People behind Swiss Innovation
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  • xorlab-crm1.jpg
    From left to right: Matthias Ganz, Marco Nembrini and Antonio Barresi from xorlab (picture zvg).

    xorlab: The hackers' hard life

    Mo. 31.08.2015, 10:00

    The cyber-attacks on the computers of the German Federal Chancellor and the US State Department made the headlines during the last weeks. An innovative Software development made by the startup xorlab could soon help prevent attacks from cyber criminals as well as secret services more effectively. The idea has convinced the Venture Kick jury lately....Read more

    Antontio Barresi has already been working for many years in the IT sector and was already dealing with computer security as a teenager. He realized very early that the protection from cyber-attacks had to be increased. “The problem is more topical than ever”, he says. And how do you want to solve the problem? “We detect files which exploit unknown weak points of the software”, says Barresi. “Let’s look at the classic example: The user receives an email with a file attached. This could contain a harmful attachment. Our software scans the file and detects whether it’s malicious or not.” In the end, the product is a hardware appliance that can be integrated in clients’ network. “With our software, the data get scanned in this appliance”, says Barresi.

    Client-side attacks, spear phishing, watering hole, drive-by infections: A sample of the attacks fought by xorlab
    Even though this might not be a new business model the potential is far from being exploited: “Our product doesn’t look for malicious behaviors or patterns in the files. There are conventional solutions that do exactly this. Those are easy to bypass.” The attacker can adapt the behavior or the file in a way that it is not recognized by the detection pattern. “In our case this is impossible to the attacker”, he says. “Besides files like PDFs, Word, Excel documents etc., we also scan websites and check whether or not they try to attack a user.” xorlab is protecting against so-called client-side attacks, spear phishing, watering hole, drive-by infections. “Those are the attacks that we prevent. This is usually the first step to attack a company whereby those techniques are being used in particular by very sophisticated attackers”, he says.

    An important next step thanks to Venture Kick 
    Considered on the paper the company is very young because it was founded on the 23rd of July 2015, but the idea already exists for quite some time. After having developed the idea the startup needed money in order to progress. “A friend believed in the idea and invested in our project”, says Barresi. After that they started participating in workshops and competitions to get a better knowledge about the startup scene. They participated in the business plan competition by venture.ch for example and made it into the top ten.

    Barresi says: “We have learnt a lot through this. But not as much as through Venture Kick.” They appreciated two things in particular about the program. First of all the direct feedbacks from the coaches in the Kickers Camps were very instructive. Secondly, there was a certain pressure. “We were forced to dare the next step and be ready for the event. The Venture Kick Jury expects concrete achievements. At the end, you have to put everything in the balance”, says Barresi.

    This plan succeeded as xorlab won the first two rounds and CHF 30’000. They are now preparing for the Venture Kick finale where they can win CHF 100’000 more. Barresi is of course hoping to win the last round: “It would clearly be helpful since we already have two pilot clients for the next year. Now it’s just the product that needs to be finished.” A victory at Venture Kick would thus come in handy.

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    Meryem Gonzalez Celeiro from Alpine Pharmaceutical Technologies

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    Sabrina Badir from Pregnostics

    Discover the latest venture pitch winners!

    Do. 27.08.2015, 09:00

    We're excited to announce the winners who have made it through the first stage of Venture Kick, among them two successful women entrepreneurs. DataThink, Alpine Pharmaceutical Technologies and Pregnostics won CHF 10’000 each. And Venture Kick will allow them to expand their project and compete for CHF 20'000 next stage. Congrats!...Read more

    Alpine Pharmaceutical Technologies provides new processes to enable rapid development and economical manufacture of high-quality pharmaceutical products.

    Pregnostics is developing a diagnostic tool to reliably identify women at risk of preterm birth, thus solving the long-standing problem of preterm birth risk assessment and management in pregnancy.

    DataThink 
    enhances the operational performances by interpretation of production data on a real-time basis. The method includes statistical and numerical simulation analyses combined with the LEAN manufacturing approach. 

