People behind Swiss Innovation
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Swiss innovation and the people behind

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    Venture Kick startup DEPsys raises CHF 3 million financing round in Series A

    Fr. 17.06.2016, 14:00

    The Romandie based startup raised the funds from from Statkraft Ventures, VNT Management and ONE CREATION. ...Read more

    It's the first round of financing for DEPsys, active in the field of smart grid solutions. The company's products and services help grid operators to efficiently manage the increasing amount of renewable energy without investment in the grid itself.

    Electrical grids have been designed for central energy production and top-down distribution to consumers. With the increase of renewable energy from decentralized solar and wind installations, as well as batteries, the electrical stability of the networks is no longer guaranteed. The DEPsys GridEye smart grid solution monitor and control the network in realtime to stabilize the system, secure the supply and optimize the energy flow using intelligent algorithms in a decentralized architecture.

    DEPsys customers have been using GridEye for two over years in Switzerland. With precious insights gained from monitoring and the ability to control energy flows, they have been able to avoid costly network extensions, to improve grid stability and to use energy that otherwise would have been lost. One of the biggest distribution operators in Western Switzerland included the product in its strategic roadmap for 2030, planning a full rollout across its entire network. The third version of the GridEye solution is now entering the industrial production phase and the company is starting the market development across Western Europe.

    "The potential for smart grid solutions is huge. In the coming years, all operators will have to address the problems that renewable energy will create in the distribution grid." says DEPsys CEO Michael De Vivo. "Our solution has the advantage to be simple to install on existing equipment without the need for a network model, which is even more important in emerging countries, where the grid topology is not known. The solution doesn't require a central computing infrastructure or heavy data communication and helps the customer to reduce capital and operating expenses."

    About DEPsys
    The 2013 Venture Kick startup DEPsys is a Swiss technology company founded in 2012, establishing thought leadership in the energy market. Based in Yverdons-les-Bains, it provides evolutionary solutions enabling traditional low voltage electricity networks to cope with the constraints of decentralized production from renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic systems and wind turbines, as well as emerging storage technologies. 

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    Andrea Maesani is Intento's CEO

    Venture Kick startup Intento wins Swiss Medtech Award 2016

    Mi. 15.06.2016, 09:00

    At the Swiss Medtech Day held in Bern on 7 June, the EPFL spin-off and Venture Kick startup Intento was presented with the CTI Swiss Medtech Award, endowed with prize money of CHF 15,000. Intento develops a userfriendly neuro-stimulations device, which helps with the therapy of stroke patients with individual movement patterns. The award was presented by President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann in front of an audience around 600 delegates. ...Read more

    President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and Gábor Székely, CTI Commission member and head of CTI Medtech, presented Dr Andrea Maesani and Dr Andrea Biasucci of Intento SA with the award in the form of a stone trophy and cheque for CHF 15,000. “All three of the projects nominated deserved to win the award. They demonstrate the enormous spirit of innovation in this country and how it benefits the medtech industry and Switzerland’s standing as a location for business”, said President Schneider-Ammann in his address in praise of the nominees. The winning project was selected by the 600 delegates from medtech research and industry during a live voting session at Swiss Medtech Day 2016.

    Innovation for patients with brain injuries caused by strokes
    Every year, 17 million people worldwide suffer strokes – a third are left severely paralysed. Rehabilitation therapies available today can offer only little help. A CTI-funded project carried out by the EPFL and its spin-off Intento is giving new hope to people with brain injuries.

    The user-friendly system they have developed consists of tablet software and a motion control device which is connected to an electrical stimulator. The therapist selects one of several programmed movements on the tablet and loads them wirelessly onto the motion-control device. The patient is connected to the stimulator via electrodes. Turning a dial on the device controls the electrical stimulation of the muscles and nerves – and thereby the degree of movement of the paralysed arm according to the programmed movement selected.

    Initial studies show how effective the system is: 80 per cent of patients showed a clinically relevant improvement after two weeks compared to only 30% undergoing conventional intensive therapy. Intento plans to launch two versions of the product – one for use in hospitals, followed by a second for simple use at home.  

