Start-up entrepreneur Myke Näf

“There are many Zurich-founded startups with great potential”
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Myke Näf studied Informatics at the ETH Zurich, worked as a lecturer, and was also responsible for IT security at Zurich Airport. In 2007, he developed Doodle. Today he supports startups.

You sold your company Doodle not to a Silicon Valley company but to the media company, Tamedia AG. A sign of your commitment to Zurich as a business location?

We examined various options at the time, both in Switzerland and abroad. Our final choice was based on a number of criteria, one of which was location. Tamedia offered the best overall package. I am pleased that our Swiss story has remained in Swiss hands as a result. That said, it’s important to me that the various locations are not played off against each other. The ICT and startup scenes think and operate very much location-independent; projects are often split between several locations. Myself, I’m actively involved in several projects in Berlin in addition to Zurich. 

Myke Näf is a computer science engineer by education and the founder of Doodle. As a business angel he supports ICT startups in Zurich, Switzerland and internationally.

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As a business angel you are very familiar with the Zurich startup scene. Which Zurich innovations have the biggest potential in your opinion?

I see many projects that have major potential. In the B2C segment, Chimpy is one that is particularly close to my heart, because I’ve been following its fascinating story for a long time now. Chimpy provides instant battery for all our devices, like smartphones, tablets or headphones, wherever we are. Another example is TestingTime, a company that was founded by two ex-Doodlers. The startup targets the B2B market and recruits test users for market research and usability tests.

Your office is on Weinplatz in the "Haus zum Schwert", one of the oldest buildings in downtown Zurich. What is it like looking out over the Alps, the Old Town, and the lake?

Soothing. In the morning, I often stop for a moment on the Gemüsebrücke bridge, and take in the view of the Limmat and the mountains.

Are you personally still working on ideas for new digital tools?

Nowadays, I use my experience from the time with Doodle to support promising companies, which I invest in as a business angel, co-found, or advise as a member of the board. In 2017, for example, I co-founded the Zurich-based company, Ledgy. The Ledgy software – a tool for managing stocks and other holdings in companies – makes life easier for everyone, not just company founders, but investors and employees, too.

And where do the digital nomads meet in Zurich – in secret or at an official location?

Officially they often meet at one of the Impact Hub locations, for example. As for the secret meetings, I’m afraid by definition I can’t disclose where they’re held.