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    The team of reseaTECH: Karl-Heinz Selbmann, Simon Zumbrunnen, Stefan Berger and Philipp Haslebacher

    vcase2.png
    Founder of SThAR Alberto Hernando

    Venture Case winners: See why they stole the show!

    Di. 25.08.2015, 09:00

    The latest Venture Kick jury session was intense. We had some impressive ideas and outstanding cases across a range of industries and technologies – from amazing apps and sophisticated software to intelligent analytics. So, hats off to the teams of ReseaTech and SThAR, who are ready for the Venture Kick final....Read more

    The core technology of the spin-off from Bern University of Applied Sciences ReseaTech is a micro dosage for biotechnical applications. The system allows the addition of liquids in sterile area through one-way valves and a new patented measurement technology which helps to make biotech experiments smaller and simpler to control, thus saving time, waste, material and money.

    SThAR from the EPF Lausanne develops predictive software based on the emergent science of sociothermodynamics. Their models describe and predict social trends to optimize the success of marketing campaigns (for promoting products, brands, or electoral information), and forecast consumption patterns and evolution of sales for designing smart geomarketing strategies.

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    Stephan Koch & Andreas Ulbig from Adaptricity and Lukas Bühler, Thomas Lehmann & Fabian Langensteiner from Zum guten Heinrich (photo: Samuel Schumacher)

    Two Venture Kickers creamed off the Climate-KIC Award

    Fr. 21.08.2015, 10:00

    The ETH Zürich spin-off Adaptricity and the Zurich based startup Zum guten Heinrich are the Swiss winners of the Climate-KIC Venture Competition. The two Venture Kick alumni are awarded prizes of CHF 20’000 each, as well as a place in the European Climate-KIC Venture Competition finals in Birmingham (UK) in October. Zum guten Heinrich was also the clear audience favourite carrying off the Audience Choice Award 2015. ...Read more

    One of the goals of Switzerland`s Energy Strategy 2050 is the expansion of the renewable energy sector. But the energy transition towards renewable energy creates entirely new challenges for grid operators who are in charge of ensuring a stable system operation. Adaptricity helps operators through innovative simulation tools to prepare for these new challenges in network planning and network operation. The first product, the simulation software “DPG.sim”, provides a comprehensive simulation environment for active distribution grids. It allows distribution system operators to integrate SmartGrid features into their grid planning processes. This enables optimal decision-making in costly grid upgrade projects and the improved utilization of the existing grid infrastructure. "The power sector is changing rapidly due to the expansion of renewable energy, market liberalization and increasing fusion of energy and information technology. Thanks to Venture Kick we now have even more power to bring our software solutions to our customers to help them in the improvement and the expansion of their power grids," explained Stephan Koch, co-founder of Adaptricity after winning the Venture Kick final in February 2015.

    Using a cargo bike that transforms into a food stand, Zum guten Heinrich makes tasty and cheap menus available in Zurich and Berne. The menus are made from food that would otherwise have been thrown away due to its wrong size, shape or logistical reasons. Zum guten Heinrich provides menus made from food surplus which are attractive to the target group: urban professionals looking to satisfy their hunger for a tasty and sustainable lunch. The approach is scalable. If successful, new bikes will be bought and the kitchen capacity expanded. Another expansion path is setting up the business in other cities.

    The European Venture Competition will be held during the Climate-KIC Innovation Festival. Birmingham will host this year’s edition, from 28 to 30 October 2015. On Wednesday the 28th the semi-finals of the Venture Competition will take place with the big final on Thursday the 29th. All finalists benefit from the opportunity to pitch to a group of potential customers and investors on an EU stage. In addition, the Venture Competition winners will receive a cash award of €40,000, while there’s €20,000 for the runner-up and €5,000 for third place.

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    The happy winners of Archilogic, Ava, Gamaya, Gimalon and Monetas

    Next stop Silicon Valley: Two Venture Kicker are winners of the Swisscom StartUp Challenge 2015!

