business with.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
I hope that a significant proportion of the world’s tourism professionals – whether a tour operator in Switzerland, a hotel owner in Costa Rica, a destination marketer in Sri Lanka, or an event manager in Tanzania – will be using 3BaysOver to manage their industry relationships and generate new business opportunities. I want our customers to love using our product, and to consider us a key partner in their success.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
I’m delighted to answer in the affirmative. Pablo Retamal (La Chât '97) heads up our global Sales & Business Development efforts. He works out of Santiago, Chile. We first met on La Chât’s football pitch some time in the early 90s.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
Other than contributing a key team member, my 15 years in the International School of Geneva (two in Pregny-Rigot and 13 in La Chât) showed me that (a) the ability to feel comfortable working with and for a globally diverse group of people is a tremendous competitive advantage (hence why 3BaysOver has a global team and target audience from Day 1), and (b) that the privilege that comes with an international school education is not one to be taken lightly, and that at least trying to convert this privilege into some positive impact on the world should be required of all of us (i.e. very high expectations of myself, and of my peers). It also gave me an invaluable global network of friends to tap into for advice, support, and inspiration.

 


 

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Tags:  Argentina  Chile  digital  geneva  hospitality  lausanne  marketplace  network  Spain  Switzerland  tourism  travel 

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30. Jeff Springer (LGB '84)

Posted By Alumni Office, vendredi 20 novembre 2015

Jeff SpringerCustom Model Railroads

> Founded 1991
> www.cmrtrain.com

 

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Design and construction of model railroads, custom-built structures and model building kits.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Most was eight, currently four.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Money, it's always about money. It takes a lot of hours and years of work to build up a client base and develop business relationships.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Pretty much where it is now, same size and volume of work. We are moving to a new building which we just bought.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No, but there are a few in Baltimore and the DC area that I see from time to time.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
Experience in dealing with people and developing self-confidence to walk into a room, talk to people and develop business relationships.

 


 

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Tags:  Baltimore  design  kits  models  railroads  USA 

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29. Sophie Pachella (Anson) (LGB '92)

Posted By Alumni Office, vendredi 6 novembre 2015

Sophie PachellaEatStrong

> Founded 2000
> www.eatstrong.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
We offer sustainable, realistic health management and fat loss solutions. Our clients are moms, athletes (male and female), diabetics, people with high blood pressure, cholesterol, people who suffer from depression, eating disorders or simply have 10-100+ lbs to lose!

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
The company was founded in New York City. Our office is here in New York but our clients are everywhere: mostly in the US but a few abroad as well.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Number of employees at peak – three! This is a very small company. And now: still three. We are a lean operation.

I have debated with the idea as to whether or not it is scalable and whether or not that interests me: five years ago I launched a yogurt brand, Sophie. We grew to over 400 stores including Whole Foods, but I felt as though we lost the “artisanal” touch. It’s very difficult to compete with industry giants and their limitless marketing budgets. At EatStrong, I’m able to maintain the one-on-one feel, my clients all feel that they are my ONLY client – and I dream of keeping it this way!

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
The first time I tried, I was 27 and I failed, so I went back to a corporate job for a year while I made a proper plan. The hardest part is that when you are entrepreneurial in spirit, Excel spreadsheets and forecasting is typically your least favorite activity – but it is so necessary. I always believed that by having this entrepreneurial “bug” I was automatically a business-savvy woman, but that is not so at all. I am all about the clients, not the bottom line. And that is not a smart business model!

You have to have a proper business plan and not (I learned the heard way) simply fly by the seat of your pants. Competition in this industry (private practice) is never an issue if you love what you do (and that's not true in the dairy industry). Your clients will be loyal if you are respectful of them, and get results. I believe the hardest part though was being brave enough to let go of my secure, well-paying job and believing that I could create a following, just by being myself. I am not selling a product, I’m selling guidance. So results are my bar. My only marketing plan is word of mouth.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
As much as the following will lack the “wow factor”, very honestly: I see it as being exactly as it is now. If I grow too much, my clients feel it. They feel that they are one of many – and interestingly, it shows in their progress. My clients sign up for me because they know in me they have an ally, someone who cares, perhaps 5% more than they care themselves, whether or not their goal is reached. That’s important.

