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Throughout the Founder Institute's storied 15 years in existence, we've been proud to be supported by our Local Leaders who work tirelessly to turn talented individuals around the world into top entrepreneurs. One of our Local Leaders has been with us for many years, and has continuously proven her dedication to the Founder Institute's credo that "Great Companies Start with Great People".

That Director is Ingeborg Gasser-Kriss

Ingeborg Gasser-Kriss is one of the most determined Founder Institute Local Directors, and as such, she has been instrumental in growing FI's product, curriculum, and local programs.

She has dedicated over two decades to the fields of marketing and innovation. Her journey is a testament to the power of curiosity, lifelong learning, and an unwavering commitment to supporting emerging entrepreneurs. Here, we share her insights, experiences, and invaluable advice for aspiring startup founders.

In fact, while we currently operate chapters in over 180 cities worldwide, Ingeborg was part of the team that launched Founder Institute in Switzerland, and has undoubtedly played a strong role in building the vibrant startup ecosystem you find in Switzerland today.

A Rich Professional Journey

With a career spanning more than 20 years at leading global food companies like Kraft Foods and Mondelez International, Ingeborg has made significant strides in the industry. "My professional background is in Food Marketing, but I soon focused on Innovation, which is a real passion of mine. I had the privilege to innovate across geographies, food categories and horizons. As Vice President of Global Innovation, I designed the incubation and venturing unit SnackFutures," she shared.

Her achievements are not limited to these roles; she currently serves as a Board and Advisory Board member for both established and new companies in the broader food sector and is a startup mentor and advisor. Since 2020, she has also been a Director at Founder Institute Switzerland.

Innovation Shapes the Path of Humanity

When asked to describe herself, she emphasized the importance of honesty and clarity. "I believe in the value of honesty and clarity. I speak my mind and give candid feedback." Her fascination with innovation drives her dedication to  helping entrepreneurs. "I am fascinated by innovation, how it works and why it fails, and how it shapes the path of humanity. This is why I dedicate such a large portion of my time to helping entrepreneurs: because in contrast to big corporations, which I know intimately, entrepreneurs  move fast enough to create the breakthrough innovations humanity needs before it is too late."

Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Success

Her career did not start on a traditional path. "I am practically a self-taught Marketing and Innovation professional since I originally graduated in Linguistics. My success was not so much down to discipline as to curiosity, an open mind, and life-long learning." She attributes her growth to working in a highly professional environment and embracing new challenges whenever she got comfortable or bored with her current role. Her principle of making career choices in favor of roles that she finds fulfilling, rather than those that might benefit the career trajectory, but are less fulfilling, has also shaped her success. "Passion over planning, if you like," she added.

Coaching Founders: Common Challenges and Effective Strategies

Coaching founders presents unique challenges. One of the most common obstacles is the tendency of founders to focus inwardly on their product and its features rather than outwardly on their customers. "People change, and your product or service has to adapt. You will not observe those changes at your laptop," she explained. Another challenge is the fear of releasing something imperfect. "If you feel comfortable with the first release of your product, you have waited too long - but many hesitate anyway."

She also noted the difficulty founders face when transitioning from an early-stage startup to a growing company. "Not all talented entrepreneurs are talented business leaders. Sometimes you have to step back and let someone else take the leading role for the  benefit of the business."

Her approach to helping founders involves sharing her growing experience and expertise and making introductions to others who might have the answers.

If you could benefit from Ingeborg Gasser-Kriss's startup expertise, apply to the Founder Institute today!

A Memorable Success Story

Among her many success stories, one stands out involving a deeptech product team working with drones, computer vision, and AI. Initially struggling to gain traction in their intended industry, they discovered a new application area through a mentor's random observation. "Six months later, they had 8 LOIs and paid projects and were ready to raise funding successfully," she recounted, highlighting the importance of adaptability and external perspectives.

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Her advice for early-stage entrepreneurs is rooted in her own experiences."Don't try doing everything at once or you will be overwhelmed. Follow a structured process with milestones that you can hold yourself accountable to. Don't go it alone. Ask for help."

For those looking to scale their businesses, she emphasized the importance of bringing experienced individuals on board."Scale-up is a whole different ball game, and the rules vary by sector or industry. This is not something you can learn from theory."

In supporting over 300 startups, including notable ones like AI Retailer Systems, BRU, REBELS 0.0%, and VERTLINER, Ingeborg's impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and Founder Institute is profound. Her journey is a powerful example of how curiosity, innovation, and a passion for helping others can drive success. Aspiring entrepreneurs would do well to heed her advice and learn from her experiences as they navigate the complexities of growth and scale.

Learn more about Ingeborg on her LinkedIn page.



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The Founder Institute is the world's premier pre-seed accelerator, with chapters across 200+ cities and Graduate companies that have raised over $1.75BN in funding. The company's mission is to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology-enabled companies worldwide.

Learn more about running an FI program at, or apply to build a business with the Founder Institute at

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