    About Intento
    Venture Kick startup Intento was selected to be part of the Swiss national startup team in 2016. He flew to Boston from June 13 to June 17, 2016, to showcase his technology with nine other Venture Kick alumni.

    Watch the presentation video of Intento's CEO before he hit Boston in June 2016

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    The team of PharmaBiome (right, Tomas de Wouters)

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    The team of Younergy (in the middle, Pedro Miranda)

    Cultivation of gut bacteria and solar as a service at the Venture Kick final

    Di. 14.06.2016, 14:00

    The ETH Zurich spin-off PharmaBiome and the Lausanne based startup Younergy are starting a new era in the treatment of intestinal infections and the financing of roof-top solar projects – two burning issues in today’s society. By winning Venture Kick, both startups have secured the total funding amount of CHF 130.000 each. ...Read more

    Increasing antibiotic resistances make intestinal infections like Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) unresponsive to standard antibiotic treatment and thereby life-threatening. With a constant increase in antibiotic-resistant CDI it has become a major burden to the developed world with an estimated cost of EUR 4.5 billion. Over the last two years, the microbiome industry has raised nearly USD 1 billion on multiple approaches to develop the market of microbiota therapy. Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT), i.e. the transplant of feces from a healthy donor to the infected patient, is currently the only life-saving therapy for antibiotic-resistant CDI with success rates of over 90%. Nevertheless, this promising therapeutic success harbors the risk of transmission of unknown contaminants and other unexpected reaction with the host.

    Dramatic improvement of safety and quality of patient’s life
    The ETH Zurich spin-off PharmaBiome is developing a scalable, controllable and efficient alternative to the use of fecal material in microbiota therapy. Eliminating the risk of fecal transplants, the startup will make this highly effective therapy the treatment of choice for intestinal infections. The goal is to assemble the gut bacteria artificially in order to regenerate the gut microbiota with a controlled set of bacteria and to use this as a cleaner and safer way of treating patients. This new biotechnology approach is revolutionary given the very specific conditions gut bacteria thrive under. PharmaBiome CEO Tomas de Wouters is currently in Boston for a business development week with the venture leaders Life Sciences program to accelerate the innovation on the US market. He adds: „Venture Kick has accelerated our venture by giving us the key ingredients and network to successfully develop an innovative start-up company.”

    Swiss homeowners can go solar for less than a coffee a day
    Finding an efficient way to finance and operate decentralized power production systems is key for a post-carbon world. This is the market opportunity Younergy is tapping into: the company allows residential customers, corporations and other public and private property owners to benefit from affordable solar electricity (cheaper than grid rates) with no upfront investment. The Lausanne based startup designs and installs a solar photovoltaic system on the roof of their costumers at no cost; in exchange of the solar electricity produced, the customers pay a price per kWh that includes insurance and maintenance for the duration of the contract.
     
    Younergy has developed their innovative technology to efficiently sell, manage the installation and monitor the production of a large number of solar projects. Thanks to Venture Kick, the company can now accelerate the deployment of resources in the Swiss German market: "Venture Kick is an extremely well organized support program. In addition to the much needed financial support the kicking coaching sessions were essential for us to improve the way we think and communicate our business," remarks Pedro Miranda, CEO of Younergy.

    Learn more about the innovative startup in their latest video:

  • Four rocking newcomers win the first stage of Venture Kick

    Mo. 06.06.2016, 14:00

    Hats off to our new great winners on the first stage of Venture Kick: Blurred, NanoLockin, Vizir and DDynaBoard. They win CHF 10’000 each. Meet them now before they compete on the second stage of our program, where they might win another CHF 20'000 in total each....Read more

    Blurred (internet and mobile, HEC Lausanne): The easiest way to make the first move.
    A new fun and addictive way to meet people in real life, mixing hints of playful seduction, spontaneity and mystery.


    The team of Blurred



    NanoLockin
    (biotech, uni Fribourg): A new benchmark technology for the characterisation of nanoparticles for cancer treatment.

