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

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    The great news was announced via Lemoptix's website yesterday (25 March 2015).

    Lemoptix acquired by Intel Corporation

    Do. 26.03.2015, 13:00

    The transaction was completed on March 17th 2015. The four founders, Nicolas Abelé, Faouzi Khechana, Lucio Kilcher and Marco Boella and the whole Lemoptix team thank all of our partners, investors and supporters who contributed to the development of the company....Read more

    Lemoptix enables next generation mobile human/machine interaction and augmented reality with its patented MEMS laser scanning micro projection technology and solutions. Applications of Lemoptix technology range from automotive head up displays (HUD) to embedded projectors in smartphones and low power wearable displays and 3D sensing. Lemoptix has developed multidisciplinary and world-leading expertise in MEMS-mirror modelling, design and fabrication, system and module development, including optical and electronics subsystems.

    In 2006, Lemoptix was part of the venture leaders USA program in Boston, where CTO and co-founder Nicolas Abelé benefited from an intense business development program. The company is also a Venture Kick alumnus.

    Don't miss Nicolas Abelé's talk at the Startup Champions event on 22 April (2PM - 5PM) which will also mark the kick-off of the venture leaders USA 2015 program at EPFL Rolex Center. Information & registration here.

    After Composyt Light Labs early 2015, Lemoptix is the second EPFL spin-off to be acquired by Intel. Both stories are truly inspiring for the overall innovation community of western Switzerland.

    More information in today’s Bilan Magazine article  (in French).

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    Co-founder from ZUM GUTEN HEINRICH Remo Bebié

    Nickolay Todoroff from SYGENIO

    Bertrand Klaiber from GlobalDiagnostiX

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    Antonio Barresi from Xorlab

    Hats off to four Venture Kick winners

    Do. 26.03.2015, 10:00

    "Why would someone buy this?" is a question that can stump startups as they try to explain their value proposition. Fortunately for four startups pitching in the first round at Venture Kick session, the answers were both compelling and realistic....Read more

    ZUM GUTEN HEINRICH uses food surplus products to create tasty, healthy and carbon neutral lunch menus. The menus are distributed using a cargo bike that serves as a mobile food stand.

    SYGENIO's technology enables real-time browsing through the universe of chemical and biological information. They empower their pharma and biotech clients to focus on their strengths by significantly increasing the throughput, speed and quality of their R&D, and ultimately cutting the skyrocketing costs of drug discovery.

    GlobalDiagnostiX project's team has designed a novel medical X-ray technology for the context of resource-constraint settings, i.e. two thirds of humanity that have still no access to this basic diagnostic instrument. This first robust and low-cost digital radiography equipment can reach large yet untapped markets, achieving both profitability and social impact.

    Xorlab develops effective and innovative IT security solutions. The core technology, SploitGuard, detects and prevents software-based attacks that exploit previously unknown software vulnerabilities.

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

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    20 new entrepreneurs and startups forming the 2015 venture leaders USA team are on their way to global expansion

    The Swiss National Startup Team ready to conquer the USA

    Mi. 25.03.2015, 14:00

    The winners of the venture leaders USA 2015 prize have been chosen after a highly competitive selection process, among Switzerland’s most promising startups. More than a 100 of them applied. The 20 high-tech startups forming the “Swiss National Startup team” will travel to Boston and New York in June for an intense 10 days entrepreneurial business development trip, organized in partnership with swissnex Boston. With the 15th edition of the program, Swiss innovation continues to demonstrate its potential for global expansion thanks to high-tech products such as a revolutionary device for surgical knee ligament reconstruction, a smart digital insurance manager or a wearable biometrics solution based on vein recognition....Read more

    20 Swiss startups ready to take over the US market
    “I am really happy to be part of the adventure”, says Deepak Tewari, CEO of Privately, one of the 20 winners of the program. He will be able to bring his “right-to-be-forgotten” privacy solutions, allowing private data protection on social networks, on the other side of the Atlantic. The trip includes presentations to investors and industry experts. The 19 other startups launching a large array of high-tech products and services in many domains (i.e. Biotech, Internet, Software, Micro- and Nano- Tech, Electronics, Robotics, Engineering, Fintech) will also represent Swiss made innovation in the US.

    Don’t miss the venture leaders 2015 pitch at the Startup Champions event of April 22nd at EPFL Rolex Center from 2PM to 5PM: Subscribe now! Keynotes: Jurgi Camblong, Sophia GeneticsCEO, and Nicolas Abelé, Lemoptix CTO (recently acquired by Intel).

