Kristian Arve (26) is an economics student who has worked with multiple start-ups to market their products in Switzerland.
Kristian, you have worked with various start-ups for quite some time. How did it all start?
A friend and I were on the lookout for cool, new products of start-ups to sell in Switzerland. New gadgets usually take a long time until they arrive in Switzerland so we thought we could speed this up and be the first local resellers. When we found an interesting product, we looked closer at whether it would sell in Switzerland. If we felt it could work we approached the start-up and asked them for samples. After evaluating the product we asked if we could use their domain name to sell the product here. For example, we recreated the website with their logo and local domain ending with “.ch” instead of “.com”. This is often much easier to do with a start-up than with a big company.
What was it like to work with start-ups?
When working with a start-up you must be aware that they are mostly very busy. With some of them even working full time while starting their companies, you can’t expect a lot of support. A good thing when working with start-ups is that you can easily reach the management and they are much more open to cooperation than big established companies.
What are the downsides?
You can’t rely on a start-up like you can rely on big companies. They might not be able to deliver in time, they can be slow to reply to emails and sometimes they even change their mind on the whole cooperation (we had that once, after all the work with setting up the website). Some of them are “one-hit-wonders”, they produce a cool product and then they slowly disappear.
It was never a full time job for you either. What was your motivation?
I have always been interested in entrepreneurship and starting my own business. It was the desire to build something and not the money that motivated me. During that time I learned a lot about starting a company, online marketing and developing websites. We tried to start a project with a minimum amount of time and money to stay flexible.
Tell me more about your projects. Which products did you market?
We marketed some technology gadgets like charging cables, portable speakers and other mobile phone accessories. The problem with these tech gadgets is how to handle the warranty. That can be quite complicated. We also worked with Daniel Wellington and were in fact the first reseller here in Switzerland. Unfortunately we had to discontinue that project for various reasons.
You don’t do this kind of work anymore. What is your current project?
I am working on a research platform for the financial industry, called Marketseasonals. Financial markets have seasonal tendencies, for example June is a particulary bad month for the SMI (Swiss Market Index) and stock indices in general. The platform offers a lot of stats and seasonalities of various markets that help in the decision making process of participants in the financial markets. The platform is still in development but it’s already online with a lot of free stuff.