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News Stories · Strategy - Leadership

“IMD Executive MBA completes 20th Expedition to Silicon Valley”

Participants learn what it’s like to create something from nothing
September 2016

The IMD Executive MBA program has recently completed its 20th expedition to Silicon Valley this year, marking 17 years, approximately 200 startups, and over 1100 phenomenal Executive MBA participants.

The expedition’s master-mind and leader, Professor Jim Pulcrano, filters each year through over 120 aspiring entrepreneurs who apply to the IMD Startup competition. With inputs from CTI/KTIVentureKick and investiere, 25 fortunate ventures are selected to work with IMD’s MBA and Executive MBA participants.

In the most recent 2016 Swiss Top 100 report, IMD Executive MBAs have worked with 31 of the top 100. Five of the start-ups are in the top 10, and 11 in the top 25. In September 2016, the IMD EMBA class on a discovery expedition to Silicon Valley worked with BestMile (#13), Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG (#22), Peripal (#57), Prodibi (#64) and ZuriMED Technologies AGZ (#73). Following the selection process, Jim introduced the startups to the Executive MBA participants – a group of highly talented and experienced international executives, who together analyze and challenge business plans, teams and company NS is six days in Silicon Valley, asthe Swiss entrepreneurs and participants travel to meet venture capitalists and angels awaiting to hear fundraising pitches – and hoping to invest.

“Some people have said that what we ask our EMBAs to do in Silicon Valley is impossible,” Jim Pulcrano said. “Putting them in the shoes of high-tech entrepreneurs and having them pitch their businesses to Silicon Valley venture Capitalists.  It’s real, and it works, and every year I have the privilege of watching our EMBAs rise to that impossible challenge and do a great job.”

Jim and the EMBA faculty seek to explore with the participants the mindset of the entrepreneur – an essential objective for any manager. Through the expedition, the EMBAs meet with the people who create, execute, grow and finance new firms. They seem to speak a different language and move at a different speed. Participants are helped to develop a sense of how to create an environment that enables entrepreneurial behavior, drives new-idea generation and assesses chances of success in the marketplace.

Here are examples of previous Executive MBA competition winners, having shown that they have what it takes to “create something from nothing”:

  • Abionic: Diagnostic tool to give allergy profiles
  • ARTMYN: Digitization of visual artworks with interactive rendering, via a web browser, accessible from any mobile device.
  • Augurix: Designs, produces and markets companion diagnostics devices to facilitate early diagnosis and confirmation of gastro-intestinal diseases.
  • BestMile: Offering the solution to manage fleets of autonomous vehicles
  • BioVersys: Research and development of small molecules which switch off drug resistance against antibiotics.
  • Dacuda: Leader in Smart Scanning Technology
  • Diagnoplex:  Molecular diagnostics company developing a portfolio of tests for the early detection of several cancers.
  • Exalos: Design, development, manufacturing and sales of high-performance semiconductor-based broadband light sources
  • Flyability: Creating safe, collision-tolerant robotics to access inaccessible places
  • Geosatis: Provides the next generation of electronic rehabilitation.
  • id Quantique: World leader in quantum-safe crypto and leverages quantum technology in the fields of random numbers and scientific instrumentation.
  • iTaste: Internet and mobile social network dedicated to gastronomy.
  • MabImmune: Development of fully human monoclonal antibody therapeutics
  • Novaccess: Develops a generic industrial Internet of Things multiservice platform for an end-to-end management of connected objects Qvanteq,
  • Xeltis: Bioabsorbable cardiovascular devices
  • Xsensio: Tiny intelligent stamps that reinvent the role of wearables
  • MindMaze: Developing a breakthrough platform combining virtual reality (VR), computer graphics, brain imaging, neuroscience and rehabilitation.

And examples of previous Executive MBA competition winners later acquired:

  • FaceShift: Real-time facial motion capture software solution which revolutionizes facial animation. Acquired by Apple.
  • Lemoptix: Next generation mobile human/machine interaction and augmented reality. Acquired by Intel Corporation
  • Kooaba: Image recognition technology. Acquired by Qualcomm Connected Experiences.
  • GlycArt Biotechnology: Acquired by the Roche Group.


Discover more about the IMD EMBA and MBA programs.