    Identify and promote Switzerland’s most promising startups
    “Venture leaders identifies and promotes some of the most promising Swiss startups at an international level, one of the key missions of venturelab. This year’s team of talented individual entrepreneurs is a unique display and promotion for the numerous high potential startups created every year in Switzerland. I am very much looking forward to bringing the 15th edition of this incredible program to Boston and New York”, says Jordi Montserrat, Managing Director of venturelab in western Switzerland. Dr. Felix Moesner, CEO of swissnex Boston, adds: “Boston counts one of the highest concentration of brainpower in the world. And New York’s high-tech scene has grown exponentially over the past years, counting a very large network of venture capitalists. Both ecosystems will strongly contribute to the global expansion of this year’s venture leaders“.

    Impact on a global scale
    The venture leaders program is a cornerstone behind the success of numerous Swiss startups over the past 15 years. Many alumni raised several hundred million Swiss francs from investors and created thousands of new jobs. 72 of them are listed among Switzerland’s 2014 TOP 100 Startup Ranking. Above all, they are truly building world-class startups such as Abionic, BioVersys, Covagen, Climeworks, Doodle, GetYourGuide, HouseTrip, L.E.S.S., QualySense, Poken or InSphero.

    Venture leaders USA partners
    This year’s trip and business development program, worth the equivalent of CHF 10’000 per participant, is made possible thanks to the support of our partners EPFL Innovation Park, EPF Lausanne, Canton de Vaud, ETH Zurich and CTI. IMMOMIG, a member of the Swiss National Startup Team in 2007, is also supporting the initiative, setting a valued precedent of former alumni giving back to the Swiss startup community. The long-time partners swissnex Boston and the “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year” program have also renewed their support.

    The venture leaders USA 2015 at a glance

    Alicia Hegglin, BioRevels AG – Biotech (, Zurich
    BioRevels develops a solution for cheaper diagnostic tests. Thanks to its novel one-time use consumable and the 3 dimensional test procedure, current tests can be performed up to six times faster and with ten times less reagents.

    Betim Shkodra, homePad Solutions SA – Internet (, Fribourg
    homePad develops the first simple and intuitive paperless solution for real estate managers. The digital application allows generating different type of secured reports (i.e. property inspection, house or building reports).

    Chris Millan, CellSpring – Biotech (, Zurich
    CellSpring brings fundamental improvements to cell-based in vitro studies. Its core technology, the “3D Bloom platform”, enables the creation of biomimetic micro tissues in a matter of minutes.

    Christian Brändli, Insightness GmbH – Electronics/Software (, Zurich
    Insightness develops high-speed and low-power vision systems for mobile robotics and smart glasses. Their camera chips and software are suited for motion measurements, as well as mapping and obstacle avoidance.

    Deepak Tewari, Privately Sàrl – Software (, Lausanne
    Privately’s “right-to-be-forgotten” solutions keep user’s content private, secure and removable on social networks. Combining end-user encryption applications (B2C), API and a service-provider platform (B2B), Privately provides an end-to-end solution for protecting users’ private content shared digitally.

    Dennis Just, Knip AG – Fintech (, Zurich
    Knip is the digital insurance navigator that simplifies its users’ life. They can see all their insurance policies at a glance. The application eliminates the insurance hassle for individuals, i.e. by handling all insurances in one application or by providing a detailed description of insurance policies, one-by-one.

    Flurin Müller, BuddyBroker AG (Eqipia) – Internet (, Zurich
    BuddyBroker crafts innovative and intuitive online recruiting products such as Eqipia, an automated and intelligent employee referral tool. The solution allows companies to leverage their employees’ networks in order to find and approach potential applicants.

    Hans-Anton Keserue, rqmicro LLC – Biotech (, Zurich
    rqmicro develops a novel system for the rapid detection of water and food pathogens, consisting of analytical instrumentation and consumable kits that enable the quantification of dangerous microorganisms in less than an hour.

    Lucian Cucu, Rovenso – Robotics (, Lausanne
    Rovenso develops agile, robotized vehicles for nuclear decommissioning and emergency situations.

    Matthias Vanoni, BIOWATCH – Electronics (, Martigny
    BIOWATCH develops a wearable biometric technology as an alternative solution to current authentication methods (PIN, passwords, cards, keys, fingerprint, face), based on vein recognition.

    Miguel Barreto-Sanz, SimplicityBio – Biotech & Bioinformatics (, Monthey
    SimplicityBio helps diagnostic companies minimize risks in the development of diagnostic tests. It also helps pharmaceutical companies design clinical trials by improving patient stratification, enabling discovery of the best responder population.