    NanoLockin develops and commercialises advanced thermal imaging setups for the characterisation of nanoparticles. The startup also offers full characterisation services of nanoparticles.


    Meet NanoLockin

    VIZIR (electronics and mechanics, EPF Lausanne, IC School): A smart visor that, combined with a thermal imaging camera, will help firefighters see what’s around them in real time, even at night and in smoke.
    VIZIR combines thermal vision and augmented reality to give firefighters a clear vision in dark and smoky environments. Check out EPFL's recent article about VIZIR and watch their great video below:


    The team of VIZIR

    DDynaBoard (aviation and aerospace, ETH Zurich): Re-think boarding and enlarge passenger comfort.
    Airlines only make money if their planes are in the air. On the ground, boarding is a lengthy and hence expensive process. With DDynaBoard we re-think boarding, enlarging passenger comfort while substantially reduce boarding time without changing planes.


    Meet DDynaBoard



    Venture Kick: much more than just money
    Beyond the very important financial support which can go up to CHF 130'000 in pre-seed capital, entrepreneurs benefit from a critical push and orientation to help them reach their maximum potential during a competitive and timely driven process. Presenting in front of experts at each stage to obtain the funding, getting ”kicking feedback“ and learning about execution in building a startup during the kickers camp, exchanging with other venture kickers about their challenges, and accessing a broad network of business contacts, experienced entrepreneurs and investors are at the core of the Venture Kick experience. Discover the amazing alumni highlights on our annual report 2015.

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    Pascal Brunner from Vatorex

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    Nikos Kariotoglou from SeerVision demonstrating his technology in front of the Venture Kick jury.

    Watch these startups as they are getting ready for the big Venture Kick final

    Mi. 01.06.2016, 14:00

    "Why would someone buy this?" is a question that can stump young startups as they try to explain their value proposition. Fortunately for three of them pitching in the second round of Venture Kick, the answers were both compelling and realistic. Check out the jury’s choice below....Read more

    Vatorex (biotech, Winthertur): effective & practical hyper thermic honey bee treatment against the varroa mite.
    One of the main reasons of bee losses is due to the “ecto-parasite varroa” destructor. Different methods to fight the mite have been investigated. The application of chemical acids to fight the mite, however, harms the bees as well. Furthermore, this method is stressful for the animals and the beekeeper. Another way to limit the growth of the mite population is the application of hyperthermia treatment. This procedure is based on the different temperature tolerances of the mite and the bee. Don't miss Vatorex’s video here.

    SeerVision (electronics, mechanics and software, Zurich): making cameras intelligent.
    Whether for home use, sports or professional events, the SeerVision software interfaces with gimbal stabilisers to turn any action camera or smartphone into your personal cameraman. SeerVision's autonomous framing algorithms operate on the live stream and produce stable videos focused on specified targets no matter how the camera base is moving. More information here.

    Venture Kick: much more than just money
    Beyond the very important financial support which can go up to CHF 130,000 in pre-seed capital, entrepreneurs benefit from a critical push and orientation to help them reach their maximum potential during a competitive and timely driven process. Presenting in front of experts at each stage to obtain the funding, getting ”kicking feedback“ and learning about execution in building a startup during the kickers camp, exchanging with other venture kickers about their challenges, and accessing a broad network of business contacts, experienced entrepreneurs and investors are at the core of the Venture Kick experience. Discover the amazing alumni highlights on our annual report 2015

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    Flurin Müller about the deal: «In the next step, our product eqipia will be fully incorporated into the product range of XING.»

    BuddyBroker in interview: «It is essential to get real and clear feedback»

    Di. 31.05.2016, 14:00

    Flurin Müller founded his startup BuddyBroker in 2013, together with Patrick Mollet: mid-April 2016, the Zurich based venture and its product eqipia was sold to XING AG. eqipia is the leading intelligent and automated employee recommendation program in Switzerland. We discussed with Müller about the deal they made....Read more

    Flurin, before we talk about BuddyBroker, can you present yourself quickly?
    I studied business informatics at HSLU Lucerne. There, I wrote the initial business plan for BuddyBroker as my Bachelor’s thesis. Besides my studies, I also worked as a freelance web designer to help finance my studies.

