People behind Swiss Innovation
The Inno-Swiss platform is dedicated to boost
Swiss innovation and the people behind

  • graspeo.jpg
    Graspeo's team after winning the second stage of venture kick.

    plair.jpg
    Denis Kiselev and Svetlana Afonina, Plair co-founders.

    Plair and Graspeo won CHF 20'000 each!

    Di. 15.04.2014, 17:20

    Two promising Swiss startups deserved the support of the venture kick jury and got awarded with CHF 20’000 each. One provides a web tool for teams and organizations that want to manage and collaborate on projects in a secure interface; the other develops real-time aerosol detectors for research, weather and healthcare institutions....Read more

    Graspeo: After participating to the venture challenge program (venturelab), Dmitrii Shevchuk, a 3rd semester Master student in Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship at EPFL, founded Graspeo,  a web tool to help teams and organizations to manage and collaborate in a secure interface. Privacy is achieved by using P2P protocol with end-to-end encryption.
     
    Plair : Svetlana Afonina, Plair co-founder, holds a Master degree in Physics and is currently doing her PhD at University of Geneva. During the PhD program, she met Denis Kiselev and they launched this project. Plair developed a device that estimates optical and aerodynamic sizes, and asphericity of individual particles. This tool could be used for research, weather and healthcare fields concerned by air quality, contamination and pollution.

     

    Additional Links
    More about Graspeo
    Check out the latest news from Plair!
    Be the next venture kicker!

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    AOT AG, Pionierpreis 2014 winner.

    venture kicker took CHF 98'696.04 home!

    Di. 15.04.2014, 15:30

    We have the pleasure of announcing the winners of the Pionierpreis 2014. For the first time three venture kick Alumni were nominated. AOT AG who developed a laser light to reinvent bone surgery beat out Medyria AG and Monolitix AG and took home CHF 98'696.04....Read more

    The first product developed by AOT is a computer-assisted, robot-guided Laser Osteotomy (CARLO). This innovative medical device cuts the bones without contact during complex cranial interventions or during other challenging operations. CARLO enables new sectional geometries, is extremely precise, leads to rapid healing and improves security.


    Launch across Europe
    The market entry is planned for no later than beginning of 2016. Increased precision and new safety systems will be analyzed this summer. The final clinical tests are scheduled for 2015, so that nothing stands in the way of the approaching launch in Europe. The priority target markets will be public hospitals and private clinics.

    Initial financial support thanks to venture kick
    AOT was founded as a spin-off from the high-tech research center of the University of Basel in 2011 by oral and maxillofacial surgeons Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans-Florian Zeilhofer and PD Dr. Philipp Jürgens, the software and robotics engineer Prof. Dr. Philippe Cattin C. and the laser physicist Dr. Alfredo Bruno. Since then, nine employees have been working for AOT in Basel. As of March 2014, the company is certified as a manufacturer of medical devices according to DIN 13485:2012.

    To establish a good foundation for the startup from the very beginning, Dr. Alfredo Bruno participated in Venture Kick. With success: in September 2010 he won the prize of 130,000 CHF - an important funding capital to cope with the initial founding steps and search for experts. He also completed venturelab courses. When asked how he assessed the promotion of Venture Kick and venturelab today, Dr. Bruno replied enthusiastically at the award ceremony yesterday: “It was the first money that supported our startup and with which we could make our project go ahead. The money was not the only thing that helped us, indeed the support from the dedicated and competent trainers from venture kick and venturelab brought our startup many valuable things.”

    The 2014 finalists
    At the award ceremony, two other venture kick and venturelab alumni were honored: Medyria AG manufactures technical solutions for catheter navigation and for the measurement of blood flow. Monolitix AG develops and markets innovative mechanisms for medical and micro- technology. All three finalists aim to facilitate the daily work of doctors and ensure high quality medical care for the patients.


    Additional Links
    More about AOT AG
    Get your kick here !

  • calcisco.jpg
    Matthias Meier and Andreas Pasch, CALCISCO founders

    twingtec.jpg
    Corey Houle and Rolf Luchsinger, TwingTec founders

    10 questions to our venture kick winners!

