Sensor manufacturer Sensirion, a spin-off company of ETH Zurich, successfully listed its shares on the Swiss stock exchange at the end of March 2018. Head of Marketing and Communications Andreas Meile explains why his company is an innovation champion and why Switzerland is a perfect business location for Sensirion.
Andreas Meile, tell us about Sensirion.
Andreas Meile: Sensirion is about innovation. We are a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, which was founded in 1998 by Moritz Lechner and Felix Mayer, then both PhD students in physics. Today, Sensirion is one of the world's leading manufacturers of digital microsensors and microsystems for the automotive industry, medical technology, industry and consumer electronics. Last year, Sensirion generated sales of CHF 148 million and currently employs around 735 people. Our sensors are mainly exported abroad and more than 20% of turnover is invested in research and development.
Sensirion invests more than 20% of turnover in research and development.
What fascinates you about your company?
Andreas Meile: Since its foundation, the proximity to ETH and its pioneering spirit have always been cultivated. Graduates come directly to us after completing their doctorate. At Sensirion, employees find a working atmosphere with flat hierarchies, plenty of scope for research and development, and the ability to make errors and learn from them. Thanks to this spirit of innovation, we have succeeded in constantly raising digital sensor technology to the next level, and subsequently expanding our leading position in the world market over the years. This corporate culture that exists at Sensirion fascinates me.
So, it seems like you love Switzerland as a business location.
Andreas Meile: Yeah, absolutely. With EPFL Lausanne, ETH Zurich, and the various other universities of applied sciences around us, we have an outstanding university landscape in Switzerland. These are ideal conditions for the success of a research-intensive company.
On March 22, 2018, Sensirion shares were admitted to trading on the SIX Swiss Exchange for the first time. Why did the company wait for 20 years before going public?
Andreas Meile: So far, Sensirion has grown continuously, and mostly organically. We want to continue to do so. The IPO and new funds allow us more flexibility in our future financing and corporate strategy, as well as further growth opportunities. This may include acquisitions that complement or expand our current technology portfolio and product offering.
Since March 22, 2018, Sensirion shares are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
Do you leverage social media in addition to other compulsory communication channels?What was your experience in preparing for your IPO?
Andreas Meile: That was new territory for us. As a private company, we have always been able to decide for ourselves what we want to do, and what we do not. And, since we primarily export our products, our target groups were mainly located abroad. This approach and focus changed when going public on the Swiss stock exchange. It was then necessary to comply with a wide range of legal regulations, in particular ad-hoc communication regulations, and we needed to develop relations with relevant touchpoints in Swiss media. We learned about how other companies carried out this process and about partner companies that could assist with IPOs. In this context, we came across EQS Group.
Andreas Meile: Our company uses all important social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, in marketing communications, brand management, and also in the job market. Now that the company has gone public, we have to examine how we will use social media in our Investor Relations activities. The main issue here is how blogs, comments, and discussions with target groups can be integrated within the framework of ad-hoc rules with relevant social media. As a traditionally innovative company, we want to drive this initiative forward.
Andreas Meile holds a Master's degree in Media and Communications Studies from the University of Zurich. During his studies, he worked at the research institute of the now deceased sociology professor, Kurt Imhof. Before joining Sensirion in 2011 as Head of Marketing & Communications, he worked in communications at Siemens Switzerland for many years.
Disclaimer: Sensirion has been an EQS Group customer since their IPO and uses the EQS COCKPIT to fulfill reporting obligations on the Swiss stock exchange.