    Present us your company in a few sentences. What problems are you solving?
    With our product eqipia we are helping companies fill their vacancies with the help of employee referrals. We are digitalising and automatizing this already existing channel. When a company publishes a job for a „Marketing Manager“, eqipia automatically finds the employees in the company, which are providing a relevant network (i.e. XING) and requests them to recommend the job. Employees are the ones who know the most about the culture and claims of their own employer and are therefore ensuring for qualified applicants. With this, companies can use this potential already in place in-house of their own employee’s networks.

    In April 2016, BuddyBroker was acquired by XING. How did this came about?
    XING recognized the potential of digital employee referrals already for some time. They are bringing the ideal basis with their social network for our business model. After some first discussions it became  clear that we would work quite well together, and this regarding the product, as well as on a personal level. In the end, it was a good deal for both parties with a high potential of synergies, which will allow us to establish eqipia sustainably in the German speaking regions.

    What does this mean for BuddyBroker?
    In the next step, our product eqipia will be fully incorporated into the product range of XING. I will lead the related product migration. For me, this will be a well-welcomed and educational challenge.

    “It is very hard for sure, when your own business model is questioned out to this extent. However, this has helped us enormously to identify weaknesses and challenges at an early stage.”    

    You could gain important experiences at Venture Kick in 2012. How have you been supported?
    For me, it was essential from the beginning to get real and clear feedback – that is what the coaches Jordi Montserrat and Beat Schillig know at its best. It is very hard for sure, when your own business model is questioned out to this extent. However, this has helped us enormously to identify weaknesses and challenges at an early stage.

    In what points Venture Kick’s power business development workshops (the “kickers camps”) helped you?
    Venture Kick helped me in the first phase to define stage goals and to focus on them – actually, those have been the guidelines for the first steps as an entrepreneur.  Many tasks were new to me at this point. The trainings gave me inputs, on how to address them.

    You have won the first stage of Venture Kick and therefore received CHF 10‘000. Was this the first prize for you?
    Winning the first stage of Venture Kick has been a first confirmation that the business model had been  understood by a critical audience (the Venture Kick jury). For me, it was the first real sense of achievement as an entrepreneur and it has encouraged me to push further with our idea.

    In 2015, you toured the US market to meet investors and experts for BuddyBroker. How was this experience there?
    The experience with the venture leaders was personally enriching. The constant exchange with the other participants, 19 other Swiss high tech entrepreneurs, has brought up many new ideas for my own business idea. Additionally, the immersion into New York’s startup scene has been very inspiring and refreshing. We could meet investors, look into co-working spaces or the offices of Uber, Foursquare and Artsy.

    What are your plans for the future?
    Now, all my focus is led on the successful integration of eqipia into XING. Further future plans will be forged later.

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    Chris Millan, CellSpring's Co-Founder & CTO.

    2015 Venture Kick winner CellSpring signs a co-marketing agreement with Tecan

    Di. 31.05.2016, 14:00

    Tecan and CellSpring, a biotech spin-out from ETH Zurich, have announced a co-marketing agreement to automate the 3D Bloom® platform on a Freedom EVO® workstation. This latest collaboration will further extend Tecan’s automated 3D cell culture portfolio, allowing scientists to take advantage of a high throughput technology with an extended cell viability period of at least seven days in the assay matrix....Read more

    The adaptive 3D Bloom Biopolymer Platform is compatible with all cell types and is ideal for both mono and co-culture assays. 3D microtissues can be prepared in microplate format within minutes, and analysis carried out while still in the culture matrix. Kevin Moore, Manager of Liquid Handling Products and Application Management, commented: “As a leader in the field of automated 3D cell culture, Tecan is delighted to be working with CellSpring to implement its microplate-based 3D Bloom platform on the Freedom EVO. This will allow scientists to benefit from straightforward, high throughput automation of a 3D cell culture process offering long-term cell viability.”