    Miroslav Caban, Spinal Dynamics – Medtech (, Lausanne
    A medical software providing diagnostic and surgical guidance for patient-specific spinal cord stimulation therapies.

    Pascal Koenig, Ava AG – Medtech (, Zurich
    Ava develops a wearable medical device based on a patented multi-sensor technology, which monitors the menstrual cycle of women in order to precisely indicate fertile days and facilitate family planning. Compared with other methods and tools in the market, Ava’s solution is more convenient and precise.

    Patrick Galliker, Scrona AG – Engineering (, Zurich Scrona develops print heads based on its proprietary “NanoDrip” printing, a groundbreaking ink-jet technology that achieves a printing resolution up to 1000fold finer than the width of a human hair. In combination with commercially available nano printing inks, the system enables complex products, such as displays and touchscreens, to be simply printed in a cost-efficient and flexible manner.

    Pius Kobler, milKit Sport Components AG - Engineering (, Zurich
    milKit is a novel system that allows to measure and refill sealant in tubeless bicycle tires without having to release the air pressure. milKit Sport Components AG provides an easy solution for a flat-free ride.

    Ruben Herrendorff, Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG – Biotech (, Basel
    Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals develops a promising class of drugs for the treatment of autoimmune diseases affecting the nervous system. Their Antibody-Catch® platform and their first drug candidate pave the way for a new treatment paradigm for antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases.

    Sandro Kunz, Pingen GmbH – Internet (, Zurich
    Pingen is a solution to transform an electronic document into a physical letter and have it delivered via the Post automatically and in the most efficient way.

    Simone Bottan, Hylomorph AG – Medtech (, Zurich
    Hylomorph has developed cellulose layers that allow surgeons to minimize foreign body reaction and fibrosis upon operation, thus reducing patient’s pain and revision surgery rates.

    Veronica Savu, Morphotonix Sàrl – Micro-Nano (, Lausanne
    Morphotonix protects brands against counterfeits via integrating additive-free security elements directly in molded products.

    Xiang Li, ZuriMED Technologies – Medtech (, Zurich
    ZuriMED commercializes a revolutionary device for surgical knee ligament reconstruction, the “Bone-Tendon-Bone (BTB) Conversion-Kit™”. The solution effectively converts a less painful hamstring autograft (a patient’s own tissue), or any other flexible graft material, into a higher performance BTB-like graft.

    Additional Links
    Check out our venture leaders Alumni
    Visit swissnex Boston's website

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    The AVA team

    The WealthArc team

    Venture Case shows the latest startups out there

    Mo. 23.03.2015, 10:00

    Two promising high-tech startups deserved the support of the Venture Kick jury and got awarded with CHF 20’000 each. One is working on the future of birth control, the other develops a new generation of asset management systems in the cloud....Read more

    Ava is developing a wearable medical device which monitors the menstrual cycle of women in order to precisely indicate fertile days and thus facilitate family planning. Compared with other tools/methods in the market it will be significantly more convenient, as well as more precise, based on a patented multi-sensor technology.

    WealthArc is developing an asset management system in the cloud. With WealthArc, each asset management company can do what a big investment does. The solutions is offered in a SaaS model and covers the entire investment process from idea generation to client and regulatory reporting. 

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

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    Fabian Nater and Helmut Grabner at a venture kick jury

    Logitech buys ETH spin-off Upicto

    Fr. 13.03.2015, 14:00

    Logitech bought Upicto, a venturelab and venture kick Alumnus. Upicto developed a software which can autonomously analyze the content of videos – a promising technology....Read more

    Very recently, the computer equipment manufacturer bought the spin-off of the Computer Vision Lab at ETH. Award winning Upicto developped an algorithm that analyzes the content of videos, choses relevant moments and makes them available. The software recognizes important moments autonomously.

    Fabian Nater, co-founder of Upicto, will now work for Logitech together with his team.

    A great success for our venturelab and venture kick Alumnus
    In 2013, Upicto was part of the venture leaders USA adventure in Boston and won the Swisscom Startup Challenge in Silicon Valley. The startup is also a venture kick Alumnus. Congratulations to Fabian Nater and his team!

    Additional Links
    Read the article by Handelszeitung about the deal (11.03.2015)
    Read the article by Le Temps (12.03.2015)
    Accelerate your startup with venturelab!
    More about the Swisscom StartUp Challenge
    Is your project good enough? Kick-start your startup with venture kick

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    CEO of noonee and the capitan of the Swiss National Startup Team 2014, Keith Gunura

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    On Chairless Chair you are still using your muscles while sitting.