    Mo. 14.04.2014, 16:20

    The jury awarded Twingtec and CALCISCO, each of them winning CHF 130’000, the maximum funding granted by venture kick. TwingTec, an EMPA spin-off, develops and markets a new wind energy technology. CALCISCO, based at the University Hospital Bern, develops and commercializes the first diagnostic blood test available for the early detection of calcification propensity in patient blood. ...Read more

    How and why did you launch your startup?
    Matthias Meier, CALCISCO : Dr Andreas Pasch and I first met at a large Swiss-wide research initiative (NCCR Kidney.CH). When Andreas in 2012 published his novel blood test (T50 test) for determining the calcification propensity in blood, we started to think about a possible commercialization of the T50 test. After a first evaluation of the in-vitro diagnostic market potential, and after several discussions with friends and former colleagues from the medtech and biotech field, we decided to participate in VK I. Short after we founded CALCISCO AG.

    Rolf Luchsinger, TwingTec: About six years ago we started to build at Empa large kites with our new light-weight structure Tensairity in order to learn, how this can be integrated into wings. This worked so well that we suddenly understood we discovered the key to build the highly efficient, ultra-light kites needed to harvest wind energy. In parallel, Corey Houle at FHNW looked into ways to produce electrical power with kites. When he saw our new kites on the Swiss TV show Einstein, he contacted us. This was like a perfect match: we had the wing, he had the ground station and power electronics. So we teamed up, managed to get a two years joint research project granted, made the proof of concept and launched TwingTec last summer. 

    What stage of its development is CALCISCO today? What are the next steps?
    MM: In the meantime we started our operations at Inselspital Bern, where we setup our own R&D laboratories. We have two developer employed helping to optimize the T50 test for routine clinical application. Today the test already runs in a research setup and is offered as research service. We hope to be able to offer the test by the end of this year already for to the doctors for clinical use at Inselspital in Bern. By the end of 2015 we plan to have the T50 test validated and CE marked for the use in Europe.

    How is TwingTec positioned regards to your competitors (on the market)?
    RL: Our product generates electrical energy out of the wind. Compared to a wind turbine, our system doesn’t need a tower and a foundation. We can save up to 90% of the material of a wind turbine. Furthermore, we can fly higher up where there is stronger and more consistent wind. As a result, the costs of energy are considerably lower than for a wind turbine. Our mobile system has a minimal environmental impact and opens up new options and sites both on- and off-shore for wind power. There are also a number of competitors developing similar kitepower systems. Here we differentiate by our unique wing and control concept which allows for maximal safety and efficiency. 

    Why did you apply for venture kick?
    MM: Venture kick provides an excellent opportunity to present your idea to a professional and critical audience. And with a bit of luck, by passing the first round, venture kick helps to continuously improving your idea and forming a real business project.

    Explain how the venture kick program helped TwingTec?
    RL: venture kick covers the unique time of a start-up a few months before incorporation until a few months after. During this time, we got a frank feed-back to our plans and business, we had three opportunities to pitch and finally, we got some money, too. It’s a bit like the Voice of Switzerland: guiding no named potentials to the verge of having an impact. And this in a highly inspiring and professional way. It’s a competition, you go for it, you give it all but in the end, whatever happens, you can only win.

    How did you convince the jury?
    MM: Difficult question, maybe some of the jury members better should answer this. However, two main points might have been the large business potential and the team behind it.

    What kind of advice would you give to another young entrepreneur?
    RL: Talk to people, spread the news, listen, learn and adapt. You can find good support for start-ups in Switzerland. Make use of it!

    Why would you recommend the venture kick program to other startups?
    MM: The venture kick program gives you not only the chance to win some money, but to pitch, and to learn to sell your vision. And you might get the opportunity to also participate in the exceptional helpful kicker’s camps.

    What do you think is the impact of the venture kick program on the Swiss startup industry?
    RL: If one sees how many of the successful Swiss startups over the last years have gone through it, vkick obviously must have an impact. For us, venture kick really made a difference.
     

    Additional Links
    More about CALCISCO
    More about TwingTec
    Get your kick here !