    Fr. 14.08.2015, 18:00

    The Zurich based startup Ava and the EPFL spin-off Gamaya are under the winners of the third Swisscom StartUp Challenge. They will now travel to Silicon Valley in October, where they will have the opportunity to establish contacts with international partners and experienced investors and to fine-tune their business models with the help of mentors....Read more

    More than 150 start-ups from the world of IT & telecommunications, big data, FinTech, e-commerce, smart mobility, e-health, media and cleantech vied for a top spot in this year’s Swisscom StartUp Challenge. Ten of them made it into the final and had to make the deciding pitch before the expert jury today, Friday 14 August 2015. The expert jury is made up of Swisscom managers and venturelab experts.
     
    Next stop: Silicon Valley
    “Once again, the pitch showed just how much innovative capacity exists among Swiss entrepreneurs,” says Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, the initiator of the StartUp Challenge and Head of the SME division at Swisscom. Five start-ups succeeded in making an impression on the expert jury with their business models: Archilogic, Ava, Gamaya, Gimalon and Monetas are the winners of this year’s StartUp Challenge. Their prize – a tailored mentoring programme in Silicon Valley, the world’s leading IT and high-tech industry hub. “The prize for winning the StartUp Challenge is not just an opportunity, but it is also a further challenge in itself,” explains Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler. “Although we open important doors for the winners with the mentoring programme, it’s up to them to seize the opportunity and fine-tune their business model as well as impress potential partners and investors.” The five start-ups will embark on the one-week mentoring programme on 11 October 2015.

    The winners at a glance:

    Archilogic, Zurich (e-commerce)
    Archilogic breathes life into 2D plans and from them generates 3D models of apartments, rooms or houses. The browser-based, interactive 3D models allow users to virtually walk through property online and even to furnish it. The models can also be shared as a link via e-mail or social media and can be integrated in websites or presentations.
     
    Ava, Zurich (e-health)
    Ava has developed a wearable technology that helps couples conceive and bring a healthy child into the world. The arm band, based on a fundamental understanding of human physiology, reproductive medicine, sensor technology and big data analysis, is worn at night and produces precise measurements of all the parameters that allow couples to reliably determine when the woman is ovulating. A mobile app then discreetly and reliably indicates on which days the woman will be most fertile.
     
    Gamaya, Lausanne (big data)
    Using a hyperspectral imaging (HSI) camera, Gamaya renders the chemical composition of substances visible, capturing details the human eye cannot see. The technology is intended for the analysis of plants and arable soil in a bid to make farming more efficient. It delivers data that allows farmers to recognise when a plant or soil is lacking water or nutrients, thus allowing them to work their fields and combat diseases in a much more targeted manner.
     
    Gimalon, Zurich (media)
    The Crowd app, developed by start-up Gimalon, helps users coordinate their leisure time by making it easy to organise a meet-up with friends or a party. It allows groups to exchange information and to vote on things to do and the time and place to meet. The app also offers another advantage: it acts as an event calendar and personal agenda.
     
    Monetas, Zug (FinTech)
    Monetas is developing a decentralised system for financial and legal transactions. The platform enables quick money transfers, as well as transfers of valuable items that can be transferred digitally, such as shares or contracts. The items are safely stored thanks to the combination of Bitcoin technology and a cryptographically secured P2P network. These decentralised networks allow institutions, private individuals and business customers to trade all national and digital currencies, as well as any kind of security.
     
    Impressions of this year’s Swisscom StartUp Challenge:

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    Dominik Bell, Aeon CEO, at the Swiss Technological Award in 2014.

    Green light to Alumnus Aeon Scientific to launch its Aeon Phocus

    Do. 30.07.2015, 09:00

    Aeon Scientific announces that it has received the CE Mark approval for the Aeon Phocus, an electromagnetic system to steer ablation catheters for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. More than one in a hundred people are affected by cardiac arrhythmias. The product is now available throughout Europe where more than one thousand clinics currently perform cardiac ablation procedures....Read more

    “CE mark approval of the Aeon Phocus is a major milestone for Aeon Scientific”, stated Dominik Bell, CEO of Aeon Scientific. “With our product we want to improve ablation procedures that a quarter of a million patients per year undergo in Europe. We are now excited to see how the result of our efforts can be put to use and help to improve outcomes for many patients.”

