On the 11th of October, the ETH Entrepreneur Club attended the second startup essential workshop presented by venturelab at ETH. The topic of the day was: “Strategic Clarity and Value Creation” and we learned how to create value and to deliver it efficiently.

The guest speaker that would lead the workshop was Andreas Jurgeit, who has seen it all in the startup world. During his scientific studies and PhD he was also part of a startup, thus starting to explore the “making” side. After finishing his PhD, he joined Redalpine Venture Partners where he discovered the “buying” side. And finally, after 3 years of experience at Redalpine, he was called in to join Redbiotec and help them market and license their technology to industry players, thus being a part of the “selling” side, for the next 2 years and a half. The circle was then complete! Today, Andreas works as the Director of Merck Ventures, the venture capital arm of Merck.

Andreas started by introducing the concept of the Business Model to make it clear to everyone what we would be talking about. “Your business model is your engine, without it being fully-operational you won’t get anywhere!”, said Andreas Jurgeit.

The business model describes how revenues are generated by referring to the structure of the value chain and its interaction with the industry. We saw that every industry has already developed and adopted diverse business models and that it is often more effective to build on them rather to reinvent them. Jurgeit said: “A business model is not meant to last forever; adapt or die!”

Business models might be as complex as they are crucial for the survival of the company. After a quick introduction, we started using the Business Model Canvas to organise the different aspects of a business model:


The participants learned that one should always start to define his/her target customer and the value proposition. One should also try many combination of the two to find the most effective. Jurgeit continued: “Don’t innovate to compete on price, if all you can offer is a reduction in costs then your going the wrong way.”

Working in teams, the entrepreneurs prepared part of their business model, focusing on target customer and value proposition, to make a quick presentation to the audience. A few teams presented their model and received feedback and questions from the others.

The last part of the workshop focused on how to reach your objectives, or in a more imaged way: how to get to your final destination? Many get lost along the way and end up in places they did not want to go in the first place. This is why every entrepreneur will have to plan his/her Roadmap carefully.

According to Andreas, the Roadmap answers three critical questions:
• What options do I have to get to my goal? Which different roads are available to me?
• How much resources will I need to make it there? How much will it cost?
• Where am I on my way to success? Am I running late?

During the next step, the participants had to work on their roadmap and again a few groups got the chance to do a short presentation of the different steps that would lead them to success. The experts and the audience engaged in conversation with the presenting team members to express their concerns and ask questions about the plan.

The Startup Essentials are a great format for young and ambitious entrepreneurs. Loads of success have already participants from the last semester course like Clara Beck from TapTools, Tauras Sinkevicius from WedMap or Raphael Gindrat from BestMile.


Timothée Barattin & Cristina Mercandetti, ETH Entrepreneur Club