  • tawipay.jpg
    Laurent Oberholzer and François Briod from TawiPay

    lunaphore.jpg
    Ata Tuna Ciftlik, Déborah Heintze and Diego Gabriel Dupouy, Lunaphore co-founders

    locatee.jpg
    Benedikt Köppel, Locatee CEO

    gimball.jpg
    Patrick Thévoz and Adrien Briod, Gimball co-founders

    4 startups got the first kick (CHF 10'000)

    Do. 10.04.2014, 16:30

    TawiPay, Lunaphore, Locatee and Gimball are the fortunate winners of venture kick’s first stage. They got kick with CHF 10’000 of pre-seed capital. venture kick will allow them to expand their project and compete for CHF 20'000 next stage. Moreover the CEO of Gimball and Lunaphore were selected to be part of the Swiss national startup team 2014 and will fly to Boston and New York this June....Read more

    TawiPay is a comparison website for international money transfer services, targeting in particular remittances reaching the unbanked in the global south. As the difference in fees between the best option and traditional money transfer operators is often significant (up to 12 percentage points), finding the cheapest way to send money is a game changer for migrants sending money home.



    Lunaphore has developed an innovative tumor analysis and classification platform with the potential to be a disruptive alternative to classical immunohistochemistry. An immunohistochemical assay now takes only 5 minutes, compared to 2-8h for current standards.
     


    More and more large companies offer mobile workplaces where employees can choose their workplace every day. This enables the company to reduce their real estate costs.  Locatee helps these companies to measure their office space usage, identify potential for real estate cost savings and increase their employees’ productivity in such a mobile workplace.
     


    Gimball is an insect-inspired micro-drone which can collide on obstacles and continue its flight undisturbed. It opens new horizons for robots in search and rescue, industrial inspection, law enforcement, entertainment and communication.

     

    Additional Links
    Get your kick here !

  • verkaufen_ch_cooundceo1.jpg
    COO Peter Oertlin (Ex-CEO ricardo) and CEO Rouven Küng

    New holding in fast-growing Recommerce business

    Mi. 09.04.2014, 11:00

    Ringier Digital and b-to-v Partners are investing in the venturelab alumnus verkaufen.ch (vendre.ch, vendere.ch) – further joint investments in Swiss start-ups are planned....Read more

    The two companies will thereby hold 20% of the start-up's shares. Through media services from all Ringier business segments, the move represents Ringier's first foray into the media-for-equity investment arena. Recommerce AG will not only benefit from the outstanding media reach but from the business acumen of successful entrepreneurs in the Ringier and b-to-v network.

    Together with b-to-v Partners, the leading network of entrepreneurial private investors, Ringier Digital is buying a 20% share of the innovative e-commerce platform verkaufen.ch. In addition to financial investments by both partners, Ringier Digital's participation will also involve a media-for-equity arrangement. The concept of exchanging advertising time and space for a share of revenue or equity enables start-ups to generate a significant advertising impact, conduct effective target-group-specific marketing and thereby accelerate brand development.

    Thomas Kaiser, Chief Digital Officer at Ringier: “Ringier Digital engages in fast-growing consumer markets. The sale of private, second-hand consumer products has huge potential. Moreover, Recommerce AG has a dedicated and experienced team with a clever, scalable business concept.” In addition to media services, Ringier is also offering its technical expertise as the largest Swiss media company. Recommerce COO Peter Oertlin is delighted: “Having two such experienced partners on board is a great sign that we're on the right track. Thanks to the media-for-equity deal, we'll be able to introduce our services to a wider public.”

    Other joint investments planned
    As a diversified media company active in the strategic segments of publishing, digital and entertainment, Ringier wants to continue accelerating innovation and investing in selected, forward-looking Swiss start-ups together with b-to-v Partners. Florian Schweitzer, partner and co-founder of b-to-v, on the collaboration with Ringier: “With our combined strength in terms of financial support, expertise and networks, we can provide young Swiss start-ups with even more sustained support.”