    The Chairolution has officially begun

    Mi. 11.03.2015, 10:00

    Last week the the venture leaders and venture kick winner of 2014 noonee has finalized the first field trial of their "chairolutionary" device: the Chairless Chair. The first company to test the prototypes was the leading German car manufacturer Audi. In the dynamic and fast paced manufacturing environment, the device received positive feedback from the first testers....Read more

    The Chairless Chair is a wearable ergonomic sitting support. The main application is for the production lines, where traditional sitting methods are not suitable and represent obstacles in the work area. With the Chairless Chair the users walk together with the support while wearing it, without obstructing the work space. When the users need to sit, they only need to press a button to lock a desired sitting angle. This enables workers to sit for short periods of time while working and provide body-weight assistance in strenuous situations thus reducing the effects on their leg muscles. The best part of the Chairless Chair is that you can balance on it yourself, therefore you are still using your muscles.

    CEO of noonee and the capitan of the Swiss National Startup Team 2014, Keith Gunura, said: "The field trials mark a tremendous step toward the realisation of the Chairolution in both development and momentum. We and our partners made it happen, come rain come thunder! With the user feedback we collected we are now stepping up development of the Chairless Chair to bring it to an
    amazing product that provides the support needed while working. Our target is that early Q1 2016 there will be a ready product to push forward the Chairolution. lnterested companies can register their interest by sending us an email, contact information is available on our website. l'm on a Chairless Chair."

    Olga Motovilova, the CFO of noonee AG, said: "lt was one of the most exciting moments for us, when the very first tester with great ease started using the Chairless Chair in the extremely dynamic factory environment. Our hearts were definitely beating fast and when the user told us that the device works and he finds it great, we couldn't hide the smiles on our faces. We thank all of our partners, clients, suppliers, coaches, mentors, family and friends for their immense support and hard work! Now we just need to bring the Chairolution to the rest of the world! Who knows, maybe next time you come visit us, there will be only Chairless Chairs available in the meeting room."

    The founder of the design consultancy working on the project, Marc Sapetti, was also present during the first trial: "We are satisfied with the results of the tests, the feedback we got from this real case scenario is essential to improve the device, its usability and comfort, and to bring the design to the next level. lt's been an interesting journey and we feel we've done a huge step towards Chairolution."

    Apart from Sapetti design consultancy another official supporter and partner of noonee AG is the electronics developer Trenew Electronic AG, currently consulting the company in control systems.

    Sitting without a chair supported by venture kick
    The chairless chair ETH spin-off noonee won the venture kick final 2014. Their futuristic looking leg exoskeleton enables factory workers to relax their muscles and sit down during work - without the need for a chair. The lightweight mechatronic device helps to relieve the stress on leg muscles and joints. In the future it can reduce healthcare and associated costs. It is indeed a chair that walks with you. “venture kick really helped us focus our resources on what we had to do and also provide us some finances to develop the business. Without them we would have had a tough time travelling and marketing.” said Keith Gunura after the venture kick final in summer 2014.

    Additional Links
    Is your business idea good enough? Get the kick
    More information about the venture leaders program

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    © Bilan magazine

    Bilan Magazine: Here are the 50 startups in which to invest

    Di. 24.02.2015, 16:00

    Earlier this month and for the third consecutive year, western Switzerland’s magazine “Bilan” published its selection of promising startups looking for investors. In total, 25 venture kick Alumni were part of the selection....Read more

    At the beginning of the process, no less than 97 high-tech startups were pre-selected by Bilan’s editorial board and its partners. Then, a jury composed of experienced entrepreneurs, Lift Conference representatives and journalists analyzed and chose the 50 startups of this year’s edition.

    Among the 50 young companies in the cleantech, IT, electronics, Internet, medtech, biotech and luxury sectors, 25 are venture kick Alumni. Furthermore, 35 have been supported by venture kick as well as venturelab, and many were part of the venture leaders’ adventure in Boston and New York as well as China. Some are part of TOP 100 Swiss Startups of 2014, too.

    Bilan’ selection confirms that Swiss startups have a high growth potential, in Switzerland and abroad. Switzerland’s number one startup, InSphero, is for example in it. The ETH spin-off counts the world’s 15 most important pharmaceutical and biotech companies in its clients list. As per Bilan, it is looking for CHF 19 Mio to multiply its production sites in the United States and in Asia and develop its activity in personalized medicine.