    The system supports electrophysiologists during catheter ablation procedures for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, such as Atrial Fibrillation. It allows the physician to move the ablation catheter within the heart of the patient with magnetic fields. With the improved control and the high intuitiveness and dexterity that the system provides the company intends to improve procedures for the benefit of patients and healthcare providers.

    In the long-term it is the company’s objective to turn the Aeon Phocus into a platform for remotely controlling multiple types of interventional instruments such as catheters, guide wires and endoscopes. Based on this successful milestone Aeon Scientific is currently fundraising to finance the broader market launch in Europe and to achieve product approval in additional regions worldwide.

    In 2014, Aeon Scientific closed a financing round of CHF 4.3 million and won the Swiss Technological Award. In 2011, the ETH spin-off based in Schlieren won the Venture Kick final. The same year, Dominik Bell, its CEO, was part of the Swiss national startup team in Boston to learn more about the opportunities of market offered in the USA for his company.

    Aeon is also one of the best Swiss startups (startup.ch) of Switzerland in 2014.  

    Content via startupticker.ch

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    Amal uses its proprietary cell penetrating peptide platform to develop and progress therapeutic vaccines in oncology.

    Amal Therapeutics publishes R&D findings in Cancer Research

    Do. 23.07.2015, 17:00

    TOP100 2014, 2012 venture leader USA and Venture Kick alumnus Amal Therapeutics recently announced that part of its recent research findings about a new type of recombinant protein cancer vaccines has been published on-line on the Cancer Research's website....Read more

    The publication underlines the value of a novel immunotherapy class able to simultaneously inducing multi-epitopic immunity, T helper functions and immunologic memory. The article shows that vaccines tested are able to significantly prolonged survival in three robust tumor models. “The results published are demonstrating the proof of concept and showing the strength of Amal’s platform for the development of potent, safe and efficacious cancer vaccines”, said Dr. Derouazi, CEO of Amal Therapeutics. “Having the outcome of our work published in Cancer Research is a great success and a value recognition of the scientific approach taken since Amal’s incorporation in 2012”, added Dr. Derouazi.

    Amal Therapeutics is a privately held Swiss/German biotech startup company and spin-off from the University of Geneva, incorporated in September 2012. Amal uses its proprietary cell penetrating peptide platform to develop and progress therapeutic vaccines in oncology.

    In 2012, Amal CEO Madiha Derouazi traveled to Boston with the Swiss national startup team. The startup also entered the TOP100 Swiss startups ranking (startup.ch/top100) in 2014. Amal Therapeutics is also a Venture Kick alumni.

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    Aurélien Rizk, Martin Ostermaier and Luca Zenone have many different personal and professional skills and form a really motivated team.

    "InterAx technology will allow discriminating between good and bad drug candidates in order to start clinical trials with higher probability to succeed."

    Mi. 22.07.2015, 09:00

    The ETH and PSI spin-off InterAx Biotech won the second stage of Venture Kick and its CHF 20’000 of pre-seed capital, in June 2015. We interviewed co-founder Martin Ostermaier, a biochemist, inventor and an ETH pioneer fellow about the great news - and about Interax's plans for the future....Read more

    Are you happy to have won the second stage of Venture Kick?
    Yes of course we are happy! The Venture Kick jury saw the potential of InterAx during the first stage and decided to support the team. Winning the second stage confirms that we have made an important step, which is converting the business idea into a solid business case. We are now in the third round also because we have improved in communicating both the value of our biotech product for the customer and the business case to a very heterogeneous group of experts.