    Additional Links
    More information about verkaufen.ch
    Startup Wanted! Ringier is looking for promising startups

  • calcisco-1.jpg
    Matthias Meier and Dr. Andreas Pasch, founder of CALCISCO

    twingtec_300_400.jpg
    Corey Houle and Dr. Rolf Luchsinger, Co-Founder of TwingTec

    TwingTec and CALCISCO win the CHF 130’000 final kick

    Mo. 07.04.2014, 11:20

    Four high-potential Swiss startups competed in a highly competitive final round in Lausanne. The Jury awarded Twingtec and CALCISCO, each of them winning CHF 130’000, the maximum funding granted by venture kick. TwingTec, an EMPA spin-off, develops and markets a new wind energy technology. CALCISCO, based at the University Hospital Bern, develops and commercializes the first diagnostic blood test available for the early detection of calcification propensity in patient blood....Read more

    Find renewable energy is a main preoccupation for politics and citizens. One of the issues in this field is that the production costs of clean energy are still too high. Rolf Luchsinger, co-founder of TwingTec, thought about an affordable alternative to current wind energy solutions.
     
    Revolutionary kites producing electricity
    The higher you go, the stronger the wind is. With this in mind, TwingTec, developed a fully autonomous kite linked to a ground station that goes higher than traditional wind turbines. The ultra-lightweight kite flying figure eights over 100m is able to produce electricity for 45 Swiss households. Contrary to wind turbines, the installation of TwingTec doesn’t need a tower and foundation. This technology includes also a disruptive solution to make the kite launch and land autonomously when the wind isn’t blowing anymore.

    Rolf Luchsinger comments: “venture kick brought us the customer and investor perspective we needed to go further. The three venture kick stages pushed us to improve our case. It is different than other business plan competitions, it brings you to the next level thanks to the guidance of highly inspiring and dedicated people!” TwingTec is currently testing and optimizing their demonstrator. The venture kick funding will be used to design the first pilot system planned for next year.
     
    New hope for kidney patients
    Chronic kidney disease affects 5-10% of the population in developed countries. Vascular and soft tissue calcification leading to cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death of renal patients worldwide and is therefore a major challenge for health-care systems. CALCISCO develops and commercializes the first and only diagnostic blood test available to determine the calcification propensity in blood, which will help to better treat these patients and improve their survival. This offers exciting new opportunities for the early detection of patients with an elevated risk of calcification, and for the direction and monitoring of their treatment. The novel blood test already showed a direct correlation with all-cause mortality in a clinical study over six years in 180 patients with chronic kidney disease. The Bernese biotech startup, founded by Matthias Meier and Dr. Andreas Pasch, plans to offer the test at Inselspital Bern already by the end of this year for clinical use.

    “venture kick was extremely helpful and inspiring to make the very best of our business idea. This, along with the most welcome financial support, continuously motivated us to move on and bring our venture on the right way”, add Matthias Meier and Dr. Andreas Pasch.

    Additional Links
    More about TwingTec
    More about CALCISCO
    Get the kick!

  • Capture47.JPG

    Entrepreneurs from Haïti need you !

    Do. 03.04.2014, 09:15

    Haiti Entrepreneurship Camp Summer is looking for a trainer for a two week entrepreneurship workshop from 2nd to 14th June 2014 in Port-au-Prince. venturelab decided to support this workshop by sponsoring the trainer’s flight to Haiti....Read more

    The goal is to empower local young entrepreneurs in Haiti to become tomorrow’s community leaders.
    This will offer employment opportunities and a path out of the currently omnipresent poverty for themselves and others.
     
    The workshop will be handled for about 30 entrepreneurs during which trainers from around the world will share tools and knowledge about the various aspects of running a successful business.
     
    What is provided to the trainer:
    ·         Sponsored flight to Haiti by venturelab
    ·         Private accommodation in Haiti
    ·         Social program covering cultural and touristic activities
     
    Trainer’s responsabilities:
    ·  Cover one of the 6 areas: general business models, business planning, basic finance, marketing, team/HR, legal and compliance
    · Conduct the workshop on the subject chosen (2-3 days)
    · Create the course materials for the module
    · Provide the right mixture of theoretical and practical knowledge. Hands-on approach
     
    The trainer is free to structure the session as she/he feels will be the most beneficial.
     