    Discover the 25 venture kick startups in Bilan’s ranking below (an online version of the magazine will soon be available):


    eSMART, venture kick, venture leader China 2014, Alumnus venturelab, winner of the Swisscom Startup Challenge 2014:

    • Geosatis, venture kick, Swisscom StartUp Challenge 2014, TOP 100 Swiss Startups #92, Alumnus venturelab:
    • - Read the article about Geosatis in the 2014 annual report of venture kick here
    • - Read the article "Swisscom invests in TOP 100 startup" here
    • Bitspitters, venture kick
    • Flyability, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab, venture leader USA 2014
    • - Flyability is the winner of many prizes (p.ex. Hello Tomorrow, >>venture>>). It recently won USD 1M at the Drones For Good Award organized by the United Arab Emirates. Read the full news here
    • Gait Up, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab
    • Green TEG, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab
    • Scrona, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab
    • Xsensio, venture kick
    • - Read the interview of Xsensio's co-founder Esmeralda Megally here after winning the second stage of venture kick
    • Audiolize, venture kick, venture leader USA 2014
    • TawiPay, venture kick

    • Aeon Scientific, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab, venture leader USA 2011, TOP 100 Swiss Startups #69
      • - Read "Aeon Scientific creams off the Swiss Technology Award" (2014) here
    • Calcisco, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab, TOP 100 Swiss Startups #38
    •, venture kick, venture leader USA 2014
      • - G-Therapeutics won many awards and prizes in 2014, such as the Hello Tomorrow Challenge in Paris and the Universal Biotech Innovation Prize. Discover how the EPFL spin-off helps paralyzed people walk again in an article and video here (in French)
    • Lunaphore, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab, venture leader USA 2014, TOP 100 Swiss Startups #35 (Lunaphore is the youngest startup of the ranking).
    • - The EPFL spin-off was ranked Nr. 1 at the PERL Prize and received CHF 100.000 from the Fondation pour l'Innovation Technologique (FIT) in 2014. It is also one of the 5 best startups of Western Switzerland
    • Medirio, venture kick
    • Nanolive, venture kick, venture leader USA 2013
    • - Nanolive recently announced having received more than 40 pre-orders of its revolutionary microscope, the 3D Cell Explorer. Read the article written by the French weekly magazine BiotechFinances about Nanolive (in FR) here.

    • InSphero, Switzerland's Nr 1 startup, venture leader USA 2010, Alumnus venturelab and venture kick
    • - Discover InSphero on page 13 and 14 of venture kick's 2014 annual report on
    • PB&B, venture kick, venture leader USA 2014, Alumnus venturelab. In 2014, PB&B received the Innovation Trophy of the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG). It also raised CHF 300'000 at the end of 2014
    • SpiroChem, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab
    • Stemergie, venture kick, Alumnus venturelab, venture leader USA 2009
    • Versantis, venture kick, venture leader USA 2014
    • - Versantis won the final of venture kick early 2015. Find out how the ETH spin-off will be able to save lives here


    • Relish Brothers, venture kick, TOP 100 Swiss Startups #62
    • - Read our article about Relish Guitars and "Jane", their revolutionary electric guitar here

    Additional Links
    Is your project good enough? Kick-start your startup here

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    Daniel Dessauges and David Becker.

    "Swiss products always have a chance in the US"

    Mo. 23.02.2015, 18:00

    David Becker and Daniel Dessauges from zkipster launched their Guest List App for event professionals in 2009, solving the problem of paper lists for ever. Their idea was a good one: They now operate their business from New York and where virtual doormen at this year's Oscar Parties. ...Read more

    In an interview, we asked zkipster's co-founder and venture kick Alumnus David Becker about how to be successful on the US market and what is it like to live and work in New York.

    David, zkipster has become a big success since its débuts. How did it all start and when did you realize it was a great business idea?
    We are in a middle of a growing phase and see our successes rather as milestones. Six years ago, when we launched zkipster, we didn’t know what it meant to build a company. We’re now in the middle of this process. It is an exciting and fruitful time. We felt a company the first time we could pay salaries with our cash flow.

    Can one still have the chance to see you in Kaufleuten in Zurich?
    zkipster emerged from the student party “use it”! Once a year, the spring party “Sechseläuten” rocks the place in Kaufleuten. I always try to be there, even if New York is not exactly around the corner.

    Meanwhile, a lot of competitors have emerged. How hard is the battle to be the leader on your market?
    When we started, there was one competitor and now, dozens worldwide. It is important that we position ourselves clearly and we are working hard for this. Our customers make so-called "invite-only" events, as well as events where there are no tickets to buy. We are not a ticketing platform either. We rather concentrate on the needs of the guests: Simple registration, express check-in, personal greeting with face detection – guest management has still much room for improvement and we are building the technology to do so.

