As an observer, strategist, investor and creative matchmaker I guide industry leaders, start-ups and policy makers through the intricacies of emerging technologies and the larger social and economic changes that shape them.
I work on projects in different domains – entrepreneurship, innovation, finance – and facilitate the sharing of ideas, experience and knowledge that lead to innovative action and new collaborative projects.
I am a Partner at MKS Alternative Investments, focusing on seed investment in Switzerland and internationally.
I am the Founder of Lift, Switzerland’s first ideas’ conference on the subjects of innovation and technology and their impact on society.
I am currently working on three separate book projects. My first book, “How Innovators Think” is due for release in 2016.
The more complete and formal speaker bio
[Event organizers: feel free to reuse the text below. Last updated in September 2015]
Laurent was born in 1976 in Reims, Champagne. After an uneventful first 18 years he moved to Switzerland to study at the HEC school of the University of Lausanne. He quickly got hooked on the PCs of the computers center and began surfing the web with Mosaic and Netscape 1.0, using webcrawler, yahoo.stanford.edu and the other early resources.
In 1996, Laurent joined a startup company called Netface as head of Web. During his two years tenure the company won projects with high profile clients including the EPFL, Bernard Nicod (largest real estate company of the region) and Frequence Laser (formerly the biggest music retailer of Switzerland and the first large scale ecommerce site of the country). After leaving Netface, Laurent moved to Frequence Laser for one year to complete the ambitious online store project, then signed with Arthur Andersen Business Consulting in Geneva to work in the new technologies team.
On stage at Lift09. Photo by Ivo Naepflin.
For more than two years he served various organizations as a consultant then senior consultant, working on a main project for the United Nations in both Geneva and New York. Laurent designed and programmed the first version of OCHA‘s Financial Tracking System, a reporting system using web technologies to facilitate information exchange between the field offices and the headquarters.
After the Enron scandal dismantled Andersen, Laurent opted out of the new structure that later became Bearing Point, and, after a year of travel and independent consulting, joined the eBusiness team of Pictet, Switzerland’s largest private bank. There he worked on the bank’s technological projects, including the website, intranet and extranets.
On May 2005, Laurent decided to launch his own business and founded Lift lab, a service company whose mission is to help organizations understand and anticipate technological changes. In February 2006, Lift lab organized the first edition of the Lift conference, an event to discuss the social impact of technologies that went from 2 days and 350 participants in 2006 to 3 days and 1100 participants five years later. Lift has been called “one of the highlights of the technophile calendar“ by the BBC and is consistently rated as good or excellent by more than 90% of attendees in independently run post conference surveys.
In 2008, after a successful Lift08 and a mini-event in Seoul on Sept. 2007, Lift’s first large scale Asian event happened in Korea around the theme “beyond the web browser” and welcomed more than 400 participants. Organized in partnership with local organizations like Daum, Nabi Art Center or the Jeju KIPA, the Korean conference is the first step in Lift’s international strategy whose goal is to spot the latest and most interesting social trends around the world.
In 2009, Lift09 welcomed 800 participants to its fourth Swiss edition (themed “Where did the future go?) and expanded to France, with the first “Lift with Fing” happening in Marseille with some 560 participants from all around the world brainstorming about the “hands on future”. The Lift @ home program, created to empower the growing Lift community, was launched in several countries, while Lift’s third Asian edition gathered 450 participants around the theme of “Serious fun”.
After two more events in 2010, Lift came back to Geneva for a sixth edition (Lift11), and for the first time broke the symbolic barrier of 1000 participants, welcoming exactly 1083 persons to an edition themed “What can the future do for you”. Speakers included astronaut Claude Nicollier, entrepreneur Jean-Claude Biver, authors Brian Solis and Don Tapscott, and über-blogger Robert Scoble. In March, the first edition of Robolift (a robots themed conference co-organized with Bruno Bonnell and the European Syndicate of Robotics) was held in Lyon, followed by Lift France 11 in Marseille in July.
In June 2011 and after the birth of his first child, Laurent decided to step down from his Lift operational duties, remaining the event’s curator. Merging with an American company, Lift lab was renamed Near Future Laboratory and turned its focus to field and desk research, and Laurent decided to leave to pursue other projects, starting with a lecturer role at the university of Lausanne, teaching social media to HEC executive MBA students.
In April 2012 and after a successful Lift Asia, Laurent stepped down from Lift’s curator duties, staying involved as an advisor. He currently works multiple jobs: after joining Anthemis (an ambitious effort to reinvent finance for the information economy) as a venture partner, he started hosting a talk-show, joined a half-dozen organizations as an advisor, continued speaking at corporate and public events, and started to work as an innovation strategist for private clients.
In November 2013, Laurent launched a new event called 200ideas. Designed for decisions makers, 200ideas offers an overview of the moment’s most important trends in a fast-paced format, ideal for CEOs who can’t attend multi-day conferences and read hundreds of articles. The first edition sold out three weeks ahead, and welcomed 350 participants from the Geneva and Lausanne region.
