A quarter century journey
Reflecting on the last 25 years while charting our growth course ahead
2022 marked our 25th anniversary since our founding in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1997.
Thomas Seiler, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of u-blox from March 2002 until his retirement in December 2022, reflects on the quarter century journey u-blox took to reach its chip-to-cloud position within the Internet of Things (IoT). Stephan Zizala, the new CEO of u-blox, since 1January 2023, also shares his thoughts as he charts the course ahead.
Thomas Seiler, retired CEO, u-blox
Our founders started u-blox 25 years ago based on their post-graduate research project and invention at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. The world’s smallest Global Positioning System (GPS) module was simple and ingenious, and it wasn’t long before the first u-blox module established itself as the de-facto industry standard for GPS receivers in industrial applications.
Passionate about remaining independent of semiconductor providers, the founders set out to develop their own positioning chip and surprised the world with their first GPS chipset in 2002.
Within the next five years, u-blox achieved impressive growth and financial results and, on its tenth anniversary in 2007, completed a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange.
“Today, we create the hardware, services, and solutions that make the IoT tick from chip to cloud and grow revenue much faster than the semiconductor market average.”
In 2009, we added wireless cellular communication technology to our positioning offering, and in 2014 we added short range radio data transmission based on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to our portfolio so that our customers could connect their devices to the cloud. 2022we strengthened our services portfolio adding new communications and localization offerings.
Many years of strategic acquisitions and deep Research and Development (R&D) investments guided u-blox further along its journey from a Swiss university spin-off to a multinational leader in positioning and wireless communication solutions for automotive, industrial, and consumer markets. Today we offer from chip to cloud with 25 years of trendsetting innovation.
A quarter century later, our founders Jean-Pierre Wyss and Andreas Thiel are still pivotal members of our executive team. At our core and in our hearts, we remain energized and innovative in our approach to democratizing and shaping the IoT alongside our dynamic customers across the globe.
Leading this outstanding company was both a privilege and a challenge; together with our enthusiastic team of experts, we created a world leader in industrial IoT.
Chief Executive Officer 2002-2022
Stephan Zizala, CEO, u-blox
1997 was a special year for me, too: After experiencing the vibrant Silicon Valley high-tech ecosystem, I dived deep into technology for my PhD project focusing on software for chip design. From 2001 onwards, I changed my course to the business side of high-tech. Building strong teams which create market-shaping innovations and developing them into a substantial business are intrinsic drivers for me. Therefore, joining u-blox – a key innovator in positioning and connectivity solutions – feels like a natural evolution.
“u-blox is a great success story. With focus, market shaping innovations, operational excellence, and a high-performance innovation culture we will continue to excel.”
Since starting at u-blox on October 1, 2022, I have had the opportunity to talk to more than 100 customers, hundreds of team members, dozens of analysts, investors, and journalists. This has given me quite a comprehensive picture of our company: We are innovative, we are precise, we are reliable, and we make it easy for our customers to use our products. With about 70 nationalities globally, we are a highly diverse, open-minded, enthusiastic team of experts.
We have a proven strategy, and we will further advance it: We will keep our focus on automotive and industrial customers where we can contribute and capture superior value. We will continue to foster our innovation power to create ground-breaking positioning and connectivity solutions. We will enhance operational excellence to create additional value from our larger business. We will foster a high-performance innovation culture driving our market shaping innovations to large scale commercial success.
I thank the u-blox Board of Directors for the trust placed in me to lead this amazing team. I thank my u-blox colleagues for the constructive dialog, which will make us better every single day. Together with all our u-blox team members, I will put my utmost effort into navigating our growth course.
Chief Executive Officer