Why we need “startup people” and why they choose to work with us?

Corinna Fröschke
March 16, 2022
Alice Repetti is 29 years old. Italian from the region Emilia, mother of a young daughter and since October 2020, Mobility Venture Developer in our business unit Group Strategy and Digital Transformation (GSDT). Before that, Alice had a few roles in the innovation space and was also a cofounder of her own startup. These past experiences positions her well to work within the Mobility Unit and with the Baloise ventures the Mobility unit supports.

Brief background check

The GSDT is an area in Baloise that significantly drives and accompanies business transformation. This involves strategy and digitalization as well as the expansion of our core business areas, which are traditionally banking and insurance. Baloise is positioning itself more broadly and is investing in the ecosystems Home and Mobility. Because we believe this will build a better foundation for Baloise in the future. Alice works with the team where we look to find and develop startups in the field of mobility. Baloise looks to invest in them to help them grow as part of a Baloise mobility ecosystem, with the firm conviction that on the long run we ourselves will be able to offer more combined services for our customers.

The contact with the Mobility Unit was always straightforward," she says. "Very hands-on with clear theses and fact-based ambitions. I liked that.

From a startup to the a corporate | Why?

"Because I believe in the idea of an ecosystem in mobility," says Alice. "Many companies face the challenge of expanding or diversifying their business areas. But Baloise is committed to this idea along with its investment strategy. There is a long term budget allocated, which has never been questioned even in challenging pandemic times. I see ambition and commitment. That's what convinced me."

Alice got to know Baloise when she supported us as a consultant - still on the side of the startup "Spark Works" - in making innovations fly. "The contact with the Mobility Unit was always straightforward," she says. "Very hands-on with clear theses and fact-based ambitions. I liked that."

Vom Startup ins Corporate

Why we need startup experience in a corporate?

Alice joined the startup “Spark Works” in 2016, when it didn't even exist. "We built everything from scratch and I never learned as much as I did during that time." For her "Startup" adventure, Alice gave up a career at the United Nations in Geneva after a few ‘missions’ on the field. "I actually always wanted to work with the UN, work globally and have an impact, but at headquarters I feel I was too far away from everything. I missed the sense of purpose."

She consciously opts for the unknown facing questions like: How long will the money last and the young business idea survive? "We had a lot of freedom to create, but likewise we took all the risk. In the beginning it a bit felt chaotic, especially when you quickly realize that nothing happens if you don't do it yourself. We got very creative with little money."

Ownership | What you don't do yourself doesn't happen.

Not only did Alice give up a secure job, she also turned down an offer from one of the Big Four consulting firms those days. "I simply enjoyed to see the results of my work every day, and at "Spark Works" in Zurich, that was possible. Alice became an all-rounder: accounting, facilitating, design sprint, recruiting, customer acquisition - the first few employees in a startup take on everything, develop diverse skills, learn at a crazy pace - because the business demands it from them. Do or die!

"It's the fastest way to learn, and at some point it led to contact with Baloise. At that time, Baloise was looking for the first hires of the Mobility Unit. "What struck me the most," says Alice, "these people from a seasoned company had confidence in me as a young, driven woman. The collaboration was always at eye level."

No one asks how I organise myself, when, where. I feel confidence that I am delivering my results. No amount of money can compensate for this freedom.

"Flexibility and result-driven culture are my greatest assets at Baloise."

So since October 2020, Alice has been working strategically on the realignment of Baloise, and in January 2021 her daughter was born. "So here we go with another striking surprise," says the 29-year-old. "Baloise knew I was pregnant and hired me anyway, knowing that I would go on maternity leave." Today, Alice works 90% part-time: childcare is provided by the daycare center 3 days and a babysitter 2 days. "It is both, challenging and energizing being a working mom.

The flexibility in my job is my biggest asset", Alice says. "No one asks how I organize my work where and when. I feel confidence and trust from everyone that I will deliver what is expected of me. I believe that no money in the world could create the same positive connection and fidelity to your employer. For me personally, Baloise succeeds in creating an environment where – thanks to my self-determination - I can bring my full personality at work and in which I can perform in the best possible way.