     

    Dr Chris Millan, Chief Technology Officer at CellSpring, added: “CellSpring is excited to partner with Tecan to bring automated, simple 3D cell culture solutions to customers. The benefits of our 3D Bloom Platform – versatility and reliability – are now available at scale using the Freedom EVO.”

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    The team of Gamaya

    GAMAYA closes CHF 3.2 Million Series A to boost the deployment of their advanced crop analytics services

    Mo. 23.05.2016, 09:05

    Gamaya, a Swiss provider of a unique solution for large-scale diagnostics of farmland using hyperspectral imaging and artificial intelligence, announced it has raised 3.2 Million in a series A financing round. Investors include Sandoz Foundation, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Chairman of Nestle), Seed4Equity (social-impact investment fund), as well as well-established Swiss venture capital firm VI Partners. All investors in this Series A round are committed to the vision of sustainable future of agricultural industry....Read more

    Gamaya responds to the need to feed 10bn people by providing a unique solution to boost the efficiency of industrial agricultural production. The startup utilises a unique constellation of patented hyperspectral imaging technology, drone-based deployment and artificial intelligence to empower industrial farming businesses with unprecedented level of situational awareness, allowing for significant cost savings, as well as improvement of quality and quantity of yield. Examples of the information products include early alerts for disease, pests and weeds, optimum rates of application for fertilisers, as well as prediction of yield. Currently, Gamaya provides a solution for soybean, corn and sugarcane growers.
     
    "Before we started working with Gamaya, there was no cost-effective way to for us to measure the impact of nematodes, outbreaks of weed and soil deficiencies during the crop cycle”, noted Nicolas Landolt of Agricert, a farm based in Brazil. “We are now able to accurately see where those problems are occurring and make real-time decisions that ensure that those problems are looked after. With a simple drone flight, Gamaya's technology allows Agricert to maximize profitability through production cost reductions and increase in overall yield.”
     
    “We believe food production to be one of the main challenges facing humanity in the future. Population growth, climate change, reduced water availability and environmental concerns will force food producers to become more and more efficient with less and less resources and Gamaya’s technology could in our view become part of the solution,” said Andres Brabeck-Letmathe, Managing Director of Glasshouse SA.
     
    Gamaya solution includes a drone-mounted hyperspectral camera, which records reflected light across dozens of separate spectral bands in the visible and the infrared range, as opposed to the three bands visible to the human eye. The camera is integrated with an analytical platform that automatically translates the data into actionable information for farmers using a simple, scalable and cost effective methodology. Agronomy-driven information products are delivered in a form of action maps and recommendations, such as nutrient content maps, as well as weed and disease diagnostics. The action maps are integrated into existing farm management platforms, and can be easily relayed to the field machinery for the necessary treatment, such as targeted spraying of chemicals and optimised distribution of fertilisers.

     
    “There is a clear imperative to address the food challenge in a sustainable manner. Consuming better also requires to produce better at all level of the food value chain,” said Taha Ben Mrad, founder and CEO of Seed4equity. “Gamaya has all the ingredients to become an instrumental actor of this change by combining state of the art technological building blocks (data, software and hardware) at the service of the Mother Nature. Farmers and further actors of this ecosystem will perceive significant qualitative and quantitative benefits.”
     
    Gamaya is a spin-off of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) that was founded in 2015. The startup has won numerous prestigious awards in Switzerland and Europe, including Venture Kick; Venture: Companies for tomorrow; Swisscom Startup Challenge and CloudEO Copernicus Masters among others. Gamaya has been featured by Forbes as one of the 4 European AgTech startups with a potential to become a $1 billion dollar company. The underlying technology was developed as part of a sequence of international environmental research projects, carried out by a team of world-class scientists and technology experts, particularly, the Trans-Eurasian Flight Leman-Baikal project sponsored by the prominent Swiss explorer and philanthropist Dr. Frederik Paulsen.
     
    “Today, we are leaving in a society that is fully reliant on unsustainable consumption of fossil fuels, soil and water in order to produce food. Our future is dependent on whether we will be able to leverage technology and innovation in order to dramatically improve the efficiency of our food production methodology,” says Gamaya CEO Yosef Akhtman. “Our solution helps to increase production efficiency by providing farmers with full situational awareness of their farmland and crops.”
     