    What kind of technology are you developing?
    Nine of ten drug candidates never reach the market, this costs Pharma each year billions of francs. InterAx technology will allow selecting better drug candidates with higher chance to succeed for approval; that means more drugs eventually reach the market and improve patients’ lives. We focus on GPCRs, which are the biological target of 40% of all modern drugs. Currently, Pharma still lacks information in understanding how drugs act on GPCRs leading to underinformed decisions for choosing the right drug candidates. InterAx develops reagents, cell lines and software that together improve efficiency of drug discovery for GPCRs.

    What stage is your startup today and what do you plan next?
    InterAx Biotech is currently spinning off the ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Villigen, where the technology has been developed. It is seed-funded and supported by both institutions. Currently, we are implementing the technology at PSI in a first product, which will facilitate drug discovery for treating ocular diseases. On the business side we are very active in customer visits, discussions with investors and industry experts. Collecting their feedbacks allows us to better align our product development strategy with current market needs.

    How did the idea of InterAx Biotech come up?
    During his PhD, Martin worked on the stabilization of a protein complex consisting of a GPCR and another protein. At some point, we realized that we had a unique and novel technology in our hands that we protected by filing a patent application. The ETH Pioneer Fellowship gave then the financial support and access to a great network of experts and entrepreneurs for starting a business right after. The name InterAx is a blend word between the words “interaction” and “arrestin” and reflects the mechanism on which the technology is based on.

    What distinguishes your technology from your competitors’?
    A drug induces a very specific cellular signaling. “Good” and “bad” drug candidates can be discriminated by the cellular signaling that they induce. While good drug candidates induce signaling that leads only to the desired effect in the patient, bad ones originate adverse effects. Competitive technologies do not allow to discriminate between good and bad drug candidates easily. They cannot dissect the complex signaling networks unambiguously. InterAx technology will allow discriminating between good and bad drug candidates in order to start clinical trials with higher probability to succeed.

    Why did you apply for Venture Kick and what are the benefits of such a program for you?
    Venture Kick is widely recognized as the best Startup advancement program in Switzerland. Since it is also known as an excellent pre-selection process for promising start-ups, passing the different stages is for us a certificate of quality. It gives credibility and visibility, and access to the highly interconnected Swiss Biotech network. Apart from the money, the Kickers Camps are the most important benefit for the entrepreneurs. During the camps we were challenged and forced to improve our business case by getting very direct and highly valuable feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and investors. The lessons learned were essential and brought us faster and more focused forward.

    In your opinion, how did you convince the jury on stage two?
    This is an hard question to answer. Maybe at first the team with broad skillset, which was able to attract a unique advisory board. Second, the wide applicability of the IP-protected technology in different disease areas which allows us to scale up our business step by step and reach different markets. Third, we have already a marketable product prototype and a potential customer which is going to test it. Good results may lead to a larger volume of sales for InterAx, and the willingness of the potential customer to buy and test our second product. Finally, we showed that we could already convince investors and raise money for our startup.

    And how do you think you will convince the jury at the final?
    We think we need to work harder on some aspects of our business case and show faster execution. This means we need to make larger sales revenue by attracting more customers or increasing sales volume per project within the next six to eight months. A key goal is also to ensure R&D resources by raising funds for product development and attract skilled scientists into our team. In conclusion, we need to show that we can increase the value of InterAx Biotech. 

    Tell us something about you that nobody knows!
    Maybe you already know that we speak three out of four Swiss official languages: German, French and Italian? However, we are used to communicate in English within our team. Or that Luca races at international Enduro mountain bike competitions around Europe? Or that Aurélien owns a software company that develops physics simulation applications for fun and education? This is the strong and very motivated team that is working to make InterAx a successful Swiss biotech start-up.

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    The team of PIQUR

    PIQUR Therapeutics raises CHF 18 Million in Series A2 financing

    Mo. 20.07.2015, 17:00

    PIQUR Therapeutics AG, a Swiss clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative anti-cancer drugs based on PI3K and mTOR inhibition, today announced the closing of an oversubscribed CHF 18 million (USD 19M) round of Series A2 financing. This round was backed by several existing investors, including Versant Ventures, as well as new, private investors....Read more

    PIQUR Therapeutics AG, a Swiss clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative anti-cancer drugs based on PI3K and mTOR inhibition, announced the closing of an oversubscribed CHF 18 million (USD 19M) round of Series A2 financing on July 16, 2015.