Accountability is everything. Any of my clients can go out and buy a book on nutrition for $17.99. But they invest in themselves by coming to me. It’s a commitment, both financial, and well as their time. I can’t rob them of this by getting greedy and growing too much. I love my company as it is today: it allows me the flexibility of being there as a mom for my 9 year old daughter – picking her up from school and such. I’m a single mom (I have an amazing, helpful and smart boyfriend!) but none the less, maintaining balance is essential to me.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
My best friend from kindergarten, Zoa Tomic (LGB '92), is an invaluable sounding board, mentor, ally and support system. We Skype often. Her son is my godson. Without a great friend who provides solid ground, most entrepreneurs would give up from fright. Zoa is far more pragmatic than I, so she balances me well.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
I would genuinely say many! Ecolint taught us to be independent and to eschew the trends. We were encouraged to dress, think and even behave differently. When I was at Ecolint there were no cliques – I’m not sure if that remains true. But everyone was great in their own way.

Obviously the multicultural environment teaches ease with all sorts of cultures and clients (my client base is predominantly orthodox Jewish, although I am spiritual but not religious). But my last years at Ecolint I was living alone, which is also unusual for a teen. Ecolint somehow made us all feel responsible and proud to do well. I never skipped class even though I easily could have!

 

 


 

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Tags:  health  healthcare  New York  weight loss 

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28. Olivier Perez Kennedy (LGB '98)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 27 octobre 2015

Olivier Perez KennedyEnigma SA

> Founded 2008
> enigmaprod.ch

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
There are no ordinary projects, only extraordinary situations. This is why we develop strategies that are tailor-made. We create unique strategies and brands for unique companies.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
It was founded in Geneva and we have an office in Bern too.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
18.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
The best thing is you always have to continue to learn and improve your company if you want to succeed.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Our objectives remain secret.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
I had the chance, at Ecolint, to meet people from around the world and learned to love diversity. It’s something that makes me better at what I’m doing every day. Besides that, as I did  eight years at Ecolint, I learned a lot from my teachers too.

 


 

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Tags:  branding  design  digital strategy  Geneva 

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27. Steven Zimmer (LGB '72)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 13 octobre 2015

Steven ZimmerMitoDys Therapeutics Limited

> Founded 2013
> www.mitodys.com

   

1. What is your company’s product/service?
We are a Biotech drug discovery company. We aim to discover and develop innovative therapeutic agents targeted to both the motor and non-motor symptoms prevalent in patients with select rare neurodegenerative conditions. 

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
We have offices around Oxford, UK.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Five at the peak; only two now!

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Getting it right, minimising mistakes and raising money.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Hopefully wildely successful with a drug in clinical trials!!

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
Confidence, curiosity, lateral thinking and flexibility.


 

 


 

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Tags:  biotechnology  oxford  uk 

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26. Sita Schutt (LGB '88)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi 19 août 2015

Sita SchuttProspero World

> Founded 2007
> www.prosperoworld.org  |  www.thecornucopiaclub.org

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
The research, advice on, and promotion of charities, social enterprises and international NGOs that are offering solutions to developmental challenges.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Founded in London. We have office space at the moment in Regent Street, made available to us free-of-chrage by one of our trustees.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Eight. We are small and outsource when we need to work on bigger projects.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Getting through the moments of uncertainty!

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
We are working on creating a prize fund structure for outstanding social entrepreneurs.To grow this and make it available more globally would be fantastic. 

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
Actually, we recently started employing someone who by chance did go to Ecolint briefly a while back. So, yes!

