Vanessa: Hello Gery, we have a lot to talk about. Let's get right into it. What I am interested in first - How did you come to Zippsafe?
Gery: Hello Vanessa, thank you very much for the invitation. Here's how it went. I had resigned from Hocoma in early 2020, but had barely started looking for a job in spring. I first traveled around Tanzania with my family. Shortly after we got back we were confronted with the Corona pandemic. All of a sudden we had to stay home a lot and I didn't quite know if I should apply for a job or first enjoy the newly found time. And then before long, I received a LinkedIn message from Anja Oswald, a member of Zippsafe's Board of Directors.
Vanessa: With the request for the presidency of the Board of Directors at Zippsafe?
Gery: Exactly. The request was very direct and came out of nowhere, as I didn't have such close contact with Anja. We had met many years ago at the wedding of a mutual friend and since then we have met from time to time in a business context. So I was really surprised and immediately picked up the phone.
Vanessa: Interesting. What did she say?
Gery: I don't remember exactly. However, I can still remember how she said that a comprehensive list of criteria was drawn up for the search of the future Chairman of the Board of Directors at Zippsafe. When it came to me, they were obviously able to put a tick behind everything. (laughs)
Vanessa: That seems to have convinced you right away. (laughs) What happened next?
Gery: Her first pitch made me curious from the start. So did what I soon learned about Zippsafe. Therefore, it was clear to me that I had to get to know the people behind it. Very quickly after that, I arranged a first meeting with Carlo and Jonathan.
Vanessa: Obviously they were able to win you over for Zippsafe. What attracted you?
Gery: In general I had an extremely professional impression of the company, although Zippsafe is still a young company. At the same time, I quickly recognized the drive of everyone involved to create something great with Zippsafe and revolutionize the world of storage solutions. The strong willingness to share and learn excited me.
Vanessa: Learning is a good keyword. In which topics did you see the potential to use your experience?
Gery: Well, Hocoma and Zippsafe are very similar in many ways. The value chain is very broad. From innovation and product development to production, sales and installation, everything comes from a single source. With Hocoma I was also already active in the healthcare sector. Although we sold rehabilitation equipment and not wardrobe solutions, Zippsafe nevertheless struggles with the same industry challenges. Zippsafe also sells investment goods, decision cycles are long, and the complexity in the sales process should not be underestimated. All these parallels made me confident that I could contribute a thing or two and support Zippsafe in the best possible way.
Vanessa: Of that, we are all convinced. Now that we've talked about what brought you to Zippsafe, I really want to know how you experienced the first few months. You started in August 2020, how did you get started?
Gery: First we went to Budapest. The onboarding was brilliant, good people, good food, my personal Zippsafe highlight 2020. The three days were incredibly valuable and I was able to gain a more comprehensive impression. The office and the production hall in Hungary really fascinated me. Despite the young history of the company, I found a structured organization and a high level of professionalism. Perhaps it is important to mention: The same is true for Switzerland. However, in Hungary you only really become aware of the dimensions of the business.
Vanessa: One could almost get the impression that there's not so much to do for you anymore. Isn’t that boring?
Gery: (laughs) When it comes to the details, there's still a lot to do. I've already gone through the same process with Hocoma. It's nice to see that my experiences are being heard and are stimulating discussions. That's how it should be.
Vanessa: Since you started your business, about 20 years have passed. What has changed in the meantime?
Gery: The way people work together is different, for sure. I like this dynamic that characterizes Zippsafe. Modern tools and working conditions allow us to drive and develop solutions very quickly.
Vanessa: In a company with just under 30 employees, it's definitely a bit easier than in a company with hundreds or even thousands of people.
Gery: Absolutely. Zippsafe is at a very interesting point. We are developing processes and structures that will allow us to scale in the long term. Here, finding a good balance and not creating unnecessary hurdles for innovation is the big challenge.
Vanessa: I directly take up the topic of innovation. Where should the journey go?
Gery: In my opinion, Zippsafe's innovative strength is often somewhat underestimated. I find it
particularly exciting to see that we are experiencing innovation in a product that, at first glance, could not be simpler. This is exactly where I see enormous potential. At the same time, the market for it has to be built up first. This process will take some time in the beginning.
Vanessa: Well, I agree with you there. I would like to exchange views on the future as well. Next time we should definitely talk about what we can expect from Zippsafe in the new year...