    About Gamaya
    Gamaya provides the world’s most advanced solution for large-scale diagnostics of farmland using a unique constellation of patented hyperspectral imaging technology, drone-based deployment and artificial intelligence. Gamaya farmland analytics solution improves production efficiency and risk management by facilitating optimised usage of chemicals and fertilisers, as well as reducing disease and weed-related losses. Please visit http://gamaya.com/for more information.

    A winner of many prizes
    Gamaya is a 2014 Venture Kick startup and the winner of the 2015 Swisscom StartUp Challenge, where it had the chance to find more international partners and investors in Silicon Valley. Gamaya scored other prestigious startup prizes as well, such as the rank 20 in the actual TOP100 Best Swiss Startups, as a newcomer. Gamaya won additional prizes in 2015 such as the Swiss Product Excellence Award and the »venture» competition, and it is the winner of the 2016 de Vigier Prize.

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    Yosef Akhtman, co-founder of Gamaya

    “Entrepreneurship is perhaps the only way to combine what I do best with what I enjoy doing most.”

    Mo. 23.05.2016, 09:05

    Gamaya was founded in 2015 at EPFL by founders Yosef Akhtman, Dragos Constantin and Igor Ivanov, based on technology developed as part of a series of international environmental research projects. The spin-off has now raised CHF 3.2 million to boost the deployment of its innovative hyperspectral imaging technology and carry out its commercial pilots in Brazil. We could meet Yosef in his busy schedule to talk about his entrepreneurial experience, the many business opportunities now lying ahead and the support of programs such as Venture Kick, the TOP100 and the Swisscom StartUp Challenge for his venture. ...Read more

    Hello Yosef. And congrats for the financing round! How was the idea behind Gamaya born?
    The core technology behind Gamaya was developed as part of a sequence of ambitious international environmental research projects that involved a number of laboratories at EPFL, as well as research institutes in Russia and France, and sponsored by the prominent explorer and philanthropist Dr. Frederik Paulsen. Together with my co-founder Dragos Constantin, I have spent the last few years developing hyperspectral imaging instruments and analytical software with the aim of enabling better understanding of our environment and the environmental impact of human activities in particular. You may find more information on our research on the following page http://www.elemo.ch/ulmor watch the video below:
     

    The “Leman-Baikal” project, a multi-year Swiss-Russian initiative to study and preserve freshwater resources using ultralight aircraft with cutting-edge hyperspectral imaging technology.
     
    Why did you decide to embrace the entrepreneurial path?
    The tremendous potential of the newly developed technology and its applications across multiple domains have quickly become clear to us. The only way to realise this potential was to bite the bullet and turn it into a commercial venture. For me, entrepreneurship is perhaps the only way to combine what I do best with what I enjoy doing most.
     
    You just raised CHF 3.2 million Series A to develop your novel hyperspectral imaging technology. Tell us a little bit about how you experienced the process of raising your first substantial funds.
    We’ve been extremely lucky to get noticed by some prominent investors very early on, in fact well before the company was even created. We received seed funding from angel investors as well as Venture Kick who have given us tremendous support and trusted in our potential. To some extent it was a “beginner’s luck” and for a while we thought that we would leapfrog all the hurdles and pains that many of our peer startups are going through. Then the reality kicked in and we realised that nothing comes easy. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is! In the end it was a marathon of ups and downs. We had to bootstrap and soldier on to prove our capabilities and earn the trust of investors.
     
    Can I ask you how will the money that you have just raised be used?
    The current investment will be used for the consolidation and the validation of our product for the Brazilian market. In particular, we will carry out a series of commercial pilots with large prospective clients in Brazil. This is a critical phase that will facilitate large scale deployment of our crop analytics services in this key market.
     
    What is your vision for your company? And the next steps?
    We would like to become a key player and a knowledge hub in the emerging smart agriculture industry. Today, we have a unique technology and are well positioned to build the analytical platform that would empower farmers with unprecedented level of understanding of their land and crops. This is a rapidly emerging market with some very strong organisations starting to take notice of what we are doing. So, the challenge of building the necessary momentum, while staying true to our vision will be enormous.
     