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
The best thing about my Ecolint education was how it fed and grew my curiosity. The IB curriculum and the quality of the teachers was a huge part of this (fond memories of Mr McArdle), and the sense of growing up in a global community

 


 

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Tags:  charities  global  London  ngos  promotion  research  social enterprise  uk 

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25. Warner Lewis III (LGB '75)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 28 juillet 2015

Warner Lewis IIILife Planning Group, LLC

> Founded 1994
> www.lifeplangroup.net

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Legal Document Preparation Services, including 1) Estate Planning (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance medical directives); 2) Business Planning (corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships); and 3) Asset Protection Planning (irrevocable trusts and multiply-owned holding companies).

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Founded and headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona; 7,000(+) clients reside in 34 states and multiple foreign jurisdictions (Europe, Canada and Mexico). 

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
21 employees at the peak; we are currently accomplishing more with fewer employees due to advances in technology and productivity.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Finding, developing and retaining top talent.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
We anticipate strong growth from deepening and expanding our strategic alliances with local, regional and national referral partners, including banks, accounting and brokerage firms, real estate sales, title and mortgage lenders.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No, unfortunately, none at this time.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
I learned self-confidence (fearlessness) self-reliance (can-do attitude) and persistence (keep moving forward) at an early age, which enabled me to attract good people to my cause and turn my vision into reality.

 


 

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Tags:  Arizona  business  estate  legal  planning  USA 

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24. Claudia Gilburd (Lewis) (LGB '72)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 21 juillet 2015

Tom WillisTeen Law School, Inc.

> Founded 2009
> www.teenlawschool.com

  

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Teen Law School develops and delivers fun, highly interactive workshops that teach teens about the laws that govern “The Six D’s”© – Drinking, Driving, Drugs, Dating, Digital Drama and “Dumb Stuff”. Our LawU101© division teaches similar content to 18+ young adults. At present, we offer school-based programmes and diversion programmes for court-referred juveniles and young adults.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
The company was founded in Scottsdale, Arizona. We have virtual offices around the state and plan to expand nationally.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
At peak, we had 10 employees including instructors, attorneys and support staff. Today we have 7 - as we expand and develop new delivery channels, our staffing profile will change.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Working with court-involved juveniles involves significant regulatory, compliance and risk management issues. We’ll expand that side of the business, administrative burdens and all, but our ultimate goal is to reach kids before they have contact with law-enforcement. That’s a win-win all around.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
We’ll be reaching young people online, in mobile apps, all over the country, perhaps around the world.  Wherever there are teenagers, there’s a need for Teen Law School.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No, but I credit my cherished Ecolint friend, Lori Lieberman, with convincing me to turn this idea into something tangible with value for others. She inspired me to act upon my vision and as a result, my life changed dramatically. A lot more work, a lot less golf and an enormous emotional reward knowing that we’re reaching kids and changing lives. No wonder Lori is an internationally renowned singer/songwriter/muse – when people listen to her powerful voice, amazing things happen!

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
My Ecolint experience has EVERYTHING to do with the founding of this company.

Teen Law School works with high school kids, kids who aren’t much different than I was at their age. Our physical circumstances couldn’t be more dissimilar, but our personal challenges are and were the same.  Peer pressure, negative influences, dangerous substances, poor impulse control, thrill-seeking behaviours, weak critical thinking skills, etc. No matter where on the globe or in which generation, teenagers live in dangerous times.

Our company’s mission is to help today’s kids make safe, law-abiding choices so they aren’t injured, caught, scarred or limited in the future by the escapades of youth. Why is a programme like ours necessary? Can’t we just let kids be kids?

In the US it’s essential since hundreds of thousands of  juveniles are arrested each year for minor, non-violent offences like violating curfew, drinking alcohol, shoplifting or skipping too much school. The “school to prison” pipleline in this country is alive and well, contributing to our country’s shameful status at the greatest incarcerator of humans in the world.

