People behind Swiss Innovation
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Swiss innovation and the people behind

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    Faceshift's technology translates expressions realistically onto a computer model.

    Apple acquires motion capture startup Faceshift

    Mi. 25.11.2015, 14:00

    Apple has acquired the TOP 100 Swiss Startup 2015 Faceshift. The software from the EPFL spin-off enables real-time recognition of facial expressions and the animation of avatars without markers. The technology has been used for film projects, like Star Wars, as well as games. How Apple plans to use the technology isn't known, though some speculate it could be part of a virtual reality project. ...Read more

    The information that Apple acquires Faceshift comes from TechCrunch. Faceshift was founded as a spin-off of EPFL's Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory 2012 and won the Venture Kick final 2013. Furthermore Thibaut Weise was part of the venture leaders US pogram in 2012. While at EPFL, he developed a software that enables real-time recognition of facial expressions and the animation of avatars without markers. This makes it faster and less expensive to apply human facial movements to an animated character. He now has 13 employees and was nominated on rank 13 at the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award 2015. His customers include studios in the games, film, advertising and animation fields. Asked about his future prospects, Weise manifests the pride of the developer: “We want to have the best animation solution on the market in the future as well.”
    The team of Faceshift

    About Faceshift
    Why do animated characters in films show human emotions? Because there are tools like the one developed by EPFL spin-off Faceshift. The software from Faceshift records the movements of the face and implements them in real time in the facial gestures of an avatar. The amazing solution has caused a furor worldwide and is used in some 30 countries. Its customers come from the video game and film production sectors, psychology research and surveillance technology.

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    The team of SwissLitho

    Nanolive Team

    Two Venture Kick alumni among the winners of the R&D 100 Award

    Di. 24.11.2015, 14:00

    SwissLitho AG and Nanolive were announced among the winners of the 2015 R&D 100 award. This annual global award, the “Oscar of invention”, recognizes the top 100 companies with the most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year....Read more

    Two Venture Kick alumni and TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award winners, SwissLitho AG and Nanolive SA, received an award at the 53rd R&D award in the categories Process/Protityping and Analytical/Test respectively for their innovation and development of high-tech products and processes in 2014.
    SwissLitho AG was founded in 2012 as a spin-off of the IBM research Zurich and won in the same year the Venture Kick final. In 2013 the Startup was part of the Swiss National Startup Team, the venture leaders, in the US. The IBM research center is world-renowned for its expertise in micro- and nanotechnology. A new production method for three-dimensional nanostructures was developed there. SwissLitho is successfully commercializing this expertise and is currently building a global sales and distribution network.

    The Venture Kick alumnus Nanolive, was as well part of the venture leaders US program 2013 and developed a microscope that enables comprehensive examination of intact cells. Among others, their 3D Cell Explorer makes it possible to document the effects of medications and chemicals on a cell. For this technology, which opens up new opportunities in the development of pharmaceuticals, Nanolive became the first company from western Switzerland land which received the ZKB pioneer prize in 2015.

    R&D 100 Award is an annual award recognizes and honours leaders of the science and technology industries for their innovative, high-tech products and processes. Some of them major participants in the award are established fortune companies, federally financed research institutions as well as academic and government labs. Finalists and winners are selected from five major categories; Analytical/Test, IT/Electrical, Mechanical/Materials, Processing/Prototyping and Software/Services.

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    The team of Flyability

    Flyability, maker of safe drones for inaccessible places, closes a second round of investment

    Mo. 16.11.2015, 16:00

    After a first round completed in January 2015, the Venture Kick final winner and TOP 10 Swiss Startup 2015 Flyability, based in Lausanne, is proud to announce the completion of its second seed funding round....Read more

    All previous shareholders, experienced individual investors with a broad experience in building and growing companies as well as Go Beyond investing participated in this new round. In addition, MKS Alternative Investments joined the round, and partner Laurent Haug says that "Flyability is one of the most interesting Swiss company we have ever come across, it has the potential to make an impact on the global scene with a product that will change how some of the world's largest and most critical organizations operate".

    Since its creation, Flyability has attracted over 2.5 million CHF to bring to the market a new generation of safe drones for the inspection, exploration and reconnaissance of complex environments. Flyability has developed the first collision-tolerant drone, which can fly in contact with structures, and which is safe to fly close to humans.

    The company has been already shipping prototypes to its first customers since April 2015, mainly focusing on industrial inspection in the energy and transport infrastructure industries, as well as first responders such as firefighters, police forces, and search & rescue professionals. “This round brings Flyability the resources needed to launch its first professional product to the market, which will be available in 2016”, Patrick Thévoz, co-founder and CEO of the company.

    A famous Swiss startup
    Flyability is well known in Switzerland and also internationally. No doubt that the Arab Emirates award helped them conquer the heart of BBC, Business Insider and many others. Above all, Flyability could count on the support of many programs. They won for example the Venture Kick final in 2014, and flew to Boston and New York with the Swiss national startup team. 

