Three key takeaways from the UBS Growth Talk #13

  • Seize the opportunity that adapting your business model presents, to tap into new markets and grow faster.
  • Define a clear, goal-oriented process for the transformation of your company.
  • Constantly scan the market for new developments – both social and technological – and align yourself to customer needs.

Dr. Andy Fischer, Group CEO of Medgate, and Fabian Dieziger, Co-founder and Partner of Supertext, both had a vision that remains valid today. Nevertheless, both companies have undergone multiple transformations. They discuss the importance of regularly reviewing and adapting the business model, and share their insights on what makes for a successful transformation process.

Watch the talk directly as a video (with English subtitles) or listen to the conversation as a podcast (in German):

Experience and knowledge as a basis

His "backpack" is bulging with medical expertise: Dr. Andy Fischer studied human medicine and then completed specialist training in surgery and emergency medicine. This gave him an insight into different areas of the healthcare system. He recognized what works and what doesn’t. “My business idea came from the helicopter perspective, as it were,” Andy Fischer jokes (he was working as a helicopter emergency paramedic at the time). In 1999, he founded the telemedicine company Medgate. This new form of medical consultation sought to give patients more personal responsibility and make the doctor-patient relationship more flexible. What is commonplace today was unusual at the time. “Many people thought it was a crazy idea to advise patients remotely,” Andy Fischer recalls.

The Swiss copywriting agency with the very apt name, Supertext, also ventured onto the market with a new idea. It was founded in 2005 as a family project. Fabian Dieziger was head of an international art transport company, while his brother Rinaldo wrote copy for various major advertising agencies. At that time, there were no copywriting-only agencies with minimal consulting and all the greater creative power. So the brothers decided to set up this type of business as an online platform in collaboration with schoolfriend Rémy Blättler. They combined copywriting and numerical expertise with technical flair – and added value for customers. Supertext thus became the first copywriting agency on the internet. This enabled customers to book text services as easily as booking a flight.

The takeaway: A business model that combines knowledge, experience, and a good idea, as well as delivering explicit added value for customers, has what it takes to be successful.

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Change enables growth

Medgate faced its first hurdles as early as the marketing stage, in terms of both licenses and tariffs. “We decided enabler marketing was the way to go, and signed contracts with health insurance companies,” says Andy Fischer. In 2019, a regulatory change was introduced that allowed everyone to benefit from telemedicine, regardless of their health insurance. This made it possible to bill telemedical services via the regular tariff system, permitting Medgate to expand its business model and tap into the B2C market as well as the B2B market. Among other things, this step laid the foundation for expansion internationally, and now Medgate is represented not only in Switzerland but also in Germany and the Philippines.

The takeaway: Adapting the business model offers the opportunity for growth.

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Times are changing – and so is business

Supertext grew very quickly. Three years after the company was founded in 2005, Supertext was already one of the top 100 technology startups in Europe. Over 7,000 companies have logged in to date. The market in which Supertext operates is very dynamic. “We follow all developments closely and in real time, to be able to respond immediately to changes,” says Fabian Dieziger. As a service company with a strong customer focus, Supertext regularly tests the adaptation of functions to customers’ specific requests. “Not everything works the first time, but there’s always something valuable to learn from it,” he adds. “It’s an ongoing process.” Supertext has a culture in which it is possible to try things out. “Not only our staff, but also our customers are open to such processes,” Fabian Dieziger explains, adding: “Our advantage is that we know the translation business inside out. Even if many things are automated, we still need our team of experts. If anything goes wrong, there’s always the human backup. That gives our customers certainty.” This also applies to the use of new technologies, especially AI. “An error-free text is often not enough. We want to help customers to sell something. And even in the age of AI, this requires human intelligence.” This also prompted Supertext to merge with Textshuttle – one of the leading specialists for AI translations – in April 2024. It is a merger that gives Europe the language technology company it deserves: one that unites customer-specific AI translation models and professional linguists under one roof and lets them interact and learn from each other in new ways – thus turning two parts into a larger whole.

Andy Fischer is in full agreement with Fabian Dieziger’s statement that in the age of AI, human intelligence is still needed. The days when physicians could only advise their patients over the phone are over. Nowadays, advanced tools are available to medical professionals that make it possible to analyze images or offer systematic consultations. These tools allow the physician to gather more information than ever before in a very short space of time. “We are at a turning point in medicine, comparable to the introduction of the autopilot in aviation,” Andy Fischer explains. Physicians are now increasingly confronted with the task of monitoring and observing automated processes. “But as specialists with specific expertise, they play an essential role.”

The takeaway: When a company transforms its business model, remits can change radically. Nevertheless: Even with the advance of technology, human intelligence is still needed.

It is important that we understand the business. That gives customers security.

Fabian Dieziger, Founder and Partner of Supertext.

Transformation process is crucial

It is not only the transformation of the business model that is relevant, but also the transformation process as such that can determine the success or failure of change. Fabian Dieziger knows from experience that an unstructured approach can lead to the whole process getting bogged down in side issues. “If too many players are involved and there are too many details under debate, the process comes to a standstill.” His takeaway: “It’s better to perform short sprints that allow you to achieve interim goals quickly.” Today, Supertext forms its own task forces to implement changes.

At Medgate too, in-house teams for innovation and transformation have long been standard procedure. In this market segment, however, the challenge is less in the process than in the results, which take a long time to materialize. As Andy Fischer says: “You don’t know in advance whether an adjustment or an innovation will work.” The healthcare system is particularly slow to respond. “On average, it takes us two years before we can really say whether a new business model is successful,” he says. The risk of a bad investment is correspondingly high.

The takeaway: The market dictates to some extent how transformation processes proceed. A company must be prepared for this.

The best thing to do during the transformation process is to perform short sprints that allow you to achieve and measure interim goals swiftly.

Fabian Dieziger, Founder and Partner of Supertext.

Ready for change?

Despite all the uncertainties, the advantages of adapting the business model outweigh the disadvantages. Tapping into new markets, and the opportunity to penetrate markets with innovations and to grow, is what makes companies successful. Fabian Dieziger and Andy Fischer agree that this requires the determination and willingness to constantly scrutinize oneself and to change. “It’s a shame that many companies fail to regularly adapt their business model to new market requirements,” says Andy Fischer. They can counteract this by regularly scanning the future – especially for technological and social developments. “It’s well worth pointing the radar in all directions – not just in the direction of travel.”

The takeaway: In order to change and grow, a company must always keep an eye on technological and social developments.

It’s a shame that many companies fail to regularly adapt their business model to new market requirements.

Andy Fischer, Group CEO Medgate

Image of Andy Fischer

Dr. med. Andy Fischer

Group CEO Medgate

Dr. Andy Fischer studied human medicine and then completed specialist training in surgery and emergency medicine. He worked as a Rega helicopter emergency paramedic until 2006. In 1999, Andy Fischer founded Medgate, originally as a telemedicine company. He was its managing director for Switzerland and a member of the board of directors for 16 years. In his current role as Group CEO, he is pushing ahead with the internationalization of the Swiss company. Besides Switzerland, Medgate is currently also represented in Germany and the Philippines.

Image of Fabian Dieziger

Fabian Dieziger

Founder and Partner of Supertext

Fabian Dieziger was head of an international art transport company before co-founding Supertext in 2005. As the “head of business”, he made sure that the numbers added up for their words business too, and managed the rapidly growing company in Switzerland and Germany. Since 2022, as a member of the board of directors and co-owner, he has turned his attention to the strategic alignment of Supertext. Fabian Dieziger and his wife run a small business called Supertoscano, which imports fabulous wines from small wineries in Tuscany to Switzerland.

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