Leaving one's comfort zone to start a venture is no easy feat as the founder of Lumiphase explains, but absolutely necessary when you have the urge to seize a business opportunity.
Could you explain what your startup does in a few sentences?
Think about how much data traffic you generate every day with your mobile compared to 10 years ago. Personally, I increased at least by 30x.
The reality is that data traffic is exploding. The world’s IT infrastructure needs disruptive solutions to handle this amount of data. At Lumiphase we create novel communication chips boosted by a unique optical crystal. Our chips enable network equipment vendors and cloud providers to operate faster networks that consume less energy and will allow all of us to be better connected in the future.
What is something you wish you knew when you started putting together your business?
Before founding Lumiphase, I had an exciting full-time position at IBM Research Zürich, which is probably one of the best places in the world to do impact research.
Leaving this comfort zone to create Lumiphase was a very hard decision on a personal level because it seemed like a giant step in the dark. What drove my decision was the strong feeling that I had to seize the business opportunity.
I wish I knew at that time how rewarding the experience would be, which would have made my decision easier. Today I feel that it is actually a much more rewarding and motivating experience than anything I could have imagined.
What plans do you have for your startup in the next several months?
We are receiving very good traction with customers which are generally very large organizations or tech giants. In the next few months, we will keep focusing on bringing them the most value, continue to cultivate a trustful relationship with them, and develop the right products at full-speed.
To achieve these goals, we are constantly looking for talented people to grow our diverse team in technical and non-technical domains. Our philosophy is not to look for the perfect skills but for great people with the highest potential!
What is the biggest challenge you expect to be facing with your startup?
I believe the biggest challenge we will face is to ramp up a semiconductor business to deliver millions of chips per year. It implies a huge number of great challenges to solve to be able to scale-up to such volumes. But this is not a problem, great challenges is what makes us thrive every day!
What are you most excited about with regards to your project?
There are two things that excite me the most. First, going through this adventure, we are actually assembling one of the most talented team in the world in integrated photonics – and this is not happening in the silicon valley but in Zurich, at the heart of Europe. It’s a very unique opportunity for us to retain great minds in Europe and having the opportunity to work with them every day, rather than watching them leaving to the US.
Second, we are one of the rare semiconductor startups in Europe that actually does some manufacturing while aiming to deliver millions of chips every year. I am truly excited to help Europe reposition itself on the worldwide semiconductor supply chain for cutting-edge technologies.