    You have been based in the United States since two years. How is it to live and work in New York?
    Actually, our life is almost entirely dedicated to work. I live five minutes walk from our office. On weekdays, we rarely come out before 9PM. In front of our Broadway office tower, we often see open roof buses for tourists. Seeing those passing by makes me realize I live in New York. It’s a great and satisfying feeling.

    How did venture kick help you and your business to be successful?
    venture kick helped us understand what it takes to build a company. With the money from our first round of financing, we have adapted the product to the market’s needs; something that we could not have managed on our own. The shift from the nightlife to the professional event management was a crucial step and made our product ready for fashion houses, museums and PR agencies of New York. The good thing about it is that what works in the Big Apple has good chances outside.

    What would be your tips for startups that want to make it in the States?
    The question is whether the product works better in the States than in Europe. For us it was clearly the case because Americans absorb new technologies into their processes quicker. When the iPad came on the market in 2010, the question here was not whether our app was going to be used, but when. Europe moves slowly, particularly in the B2B sector. Patented, solid and well-thought Swiss products always have a chance in the US. As such, we are an exception: our product can hardly be protected.

    In January this year, you announced that Julian Jaeger would be your new Chief Business Officer. What has changed since then and how is the collaboration going?
    Julian is thoroughly Swiss like us - we understand each other almost blind! He spent the last 15 years at the World Economic Forum and at the Clinton Global Initiative. He built extremely strong relationships there which we can now translate into new contracts and strategic partnerships. He is a godsend for us, and we for him - he wanted to work for a tech startup. We are a Swiss company with a strong presence in New York, which was very likeable for him.

    What are the next steps for zkipster?
    We build the guest list app as a suite of products for guest management, open up new regions and industries. We set ourselves high goals but remain “Swiss realistic” and stick to our principles. This is important just now, as we are coming into the New York tech scene and investors radars.

    Want to go global, just like zkipster? Become a venture leader USA

    Additional Links
    Is your idea good enough? Put it to the test with venture kick!

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    © Drones For Good

    “The Swiss flag flew next to the UAE flag over the podium”

    Mo. 23.02.2015, 09:20

    Flyability has won the «Drones For Good Award» in Dubai, with a prize of 1 Million dollars. A welcome sum for our venture kick Alumnus and venture leaders USA, who will now be able to apply its rescue drone, Gimball, to commercial uses....Read more

    On the 7th of February, Flyability won enough funding to accelerate the commercialization of Gimball, a civil drone capable of entering confined spaces and nearing people without danger. Its rotating cage allows it to handle difficult environments without losing its stability. Flyability is a spin-off from NCCR Robotics and the laboratory of Professor Dario Floreano at the EPFL (LIS Lab). Its technology is proof that flying robotics made in Switzerland has the potential to conquer the world and spawn a “Drone Valley” between EPFL and Zurich universities such as ETH. Let us recall that in 2012, the two venture kick alumni and EPFL spin-offs senseFly  (also from the LIS lab) and Pix4D wooed the large industrial group Parrot. This was possible thanks to eBee, a bio-robotics inspired drone capable of mapping an area in a completely autonomous manner, and a powerful 3D mapping software.

    A strong market growth
    Flyability is aiming for the niche market that is indoor flying, as well as flying in confined spaces. Its first clients are interested in industrial inspections of sites for electrical or chemical production, and even bridges, tunnels or chimneys. “Before Dubai, rescue applications were in our long-term vision. In this market, which is now in full expansion, it is very difficult to fund a product that is still in development. This prize clearly brings rescue upon our list of priorities”, explains Patrick Thévoz, CEO of Flyability, from Dubai. The startup is still looking for 1 Million Swiss francs to meet its objectives.

    In addition to rescue, civil unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications are numerous, such as surveillance, agriculture, media and more recently, package delivery. And these small flying robots are poised to conquer the world. According to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, the global market for civil and commercial UAVs is expected to reach two billion dollars this year. A study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) revealed that the US market alone for civil drones will represent $ 80 Billion for the 2015-2025 decade.

    Improve people's lives
    The Drones For Good Award, organized by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, is the only competition of this kind in the world. It aims to be active in turning innovative technologies into practical solutions to improve people's lives. For Flyability, the competition was a unique opportunity to show that its technology has much to contribute to society: "Passionate teams like ours can go ahead and make that a reality. Flyability will now be able to go where it is normally dangerous for emergency responders, and help save many lives." Since a few weeks, the Ecublens-based startup’s mailbox is exploding with collaboration proposals from Gulf countries but also from around the world.