    Application:
    If you want to get involved and apply for the trainer position, please send us an email to marcom@venturelab.ch with:

    -          A resume / short biography
    -          The area you want to teach

    Deadline : 30th April 2014

    Additional Links
    More about this project !

  • DSC_0021.jpg
    David Kiermeir, Medopticon

    DSC_0025.jpg
    Adrian Hirt, Alpenhirt

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    Matthias Wiget and James Chiang, Eturnity

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    The Versantis-Team

    4 venture pitch winners got the kick

    Mo. 24.03.2014, 09:00

    Medopticon, Alpenhirt, Versantis and Eturnity are the fortunate winners of venture kick’s first stage. They got kick with CHF 10’000 of pre-seed capital. venture kick will allow them to expand their project and compete for CHF 20'000 next stage. Moreover the CEO of Versantis was selected to be part of the Swiss national startup team 2014 and will fly to Boston and New York this June....Read more


    Medopticonis
    developing intelligent operation lamps for surgeons that intuitively self-adjust to guarantee optimal illumination and increased patient safety. 





    Alpenhirt remastered a well-guarded and unique family recipe for chemical-free Bündnerfleisch -
    a traditional air-dried beef specialty of Switzerland for quality and health-conscious consumer.





    Eturnity has developed an intelligent tool that allows homeowners to tailor a unique solar power plant design to their specific daily consumption profile.





    Versantis is a spin-off from ETH Zurich developing a versatile antidote, capable of removing diverse toxic agents from the organism. With its innovative approach, Versantis aims at saving patients from metabolic intoxications, and from prescription and illicit drug overdoses.



    Additional Links
    Is your business idea good enough? Get the kick

  • fk picture.jpg
    Fernand Kaufmann

    Exclusive interview : Fernand Kaufmann - venture kick jury member.

    Fr. 21.03.2014, 16:15

    Fernand Kaufmann, retired senior corporate executive of Dow Chemical and early practitioner of corporate venture capital, was board member of Verenium, a US industrial biotechnology company and former CEO and chairman of HPL, an EPFL based startup sold to Dow Chemical. He is now venture kick jury member and advisor to Emerald Technology Ventures. He agreed to answer a few questions and gave us must-know entrepreneurial tips....Read more

    From your long business experience, how would you describe the entrepreneurial scene in Switzerland?
     
    FK: Key to entrepreneurship is, in my eyes, an excellent science education and research structure, a society open to the outside world, a gene pool of successful small and medium companies, an adequate availability of capital and the support by public and private financial grants. Switzerland has all this and the start-up scene is active and reasonably strong. It would be desirable to provide a yet stronger education in the basics of business skills and entrepreneurship at ETH/EPFL level and allow for more early business experiments by students.
     
    What would you recommend to future entrepreneurs?
     
    First, have an idea and/or innovation of substance, an original idea not based on me-too thinking or with a marginal customer value improvement only. Today I see many imitative social network or e-commerce system projects with only marginal added value. Value is only created if the project shows a significant, at least 20%, benefit improvement.
     
    Second, structure your project in terms of value creation opportunity (explain why your smart innovative idea or product potentially has a large market and a good margin) and value capture opportunity (explain how your team will gain and keep paying customers). Quite often the innovation is good in terms of value creation, but the start-up team cannot capture the value in the market place. Reasons can be many: its own insufficient experience, the competitive environment, too big a capital need, too long a time to market and more.
     
    Third, spend a lot of time upfront getting outside validation. To succeed, even the best innovative idea needs external expert validation and the confrontation with the marketplace. So, get early customer and market validation, and then get it again and again over time. A continuously refined external perspective is key to value capture.
     
    Finally and not least, present your business plan in a clear, concise, compelling and convincing manner. Base your working hypothesis of the business plan on validated external fact sources. Show passion, but no hype; show conviction, but stay humble.
     
     
    What areas do you find particularly interesting as an investor?

    Materials, smart devices, biotechnology products or platform technologies, biomedical devices, renewable energy and sustainability technologies. In general I believe the app and social networking software era has peaked, at least for now. Physical devices and products are the new Eldorado, again at least for now. Examples are 3-D printing, robotics, drones, connectivity devices, biomedical devices, renewable energy products and more.
     