    Your high resolution cameras are already in use in Europe, Russia and Brazil. Can you tell us a little bit more about the world market potential for Gamaya?
    In fact the camera itself is only one, albeit an important component of our technology. Gamaya’s core business is to provide advanced crop analytics services to large industrial growers. Our current partners and clients include several academic institutions, but the future of Gamaya is in B2B services. Agriculture is a multi-trillion dollar global industry that is in urgent need of technological innovation and transformation towards sustainability. The specific market for analytics of farmland for precision agriculture is estimated at USD20 billion per year, in the next 10 years.
     
    Who are your main competitors, and what is your customer-type?
    Agricultural technology (AgTech) is a rapidly emerging field that is teeming with ideas and innovation. In the recent year or two, it has become the fastest growing sector for venture investments. The vast majority of this activity is based in the US. Some major startups such as Mavrx, PrecisionHawk and Airinov have received considerable funding and have gathered significant momentum in our domain. Nevertheless, the market is still very young and is largely pre-competitive. Gamaya has unique technology and knowhow, and we are confident in our ability to become a major player in this space.
     
    Our target customers in this stage are large industrial producers that are technologically savvy and are aware of the potential benefits of smart farming. We were lucky to find our ideal customer profile in Brazil and we are working very hard to make sure that we will be able to deliver the results. 

    “The astute feedback received at Venture Kick was the first clear signal that I was on the right track, and this literally kick-started the project.” 

    Among many prizes and recognitions, Gamaya is a 2014 Venture Kick startup. Can you tell us more about your experience with our program? What did it bring to you and would you recommend it to other entrepreneurs like you?
    Venture Kick played a pivotal role in the development of our startup. I can consider my first pitch to the Venture Kick jury – that I have done with minimum planning and zero entrepreneurial experience – as the birthday of Gamaya. The astute feedback received at Venture Kick was the first clear signal that I was on the right track, and this literally kick-started the project. Since the first pitch and through the multiple kickers camps, we have benefitted from the continuous support of Jordi Montserrat and his team, and had access to his advice on numerous occasions including some key strategic issues. In addition, the Venture Kick program exposed us to the local startup ecosystem and helped us connect to the prominent Business Angels and advisors, including Dave Brown, Colin Turner, Gal Messinger and Francois Stieger, who have provided and continue to provide essential advice and support for our venture.
     
    You actually came into the TOP100 ranking for the first time in 2015, at position Nr. 20 (and at position Nr. 3 in the TOP5 newcomers’ list). Did the prize help Gamaya in any way?
    The TOP100 ranking is a sign of recognition that we are very proud of. It means that we are doing at least some things right. It brings publicity and attention which is certainly important. At the same time we are keeping our feet on the ground. We don’t have a proven business yet in contrast to the many wonderful teams on and off the TOP100 list. We have a great momentum right now, but the real challenge will be to sustain it over time and turn it into value for both our clients and shareholders.
     
    You traveled to Silicon Valley in 2015 with the Swisscom StartUp Challenge. What did you bring back from the US? Is it a potential market for Gamaya?
    I think the exposure to Silicon Valley’s ecosystem is important for any aspiring entrepreneur. Particularly if they embark on building an international business. Of course, you can just hop on the plane and go explore. But the remarkable amount of effort, resources and support that you get from the venturelab and Swisscom teams gets you to an entirely different level. With their help, we have been able to meet people and explore opportunities we couldn’t have dreamt of otherwise. We are deeply grateful to Beat Schillig, Penny Schiffer and their respective teams for all the hard work and great support.
     
    The biggest take away for me was the focus on execution and scalability, the “nail it, then scale it” approach. Coming from a scientific background, it can be a little disheartening how minor a role is played by the novel technology in comparison to the crucial importance of building a reliable product that somebody really wants (or ideally needs), and then figuring out a simple, inexpensive method to deploy this product on a massive scale. Of course this is not the only way you can build a business, but this is the Silicon Valley formula. Brazil is our immediate “nail it” target market, but the US certainly is on our radar!
     