    Drones, a new “eldorado” for the United Arab Emirates? According to Patrick Thévoz, "the royal family is personally interested in drones. This is part of Dubai’s diversification strategy, which involves new technologies. There is already some talk of a future edition of the competition dedicated to robotics in general. "

    "A pole of Swiss skills"
    In Dubai, Flyability showed the full potential of its technology to an international jury. During demonstrations in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (2nd from the left on the picture), against 39 other competitors: "We were the only ones to offer a completely different design to overcome one of the major challenges of the flying robotic, which is flying near obstacles and humans," says Patrick Thévoz.

    They were also the only Swiss startup in the competition: "The Swiss flag flew next to the UAE flag over the podium, but I do not think the 'Made in Switzerland' tag was instrumental. We were competing with many other countries (Germany, Spain, England, USA and Australia, among others). However, it is certain that a true centre of excellence in flying robotics is emerging in Switzerland."

    Swiss startups interest industry
    If Flyability recently won the heart of the United Arab Emirates, other venture kick Alumni have also attracted the industry. In 2012, Parrot, a global leader in wireless devices for mobile, acquired a majority share of senseFly, a spin-off from EPFL, for the sum of $5 Million. They also injected 2.4 Million francs in Pix4D, a startup from the School of Computer and Communication Science of the EPFL, active in the calculation of 3D images.

    As early as 2010, Parrot was investing in consumer drones market. It has sold more than 700,000 models of the AR.Drone, a small device capable of taking photos and videos. Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux was also the guest of venturelab in November 2014, with the CEOs of senseFly and Pix4D. He gave his impressions of the quality of Swiss startups, and the reasons which led to investing in the two EPFL startups. You can live the event and listen to Henri Seydoux, Jean-Christophe Zufferey and Christoph Strecha in a video of the event linked here. 

    Another venture kick alumnus, VISNX, is active in the field of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). It develops optical sensors for environmental uses or in the field of agriculture.

    Valuable support from venture kick and venturelab
    Just like senseFly and Pix4D, Flyability passed the successive stages of venture kick and qualified for the final. It also received intensive commercial development workshops (kicker camps) in the program: "When launching a startup in Switzerland, before the first investors and the first sales and after exhausting personal finances, venture kick is for many entrepreneurs the boost needed to survive a few more precious months to prepare for the next steps. Besides the financial aspect, many members of the venture kick jury helped us by putting us in contact with potential clients and investors. In addition, the passage of each stage of venture kick is recognized as a serious pledge by Swiss business angels. However, I want to emphasize that this financial aspect, which we sometimes want to put in the background in favour of more noble support, is precisely what is cruelly lacking for startups during their first months. venture kick is the only one to fulfil this role, and it does it very well”, said Patrick Thévoz.

    To complete the picture and add an international dimension to the activities of the Swiss startup, Patrick Thévoz went to Boston and New York in June 2014, with the venture leaders USA program. A beneficial experience: "In addition to testing our mettle in front of US venture capitalists (VC), venture leaders helped us build a powerful network of Swiss entrepreneurs with whom we still maintain close contact."

    Drone Apps, the place to be for drone specialists and innovators in September 2015 at EPFL
    Drone specialists (and even amateurs), mark your calendar! The "Drone Apps conference: Experience how drones are changing your business" (, will take place at the EPFL SwissTech Convention Center, on the 14th and 15th of September.

    Though drones have already proven their impact on the economy, humanitarian aid, media, entertainment and art, public mistrust and a lack of regulation hampers their immense potential for innovation. Drone Apps aims to help the UAV industry to gain recognition and support through demonstrations and discussions on their economic and social impact, while connecting industrial players with inventors and legislators. "We want to bring together business users (here for civilian applications), inventors (e.g. researchers, suppliers) and airspace regulators to discuss the best uses, new technological solutions and the best ways to regulate drones, the latter being the ‘nerve of war’" says Simon Johnson, co-organizer of Drone Apps with Benoit Curdy. "The Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) is our partner on the thorny issue of regulation and we are in contact with competent authorities all around the world".

    Many specialists from the sector, entrepreneurs, researchers and industry experts will attend to discuss Drone Apps civilian drones and their potential and regulation, such as Henri Seydoux, CEO of Parrot, Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones, Vijay Kumar, Professor at the UPS Foundation, Jean-Christophe Zufferey, CEO of senseFly, Jesper Falk, responsible for surveying at COWI and Patrick Meier, leader and thinker in the field of technologies for humanitarian purposes.
    A "million dollar video": Gimball at the Drones For Good final in Dubai

    Meet Gimball, the "human friendly" drone in video (© EPFL 2013): 

    senseFly presents "Mapping the impossible" or how its engineers have mapped the Matterhorn in 3D for the first time in the world:

    Additional Links
    Read the article by EPFL "Gimball takes off in the Middle East" (09.02.2015)
    Read the article by EPFL "A market leader in civilian drones joins senseFly and Pix4D" (27.07.2012)
    Is your idea good enough? Put it to the test with venture kick!
    Just like Flyability, become a venture leader USA in 2015!