    What are the main arguments that you consider when investing?
     
    I need to gain the conviction that the team has a real ability and competency to create value and to capture the value for the company. The combination of skill-set of the team AND the quality of idea-innovation need to be compelling.
     
     
    What tips can you pass along for startups which are in the process of securing their financing?

    Get your facts right, avoid unnecessary hype and distractions.
    Remember that you are talking to experienced people who have seen and lived hundreds of business cases; so no sense in being too smart for your own good or in taking shortcuts. Also remember that their attention span can be somewhat short.
    Refine your presentation, practice it, then refine it again and practice again. Keep it as clear and short and simple as possible, but prepare back-ups for potential questions.
     
     
    What motivated you to become a venture kick jury member?
     
    In my business life I had the opportunity and luck to gain a lot of different experiences around the world, in large and small companies. As a retiree I now have the time and the desire to give back to society. Venture kick is a valuable cause and a well-structured undertaking, so it is worth the support.
     
     
    What is your impression on the venture kick process?
     
    It has the right balance between the business-plan process questions and the underlying entrepreneurship philosophy. The quality of the coaching activity however is absolutely key.
     
     
    What do the startups get from such a program?

    (excluding the financial aspect)
     
    They get a reasoned point-of-view by experienced business people, who have seen many business successes and failures, many combinations of good/bad business plans associated with more or less skilled teams implementing them; in short, it is a valuable, diverse and knowledge based coaching and counseling structure.
     
     
    In your opinion, what impact does venture kick have in the Swiss startup-scene?

     
    Venture kick is an important building block in the overall start-up scene. It provides a good forum for a start-up not only to gain early financial support, but also to receive early public recognition. The overall communication and outreach activity works well. And venture kick appears to be well wired into the overall Swiss investor, public funding and educational structure.

    Many thanks !

    Additional Links
    More about Fernand Kaufmann

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    Vincent Delattre, CEO G-Therapeutics

    Scientific Breakthroughs - Videointerview with G-Therapeutics

    Fr. 21.03.2014, 10:00

    G-Therapeutics is a spin-off from Prof. Courtine's laboratory (EPFL) which aims at restoring functional motor control in spinal cord injury patients. There is currently no solution for promoting the recovery of locomotion of paraplegic patients after spinal cord injury. ...Read more

    G-Therapeutics is developing an implantable stimulation system and a robot-assisted training program to rehabilitate individuals with spinal cord injury. The approach developed in the G-Therapeutics laboratory is enabling fully paralyzed animal to walk again with a success rate of 100%. Now G-Therapeutics have to translate these scientific breakthroughs in an intervention for humans.

    In our videointerview Vincent Delattre talks about his next milestones, his experience with venture kick and gives tips to other startups:


    Additional Links
    More about G-Therapeutics
    We want to double the number of spin-offs! More about venture kick

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TOP 100 Startups

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60 venture kickers made it to the TOP 100 startups

Each year, startup.ch launches the TOP 100 STARTUP AWARD in cooperation with the Handelszeitung. From over 100,000 young companies, the 100 most innovative and promising Swiss startups are picked by top startup experts.

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venture leaders

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venture kick

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  • 60 venture kickers made it to the TOP 100 startups

    Each year, startup.ch launches the TOP 100 STARTUP AWARD in cooperation with the Handelszeitung. From over 100,000 young companies, the 100 most innovative and promising Swiss startups are picked by top startup experts.

    Check out the TOP 100
  • Kick your startup idea to success with venture kick

    venture kick helps potential entrepreneurs by giving them the opportunity to win up to CHF 130,000. Moreover, startups can use the know-how of experienced experts and entrepreneurs and be granted access to a network of investors.

    More
  • Swiss startups ready to take over the World.

    The venture leaders have a clear-cut goal. They envision themselves as global players and want to take the first step to their global expansion. The ten-day business development program is specifically structured to help them achieve this goal.

    More
  • The first address for Startups in Switzerland

    More than 50.000 startups were accompanied by the IFJ. A little more then 25 years ago, we have made it our mission to guide these entrepreneurs on their way to successful businesses. So they can develop their role as a part of the Swiss economy.

    More