Working on your own idea in Silicon Valley

Jan Scheidegger, from the Swiss insurance company Mobiliar, is experiencing right now what Swisscom is offering to six employees this year. The application developer is spending around two months at the Outpost in Palo Alto, where he is trying to determine potential uses of machine learning for image recognition.

– Mark Walti, Palo Alto, 23 March 2018

Just as Swisscom employees can, employees of Mobiliar are able to submit a project proposal to apply for a multiple-week stay. “The newest technologies are being developed in Silicon Valley. For our industry and for me personally, this is an exciting place to obtain all the information directly at the source,” says Jan Scheidegger, explaining his motivation. Jan, from Bern, came to Silicon Valley in mid February to forge ahead with his idea.

Development of a Prototype

Jan was first given an introduction to the Swisscom Outpost, where he enjoys visiting privileges and is able to make use of both its infrastructure and its network. Then he started searching for startups active in the area of image recognition and machine learning. Within a short time, this led to numerous contacts that made it possible for him to launch a prototype.
“My prototype is able to distinguish documents from pictures. And it can assign the pictures to categories such as cars, houses, or jewelry. Those are items that are common in the insurance industry,” Jan explains. Thus he met his goal even before the end of his stay, and he has already been able to gain Silicon Valley startups as service providers for Mobiliar.

Inspiration for Swisscom Employees

Jan will return to Switzerland in early May, where he will continue to move his project forward and establish it inside Mobiliar. That’s the same goal pursued by the Kickbox program that Swisscom is offering to six employees this year. Interested employees who would like to work on their own idea for 6-8 weeks in Silicon Valley can register a Kickbox at and apply.

In addition to the technical know-how that Jan was able to acquire during his stay, he also gained familiarity with the particular customs of Silicon Valley. “It’s fascinating how quickly you can make contact with people here and also start doing business with them, if that’s what results.” Jan also appreciated the openness and the helpfulness that one finds at the Outpost.

Registration: Register a Kickbox at Find a sponsor in line management (BlueBox or GoldBox). The Kickbox team and the Swisscom Outpost will together evaluate prospects for a guest residence.