Silicon Valley (USA)

Silicon Valley - no other place on this planet is as strongly associated with company foundations and start-ups as this 100-kilometer-long stretch of land south of San Francisco. Everyone knows them - the big players, who all started as two or three man shows in a garage and grew up in the Valley.

But what makes this place so attractive for start-ups? And why has a start-up taken a giant step towards success if it was able to secure one of the highly coveted places in an incubator or accelerator in the Valley or is allowed to pitch in front of one of the prestigious venture capitalists?

Every year since 2012, 7 students of the Master's programmes in Business Management and Business Informatics get the opportunity to engage in a study trip to Silicon Valley to explore in situ the legal, spatial and working conditions of the IT and High-Tech region, to find out what financing options there are for start-ups and what business models enabled some of the big players to have their break-through.

The study trip is organised by the cooperation partner University of Applied Sciences Graubründen (Schweiz), which directly cooperates with an established business angel/venture capitalist in Silicon Valley that organises the programme locally. Included in the trip are visits to IT and technology companies as well as to Stanford University to give students an insight into university and campus life in the USA.

Of particular value for participating students is the pre-trip task of working out an investment pitch using a real-life business example, which they present during the visit to a committee of venture capitalists and company owners who assess it and give feedback. This gives students the opportunity to find out in a real situation what Silicon Valley financiers value and how these expectations can be incorporated into successful pitches.

Opportunities for students
  • Develop and present a task in a project group for an external real target audience
  • Gather impressions and insights into the world's most important start-up scene and established large companies and bring them back to Austria
  • Get to know and critically question a different business culture
  • Get to know and work with students and teachers of HTW Chur and HS Darmstadt
  • Share impressions and insights with fellow students and other interested parties through transfer services
  • Apply and develop English skills
  • Students receive a certificate of participation which shows the acquired competences