  • comfy-crm.jpg
    Meet Stefanie and Marcus from ComfyLight

    Xiang from ZuriMED (3rd from left) with his team members

    Here are the winners of venture kick stage two

    Do. 19.02.2015, 11:00

    Two promising high-tech startups recently convinced the jury on the second stage of venture kick: ComfyLight and ZuriMED. Both are qualified for the big venture kick final (CHF 130’000 to kick your startup). Fingers crossed!...Read more

    Although intrusion is increasing year over year and people feel unsecure, most homes are still unprotected today. The reason is that traditional security solutions are often complicated to install and expensive over time. The first winner, ComfyLight, brings to the market the first instant home security solution invisibly integrated in a smart light bulb. It is installed in no time and seamlessly integrates in people's homes. Compared to other traditional security systems, it not only detects intrusion but also proactively protects people's homes by perfect presence simulation based on valuable presence data.

    The second winner, ZuriMED, commercializes a revolutionary device for surgical knee ligament reconstruction. The likelihood of severe post-operative pain that comes with the use of a high performance “bone-tendon-bone” (BTB) autograft (a patient’s own tissue) for knee ligament reconstruction leads many knee surgeons to elect for the less painful but lower performance “hamstring” tendon autograft. ZuriMED’s device effectively “converts” the less painful tendon autograft into a BTB-like graft (“functional gain, without the pain”).

    We took the opportunity to ask a few questions to Stefanie Turber, co-founder of Comfy, and Xiang Li, co-founder of ZuriMED, about the good news:

    How and why did you launch your startup, and at what stage is it today?

    : My co-founder Marcus Köhler and I are just prior to incorporating our company as a university spin-off. So far, we developed Comfy in the lab setting at University of St Gallen in the context of our doctoral studies. For Comfy, a feasibility study and demonstrators are available in addition to the business concept and a valuable partner network. We currently prepare our first comprehensive field test and first sales channels. Moreover, we hope to secure our first financing round within the next few weeks.

    Xiang: Zurimed was born in the lab during my PhD thesis at ETH Zurich. I realized that my PhD project had a big business potential. Over the past several years, our team of 3 people worked hard in order to translate the medical device developed in our laboratory into a clinical application. At the moment, we are doing assessment to realize the production line for industrial mass production with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), with documented production process and quality control system.

    How is your product positioned with regards to your competitors?

    : Compared to other available security systems, Comfy is an instant solution, which not only detects intruders, yet proactively protects people's home from them. It is realized by perfect presence simulation: The bulb learns the users' movement and behavior at home and is able to perfectly simulate it during an absence through light. The added value for the user is a higher level of security by just one device at a small fraction of the price of traditional systems.

    Xiang: Our device seeks to displace use of the existing competitor - interference screws, with this well-established and highly competitive market representing a large opportunity to gain market share with “disruptive technology”.

    Why did you apply for venture kick and how did you convince the jury on stage 2?

    : We applied because venture kick offers great coaching, in addition to the financial aspect. Even though the jury kicked us hard (laughs), I think that they appreciated the finesse of Comfy combined with its huge market potential. Moreover, we could in my opinion demonstrate significant progress since venture kick stage one. Not least, our team of two is highly complementary and covers a large part of the relevant skill set.

    Xiang: venture kick is a great program to kick our business, not only for the funding but also for the kickers' camps coaching and offered networking. I think the most important point for us to convince the jury on stage two has been is the achievement and progress made over the past months.

    What do you think is the impact of venture kick on the Swiss startup industry?

    : venture kick is a solid quality check for your business idea and the team behind, especially at a seed-financing stage. The program adds a lot of credibility to your startup.

    Xiang: venture kick is definitely a great program supporting Swiss innovation. It is bridging funding and coaching, from the early ideas to building a startup. venture kick shall bring more brilliant ideas and early Swiss startups on the market.

    Additional Links
    Is your idea good enough? Put it to the test with venture kick!
    More about Comfy
    More about ZuriMED

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60 venture kickers made it to the TOP 100 startups

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In the last 5 years the venture kick startups raised more than 365 millions. Following all these transactions we compiled and update the list of active startup investors in different fields and stages.

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  • 60 venture kickers made it to the TOP 100 startups

    Each year, 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.