Fast Track Board Academy, EPFL Innovation Park, entrepreneurship training, Board of Directors

Successful startups have


Boards of Directors


Day 1

May 29th, 2018


  • What’s so special about startups?

  • Roles and duties

    • Company bodies (General Assembly, BOD, Auditors)

    • Swiss legal framework

    • Responsibilities of a BOD member

    • Being a BOD member in a start-up

  • Principles of good governance

    • Best practices for startups

    • Role of the BOD at key stages in the life of a startup (future rounds, merger, exit, key person resignation)

  • Start-up environment

    • Classical risks and pitfalls for BOD members in startup

    • What questions to ask before joining a BOD?

    • Improving relations between shareholders, BOD and management

    • Building a successful BOD

    • BOD remuneration, what model to apply in startups?

  • Compliance

    • BOD members liabilities

    • Conflict of interests

  • Insurances

Day 2

June 5th, 2018


  • Understanding the Business Model

    • How solid is it?

    • What are the key success factors?

    • Case studies of successful  and failed business models in startups

  • Financial checklist

    • Key reminders

    • How to monitor the finances of a startup ?

    • Financial tools

    • Case studies of startups financials in good and bad shape

  • Overindebtedness (art. 725 CO)

    • Duty of the BOD

    • Risks for the BOD

    • Case studies

  • Role & Responsibilities of BOD members in financial management

  • Relation with auditors

  • Startup financing and BOD involvement

Day 3

June 12th, 2018


  • Crisis Management in a startup

    • What are the common causes of startup crises?

    • How to identify the early signs of a crisis?

    • Crisis response recommendations

    • What actions to take as a BOD member?

    • Communication in the crisis

    • Groups role play

  • Insolvency

    • Type of enforcement proceedings

    • Role and responsibility of the BOD

    • When to call the judge?

    • What actions to take ?

    • How to present the case to the judge ?

    • BOD liability in a bankruptcy procedure

    • Groups role play

Day 4

June 25th, 2018


Real life exercise

  • 4 startups, which have already incorporated, are invited to present to participants, acting as potential BOD members

  • At the end of the presentation, each startup describes its ideal board (skills & personality)

  • 4 groups are created among the participants with the closest match with each of the startup  requirements

  • Each group, with the support of a trainer, conducts its due diligence as future BOD member, interacting with the startup management team

  • Each group gives the results of its due diligence to the startup with a list of recommendations

  • Startups give their feedbacks to the due diligence team (how they feel about this experience, lessons learned, communication process, etc..)

Paul Watkins

Masters Accredited Executive Coach

I got a lot from the SBMA sessions. Acting on a Swiss board has some significant differences to other countries. The SBMA sessions made those differences clear and gave a realistic and pragmatic experience of where a Swiss board member’s attention needs to be.


Penny Schiffer

Head of Startup Initiatives

I was really impressed by the quality and experience of the speakers but also by the great knowledge and niveau of discussion with the participants.

Philippe D. Monnier

Board Member at several international startups such as WayRay SA

The Startup Board Members Academy is particularly useful because course leaders are successful practitioners, the content is down-to-earth and participants provide excellent networking opportunities. Highly recommended!

Course Leader

Virginie Verdon, Fast Track Board Academy, EPFL Innovation Park, entrepreneurship training, Board of Directors

Virginie Verdon

Virginie has a strong background in energy, clean-tech, telecommunication and IT sectors. Often called in during transition periods, she helps companies in their fast growing and restructuring phases. She brings her hands-on expertise in C-level management, finance, marketing & communication, and international business development.


Fascinated by organisations in transition, she took part in two IPOs, led a full privatisation process and restructured various SMEs as well as MNCs departments in multicultural environments.


Jean-Marc Wismer, Fast Track Board Academy, EPFL Innovation Park, entrepreneurship training, Board of Directors

Jean-Marc Wismer

Jean-Marc Wismer is a serial entrepreneur in the fields of IT and medical devices and a former executive with a large multinational organisation. He has a history of building companies from early stage to international growth, with strong experience in carving out strategies for complex businesses, in product development, in private equity financing, in regulatory affairs, in operations and growth management, and in marketing and sales.


He holds a MSc in Electrical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and an MBA from the IMD. Jean-Marc is also a business consultant, teaches and lectures entrepreneurship with various organisations.

Julien Foulger, Fast Track Board Academy, EPFL Innovation Park

Julian Foulger

Julian is CEO of Swiss Mergers and Acquisitions, a partner in Longbow (high-value asset recovery) and non-executive chairman of Swiss biometrics (face and voice) company Keylemon. He brings with him a wealth of experience of sitting on boards of directors in Europe, USA and the Far East, both as an executive and a non-executive director in start-up and established companies.


Prior to moving to Switzerland, Julian co-founded, via a buyout of a charity’s assets, with 5 others the Shaw Healthcare Group, filling the position of Business Development Director responsible for both financing and contract negotiations, which owns and operates 80 nursing homes and specialist private hospitals. Prior to Shaw Healthcare he was CFO of mobile 3G telecoms infrastructure company start-up Wireless Systems International, which he joined from global Japanese CAD / CAM software group Zuken-Redac where he was Group CFO. Julian’s first commercial role was as CFO of publishing (subscriptions and books) and training company Sewells International.

He is a qualified accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Jacques Bonvin, Fast Track Board Academy, EPFL Innovation Park, entrepreneurship training, Board of Directors

Jacques Bonvin

Jacques Bonvin is a partner of Tavernier Tschanz, a leading Swiss law firm. After training mainly in international commercial arbitration and litigation, Jacques Bonvin has specialised over the last 20 years, and is now active, in corporate/commercial law, international mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance, including private equity and venture capital, with a special emphasis in the technology sector. Jacques regularly advises board of directors, CEOs and CFOs on corporate governance and strategic issues.

​Jacques regularly advises investment banks, private equity firms and funds, corporate venture funds, listed and non-listed companies (from global players and multinational corporations to SMEs), as well as start-ups, on corporate and shareholding structuring issues, sophisticated commercial agreements and on all types of transactions. He often acts as lead counsel in cross-border transactions.

Jacques is further acting as external general counsel to a number of clients (notably technology start-ups) and in special projects (such as Solar Impulse and Artemis Racing).

Jean de Wolff, Fast Track Board Academy, EPFL Innovation Park

Jean de Wolff​

Jean spent over 20 years in technology-oriented companies. His domains of expertise range from international sales to management of large telecom projects. While an executive in large multinational companies, he experienced many of the domestic and international development stages of a corporation. Jean is also an entrepreneur and started several ventures which have been successfully sold.

Jean is currently an Innosuisse Coach as well as a partner and board member of several small and medium-sized companies and startups. He also works as a consultant, advising entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Training starts from 14:00-18:00

Location: FONGIT, Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva

Exceptional Geneva launch price is  CHF 800.- 

(Normal registration is CHF 950.-)

A special price applies to a limited number of new startup founders.

For more information please contact directly: Vanessa Burningham

Fast Track Exit Academy, EPFL Innovation Park, entrepreneurship training
Fongit Geneva
Fast Track Exit Academy, EPFL Innovation Park, entrepreneurship training

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