    This round was backed by several existing investors, including Versant Ventures, as well as new, private investors. The new funding brings the total capital raised by PIQUR to date to over CHF 55 million (USD 60M). The company plans to use the funding to further strengthen its operational basis and to extend the financing horizon for additional Phase 2 studies for its lead compound PQR309, which has shown preclinical activity in different aggressive cancer cell lines inhibiting the PI3K/mTOR pathway, as well as clinical activity in phase 1. In addition, the new funding will support the preclinical safety and first clinical studies for one of its follow-up compounds.

    “We greatly appreciate the continued support provided by our existing shareholders and welcome our new investors who bring valuable perspective, experience, and capital resources to the company,” said Vladimir Cmiljanovic, CEO of PIQUR. Gaudenz von Capeller, PIQUR’s CFO, commented: “This financing strengthens our balance sheet as we work to achieve important milestones for our lead candidate as well as the follow-up compound.”

    Helping patients to survive cancer
    PIQUR aims to help patients to survive cancer. Two out of three people are now living at least five years after their cancer has been diagnosed. Despite of significant medical innovations in the treatment of cancer, there remains a high unmet medical need for therapies that prolong patients’ survival and improve their quality of life. PIQUR targets both PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) and mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), two key signaling molecules that are vital to several essential biological processes involved in malignant disease, such as cell growth, proliferation, survival and metastasis, making them attractive targets in cancer therapy.

    About PQR309
    PIQUR’s lead compound, PQR309, is a novel, oral, balanced pan- PI3K/mTOR inhibitor with excellent prospects to become a powerful anti-cancer drug. PQR309 compares favorably to current and clinically most advanced pan-PI3K/mTOR inhibitors with respect to the drug-like properties. Unlike most of its competitors, PQR309 crosses the blood-brain barrier, expanding its use to oncologic as well as hematologic malignant diseases involving the brain. PQR309 showed preclinical activity in different aggressive cancer cell lines inhibiting the PI3K/mTOR pathway, as well as clinical activity in phase 1.

    About PIQUR
    PIQUR is a Swiss clinical-stage pharmaceutical company incorporated in August 2011 as a spin-off of the University of Basel, focusing on the discovery and development of innovative anti-cancer drugs based on lipid kinase (PI3K) and mTOR inhibition. PIQUR’s pipeline originates from one of the most promising research areas in oncology. Both PI3K and mTOR are clinically validated drug targets in oncology. PIQUR has a secured patent scope protecting many chemical compounds.

    PIQUR is a venturelab and a Venture Kick alumni. It is also ranked Nr 74 in the TOP100 Swiss startups of 2014: www.startup.ch/top100 
     

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    David McNally of MyPrivacy.Network

    technis-crm.JPG
    Meet the team of Technis

    Meet the latest winners of Venture Kick’ stage one.

    Fr. 17.07.2015, 10:00

    “Why would someone buy this?” is a question that can put new entrepreneurs in difficulty. Hopefully for the latest winners of Venture Kick stage one, MyPrivacy.Network, Technis and Biosynthetic drug optimization, things went pretty well. They won CHF 10’000 each and are getting ready to compete for the second round of Venture Kick, where they might win another CHF 20’000....Read more

    EPFL startup MyPrivacy.Network develops a cloud based service with associated mobile App offering true privacy protection and management for user data posted on social media services (e.g. Facebook) and shared on the internet (e.g. by Email).

    EPFL Innovation Park based startup Technis  revolutionizes the way we interact with sports, starting with tennis, by introducing a new generation of integrated tactile intelligent tennis courts, giving every player in the world access to the power of technology and information.

    ETH Zurich Biosynthetic drug optimization develops a platform that uses nature’s tools to make improved drug analogs that would not have been made previously. The start-up will offer this platform as a service and use it to make its own NCE drug candidates.

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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