Keeping kids out of trouble is our company’s first goal; promoting responsible, engaged citizenship is our second.  Recently, we presented our work to a State Department sponsored delegation of European dignitaries. In their home countries, the visitors concerned themselves with the integration of immigrant populations into native society.  They saw in Teen Law School, like we do, the power of communicating shared cultural values by teaching the laws of the land to young people and other newcomers. It was exciting to be in room of global reach again!

 


 

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Tags:  Arizona  crime  law  USA  workshops  youth 

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23. Niloufar Kursun (Valizadeh-Afchar) (LGB '84)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi 15 juillet 2015

Niloufar KursunCORNERMOON

> Founded 2001
> www.cornermoon.com

 

1.What is your company’s product/service?
Interior design (renovation, modeling) and decoration.

2.Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
We're based in Geneva but we have projects just about everywhere.

3.Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Two people.

4.What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Acquiring clients at the beginning.

5.Where do you see your company in three years?
Potentially growing in number of employees and acquiring more clients abroad, as well as in different regions in Switzerland.

6.Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7.In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
I think obviously the language skills I acquired at Ecolint, along with the broad knowledge, helped me to connect with people more easily. Ecolint provides you with a good background of being at ease and especially to think about the world with open eyes. 

 


 

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Tags:  decoration  design  Geneva  interior  Switzerland 

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22. Silvia Lawson Johnston (Roigt) (LGB '58)

Posted By Alumni Office, mardi 2 juin 2015

Silvia Lawson JohnstonA Place Like Home

> Founded 1990
> aplacelikehome.co.uk

 

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Developed with a vision to offer the perfect alternative to a hotel, A Place Like Home is a short term rentals boutique agency in Central London. The last 25 years, our company has been the special link connecting more than 23,000 people around the world with high quality properties in the heart of the English capital. We excel at matching guests to the right accommodation so they may experience a unique metropolitan lifestyle.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
A Place Like Home was founded in 1990. Our offices are based in Central London.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
17 at peak (and now).

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Creating a global network of contacts.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
We are currently working on the rebranding of A Place Like Home, mostly focused on its digital presence by reconstructing our website and boosting our digital marketing activities. We believe these efforts will reinforce our goal which is to help an even wider audience create lasting memories of London. What matters most to us are the experiences our clients take home with them.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
My Ecolint education was fundamental to the success of A Place Like Home, enabling me to understand and appreciate the diversity of different nationalities. Crafting communication strategies, developing diplomacy skills, speaking various languages as well as being able to discern clients’ individual needs have been the primary reasons for my business success.

 

 


 

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Tags:  apartments  holiday  London  rentals  tourism  travel  UK 

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21. Tessema Tesfachew (La Chât '99)

Posted By Alumni Office, vendredi 22 mai 2015

Tessema TesfachewAssembly Networking

> Founded 2014
> www.assembly-app.com

 

1. What is your company’s product/service?
Assembly Networking designs and develops geolocation-driven smartphone apps to help users find and connect with other interesting, like-minded people nearby, wherever they travel.

2. Where was it founded and where do you now have offices?
Assembly Networking was founded in Cambridge, UK, and we have our main office there.

3. Number of employees at peak (and now)?
Five.

4. What was the hardest thing about building the company?
Having our small team split between two countries.

5. Where do you see your company in three years?
Ideally, Assembly will be a major player in the apps market – specifically for consumer-focused products as well as building productivity tools for companies and organisations.

6. Do any other Ecolint alumni work with you?
No.

7. In what ways (if any!) did your Ecolint education help you in founding a company?
I believe that attending Ecolint gave me a solid basis for understanding, and interacting with, people from different cultures. This has been very important in many situations, not only with my founding team but also in other aspects of my professional and personal lives.

 


 

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Tags:  app  Cambridge  geolocation  mobile  networking  Switzerland  UK 

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