    About Gamaya
    Gamaya responds to the need to feed 10bn people by providing a unique solution to boost the efficiency of industrial agricultural production. The startup utilises a unique constellation of patented hyper spectral imaging technology, drone-based deployment and artificial intelligence to empower industrial farming businesses with unprecedented level of situational awareness, allowing for significant cost savings, as well as improvement of quality and quantity of yield. Examples of the information products include early alerts for disease, pests and weeds, optimum rates of application for fertilisers, as well as prediction of yield. Currently, Gamaya provides a solution for soybean, corn and sugarcane growers.
     
    A winner of many prizes
    Gamaya has been featured by Forbes as one of the 4 European AgTech startups with a potential to become a $1 billion dollar company. Gamaya is a 2014 Venture Kick startup and the winner of the 2015 Swisscom StartUp Challenge, where it had the chance to find more international partners and investors in Silicon Valley. Gamaya scored other prestigious startup prizes as well, such as the rank 20 in the actual TOP100 Best Swiss Startups, as a newcomer. Gamaya won additional prizes in 2015 such as the Swiss Product Excellence Award and the »venture» competition, and it is the winner of the 2016 de Vigier Prize.

  • W.A. de Vigier Award 2016: 4 Venture Kickers out of 5 laureates endowed with CHF 100’000

    Do. 19.05.2016, 15:00

    On 19th of May 2016 five Swiss startups among which 4 Venture Kickers (Nanolive, Pregnolia, Gamaya and UrbanAlps) received the W.A. de Vigier Award, each endowed with CHF 100‘000. The sought-after prize was awarded in Solothurn for the 27th time in the presence of approximately 200 guests from the fields of economy, politics and science. The technology behind the winning projects can increase crop yields, put thieves out of business and even save lives....Read more

    Roughly 200 Swiss start-ups submitted their projects for the awards of 2016. This years’ projects were evaluated according to the following criteria: the entrepreneurial spirit of the CEO, the degree of innovation, the value for society as a whole, the technical and financial viability, market prospects and the potential for job creation.

    The Venture Kick laureates:



    Nanolive AG from Ecublens (VD) – 3D research on living cells Nanolive developed a revolutionary tomographic microscope to look instantly inside living cells in 3D without damaging them. The 3D Cell Explorer is a high speed, high resolution and noninvasive microscope that can look deep inside biological systems. This allows you to record stunning 3D images of entire cells and tissue slices in just seconds and with a higher resolution than any conventional microscope on the market. Recently Nanolive won the First Lab Innovation Award at the Lab Innovation Lausanne.



    Pregnolia AG from Zurich (ZH)
    – Identifying the risk of preterm birth Preterm births are on the rise. Pregnolia developed a diagnostic tool that measures cervical stiffness in pregnant women. Monitoring cervical stiffness allows for the reliable identification of women at risk of preterm birth, thus solving the long standing problem of preterm birth risk assessment and management in pregnancy. Thanks to Pregnolia 80% of women at risk of preterm birth can be detected. Currently, the detection rate lies at only 40%.



    Gamaya AG from Ecublens (VD) 
    – 30% increase in agricultural yield Gamaya delivers large-scale analytics of farmland. Proprietary hyperspectral imaging cameras mounted on drones or manned aircrafts measure the reflectance of the crop, which allows an analysis of crop and soil characteristics. Farmers are provided with actionable information about their land and crops, which can increase profit margins by at least 30% while raising the quality of produce and making farming more sustainable.



    UrbanAlps AG from Zurich (ZH) 
    – Protection against 3D copying Today anybody can copy your house key. UrbanAlps brings the Stealth Key: an inexpensive mechanical key that is safe against 3D duplication. The solution is plain and simple: a key which hides most of its mechanical security features internally – rendering the key unscannable.

    Watch the video of W.A. de Vigier's Award 2016



    Read the full press release

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TOP 100 Startups

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60 venture kickers made it to the 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.

    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