Sandbox is the leading global community for young achievers and innovators under 30. A highly selective network (Sandbox only counts 450 members globally), Sandbox helps inspiring young leaders from all fields build meaningful relationships and realize their next big idea. YourStory spoke to Antoine Verdon one of the cofounders . Antoine works in Zurich as CEO of Sandbox.He has a Master of Law from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Passionate about politics, he was the youngest member ever elected of the Parliement of Lausanne, his home city, at the age of 20.Together with the partner of an important Swiss private bank, now retired, he co-founded a liberal think tank in 2003 (“Groupe de Riencourt”) which published a
book two years later in collaboration with HRH The Prince of Wales. He is an occasional columnist in Le Temps, a major Swiss newspaper. He worked for Mediaprocessing – a consultancy for electronic media – and gained a lot of experience in event-management by organizing numerous festivals and parties while at high school.During University, he worked as an intern, and then part-time at UBS and at Lombard Odier Darier & Hentsch.In 2010, Antoine was named by Swiss magazine L’Hebdo among 100 top Swiss personalities.What does Sandbox provide its members?
We provide them with trusted meeting places: physical event as well as an online platform where they can connect globally and benefit from unique opportunities. We have a full time team based in four locations, working day and night to create value for the community.
- connect with new people when traveling around the globe
- have access to very selective job opportunities & events
- find partners for their projects
- exchange ideas in an atmosphere of trust
We’re looking for atypical young people who make us go WOW. Sandboxers are exceptional individuals under 30 who love to make things happen. They stick out of the crowd by their achievements and often don’t go the typical way. And they are constantly working on their next big idea, whatever it might be.
Already in their twenties they run their own businesses, drive forward organizations, take over leadership roles, do cutting-edge research or political work, create art, write books or build social enterprises. Sandboxers love to exceed everyone’s expectation with their passion, their curiosity and their ambitions.
They all share a certain degree of entrepreneurial spirit, but entrepreneurs are just a part of our members. Sandboxers come from virtually all fields of the society and believe that they can learn from each other.
How was Sandbox Network born?
Sandbox has 6 co founders. We met 10 years ago when we were part of student organizations in Switzerland. We would have events where the leaders of different student organizations would take part and getting to know people with similar interests and drive was something that pushed us very much forward.
We saw that a few years down the road, we would have a need for a similar network, but on a truly global level that time. There was no global network for top-of-their-field individuals under 30, so we decided to create Sandbox.
How did the idea shapeup?
We started with a top down approach which would be to have a global conference in Zurich. But the economic recession hit us and we had to rethink this model. We registered Sandbox as a Swiss company, got investment and decided to turn the idea on its head and focus on a bottom up approach where in we will build the community and have local events and then scale up the events.
How do you sustain your operations?
We offer innovation consulting services to corporate clients. We help them to solve problems and generate new ideas in the areas of corporate culture and community building.
Also, we provide different organizations with event formats where senior and junior leaders meet and learn from each other.
How do you see the network growing?
Currently, we have 20 cities in the US, Europe and Asia holding regular Sandbox events - informal gatherings where people hang out and exchange ideas. We see Sandbox growing especially in India and in China in the coming years. Until the end of year, we will be implementing junior/senior events in all the hubs. in 2011, we will be organizing more regional events and probably the first big global conference. In terms of numbers, we see it growing slowly in order to fully integrate the new members, wherever they come from. We currently accept 1 new member every day.
How has the journey been so far?
It has been fantastic. I could not have asked for a better job. I learnt about starting and running a business and building a global community. I get to meet extremely talented young people with different backgrounds and interests and its very satisfying to see the community grow.
Initially the community was small and cofounders knew the members personally. As it grew has it been difficult to cope up with the numbers?
Our idea is to create self sustaining sandbox communities in different countries and cities. These communities have regular events and create value for their members. We have a group of energetic ambassadors who lead the community building in different cities.
What are your future plans?
The main focus is to continue building the network. We want to organize bigger events, create new formats, start an alumni community for Sandboxers who are older than 30 and launch an editorial team who will report about all the amazing projects of our members.
What are your plans for India?
We want to see the community grow into a nation wide network in India having regular events and meeting in hubs across the country. Sandbox network provides a great platform for young leaders and entrepreneurs to learn from each other and collaborate.
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