In November 2014, in parallel to his growing involvement in Anthemis, Laurent became a partner at MKS Alternative Investments, an initiative to support Swiss and international startups through seed funding. In tandem with fellow partner Omar Liess, Laurent has overseen ten investments in companies like Lookup (the hyperlocal C2B chat, India), Flyability (resilient drones, Switzerland), Tawipay (the kayak.com for remittances, Switzerland), Be Cash (reinventing payments and cash distribution, Switzerland), ring.md (telemedecine for South East Asia, Singapore), FansNation (reinventing interaction between sports clubs and their fans, Switzerland), iRewind (third person video for sport, Switzerland) or Sailogy (the AirBnb for yatchs, Switzerland).
A long time blogger (and yes, twitterer), he publishes a weekly newsletter on society’s ongoing transformation, and is a regular contributor to Swiss and international media (Wired UK, L’Hebdo, RTS). He speaks regularly on television and radio, keynotes and moderates at conferences (Picnic, Next, TEDx, LeWeb, AdTech, SHiFT, Dokutech) and at various institutions (Havas, IMD, Mc Kinsey, UBS, United Nation, BCV, Société Générale, BCGe, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, Helvetia, RTS, BPER, Swiss government, Groupama, Unigestion, EHL, Crédit Mutuel, ING Bank, Mylan, University of Korea, Richemont, University of Lausanne, Aegate, SICPA, University of Geneva, etc..) on topics ranging from innovation strategies to the impact of technologies on business and society.
He has been involved in a number of business projects for clients like Lindt, Allianz, Nespresso, LeShop, Clarins, Pictet, Leroy Merlin, Wired, UBS, Havas, etc.
Recent & upcoming public presentations
- Consumer retail trends 2015 (Next conference)
- Things I will tell my kids if they become entrepreneurs
- Five exciting fields for entrepreneurs (Dokutech)
- Comments on the Strategy of the Federal Council for an Information Society in Switzerland (presentation to the federal commission in charge of Switzerland’s digital strategy)
- What role for foundations in a world of radicla change? (Swiss foundations association)
- Digital Banking Trends 2014
- La survie par l’innovation (TEDx)
- UBS Wealth Insights
- Swiss Creative Center
- University of Lausanne
- MAS Management & Advisory Services Austria
- MAS Management & Advisory Services Switzerland
- Hospice Général
- Cambridge Technology Partners
- Forum des 100 (video)
- HEC Lausanne (Lecturer at eMBA)
- Rencontres de l’innovation HES
- Conférence TechnoArk
- Solvaxys user days
- Forum de Glion
- HEG Genève
- Finance Summit
- Executive MBA HEC Lausanne
- EPFL Alliance
- Centenaire HEC Lausanne
- European future energy forum
- Rendez-vous des entrepreneurs
- 50 ans CIEPP
- Innovation digitale HESGE
- Forum TechnoArk
- Mc Kinsey alumnus network
- + corporate/private events
- ICCA World
- Switch conference
- Lift Presentations @ Thinkdata
- Lift Austria – Enable
- Conférence TechnoArk 2010
- Comedy & Media, Festival du rire de Montreux
- First Tuesday
- EIBTM 2009 Technology Hour
- Future Innovation
- ISOC Youth Forum
- AlpICT showcase
- L’indépendance, un état d’esprit, First Tuesday
- La réalité augmentée, Radio Suisse Romande
- Tour du monde des dernières innovations digitales, DDB
- Current innovations relevant to web companies, Daum
- Calling all bloggers, BlogTalk
- Round up of relevant innovations, McKinsey
- Interfacing Innovation, European Journalism Centre
- Groupe des Jeunes Entrepreneurs, Genève
- What can the future do for you?, Palexpo
- Celebrating 20 year of WWW with Tim Berners Lee, CERN
- Review of current innovations, UBS
- Regards croisés sur la Corée du Sud, Forum NetExplorateur 2009
- Les Objets, l’Internet du futur, TechnoArk
- Social networking sites and virtual worlds in the meetings and events industry – should you be using them?, EIBTM
- Celebrating Collaborative Creativity, Picnic
- Things I would have loved to learn from someone where I was a student, Picnic Student forum
- Time to unlearn, MasterMundo
- Innovation and web 2.0, University of Korea
- 21st Century Events, ICCA Congress
- 10 prochaines années de la révolution digitale, EPFL
- Women and ICT, World Women Forum
- Mentor and advisor, Seedcamp
- Réseaux sociaux risques et opportunités, MBA HEC Lausanne
- Le web, source d’information fiable ou outil de désinformation?, University of Lausanne
- Pecha Kucha Night, Share Festival
- First Tuesday: (part 1, part 2)
- Le Web 3 panel: The dark side of the web
- Entreprise sans frontière, de la Chine à Second Life, HES-SO Valais
- Online identity and reputation, University of Geneva
- Université d’été, Fing
- Introducing Lift, UN Geneva Web Group
- L’age du Peer, First Tuesday
- Introducing web 2.0, McKinsey
- Web 2.0 : bulle ou développement durable?, AdTech
- Launching Cocomment, UNAIDS
- The power of blogs, ISO/IEC Forum
- The lessons of Cocomment, SHiFT
- The lessons of Cocomment, University of Lausanne
- The lessons of Cocomment, University of Geneva
- Introducing Web 2.0, IMD
- Blogs dans la communication d’entreprises, Inforum
- Le peuple des connecteurs, First Tuesday
- Blogs and wikis, UN Geneva Web Group
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