    Learn more about the first collision-tolerant drone:

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    CEO and co-founder of Ava Pascal König

    Swiss women’s health startup Ava: "The trust from investors is a great motivation"

    Do. 12.11.2015, 10:00

    Renowned institutional investors and business angels invest USD 2.6 million in Ava This large seed-round underlines the company’s ambition to become a relevant player in women’s health. The startup was winner of the third Swisscom StartUpChallenge and completed in October a week-long mentoring programme in Silicon Valley. Earlier this year Ava's CEO Pascal Koenig traveled with the Swiss National Startup team to the US and creamed off 130'000 Swiss francs at the Venture Kick final....Read more

    Ava empowers couples who are trying to get pregnant by giving them precise insights about the menstrual cycle. Ava has developed a sensor bracelet for women to be worn at night. Based on 3 million data points measured every night, the Ava bracelet offers key cycle health information and precisely predicts fertile days and ovulation in advance. 80% of pregnancies happen within this two day fertile window. Ava thus helps couples maximize their chances to conceive and gives them certainty along their exciting journey. 
    Renowned investors
    The seed round was raised from institutional investors and business angels. ZKB and Swisscom – two of the most renowned Swiss early stage investors – invest in Ava. An international group of scientists, gynecologists, entrepreneurs, and executives will join as business angels. Among them are Yonca Even Guggenbühl (co-founder MediService) and Dr. Valentin Chapero (former CEO Sonova).
    “The interest in our financing round was very high – we could have raised twice as much”, says Pascal Koenig, co-founder and CEO of Ava. “The money will be used to accelerate industrialization of the technology and to bring the product to market. The trust from investors is a great motivation for our team to realize our vision and make a difference in women’s health.”

    The Ava team 
    Strengthened board
    In context with the financing round, Ava will strengthen its board of directors. Dr. Ruedi Gygax, former Managing Director of Novartis Venture Fund, will bring in his expertise in scaling innovation companies in the healthcare space. Renate Schreiber, former CEO of Medela, will bring in her expertise and global network in women’s health. “Two things were crucial for me to get involved at Ava. First, the fact that the product can make a true difference in many people’s lives. Second, Ava’s team, which is composed of a group of smart, complementary, and highly committed people”, explains Renate Schreiber.
    Promising outlook
    Supported by the University Hospital of Zurich, Ava has built up a database of six billion data points referenced to hormonal measurements. This is the largest such database in the world. While the company will focus on the conceiving market at the beginning, the patented technology will also be used to detect pathologies during pregnancy, and for non-hormonal contraception. Ava is currently building up an office in San Francisco to prepare market entry which is planned mid-2016. Earlybird subscriptions are accepted on

    A year of great successes for AVA
    The company has won several innovation prices for its technology, and was selected by TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco among the world’s most promising tech companies. Right after their trip to Boston and New York last June, Ava won the final of Venture Kick and announced opening a new office in San Francisco. Ava is also a finalist of the TOP100 Swiss Startups this year as a newcomer, at rank Nr. 94. And the American dream of Ava was not over by then: In October they visit the Silicon Valley with the Swisscom Startup Challenge.

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    One of the founders Stefanie Turber

    ComfyLight named as CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree

    Di. 10.11.2015, 15:00

    The Venture Kick finalist 2015 ComfyLight AG announced that it has been named a CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree for their first product, the smart security device ComfyLight in New York. Products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 27 product categories. ...Read more

    ComfyLight is a simple and elegant home security solution, which is build in a smart, sensor-enriched light bulb. And is controlled by a smart phone application. When you are away, ComfyLight protects your home by simulating your presence, so your home always seems to be occupied by you and any would-be intruders are discouraged. Second, ComfyLight detects intrusion with its motion sensor. If an unexpected presence is detected ComfyLight sends out an alert to your smart phone. Third, the bulb reacts to intrusion, by flashing to warn the neighbours and help to scare the intruder away. When you are at home, ComfyLight provides a soft white LED light and automatically switches on and off as you need it.
    ComfyLight is extremely easy to install because it fits into any standard bulb socket. Simply screw it in and connect it with your smart phone. ComfyLight – security for everyone.
    “The CES Innovation Award 2016 is a huge honour for us. It reiterates our passionate commitment to user experience and design as well as our motivation to make home security smart, sleek and affordable to everyone."
    The prestigious CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, the producer of CES 2016, the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, and have been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976. ComfyLight will be displayed at CES 2016, which runs January 6-9, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Entries are evaluated on their engineering, aesthetic and design qualities, intended use/function and user value, how the design and innovation of the product directly compares to other products in the marketplace and unique/novel features present. Products chosen as CES Innovation Honorees reflect innovative design and engineering in some of the most cutting edge tech products and services coming to market. CES 2016 Innovation Honoree products are featured on
    About Company ComfyLight:
    ComfyLight AG is a university spin-off of the ETH Zurich and University of St Gallen, Switzerland. The company was founded by Stefanie Turber and Marcus Köhler in 2015, based on three years of research and development around the Internet of Things. The company is located in Zurich and Munich. ComfyLight not only won the Venture Case at Venture Kick 2015 they also creamed off the W.A. de Vigier Award. Check out the great video:

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    Venture Kick gains influential partner in Rising Tide Foundation

    Mo. 02.11.2015, 15:00

    Rising Tide Foundation is funding the Venture Kick program to develop and bring to market high potential business ideas at Swiss universities and institutes of higher learnings. ...Read more

    Established in 2010 in Switzerland, Rising Tide Foundation is an entrepreneurial, privately-endowed foundation with an international, impact-driven philanthropic grant program focused on three main areas: cancer research, libertarian, and social/educational causes. Its mission is to maximize individual potential, build capacities through education and create opportunities to ensure that everyone can achieve economic self-sufficiency.
    Rising Tide Foundation firmly believes that empowerment and the development of individual skills and lifelong learning are the most effective agents of change to bringing about a progressive society. While many individuals are eager to progress economically and socially, they are hindered not due to a lack of talent, but rather to a lack of resources or opportunities presented. As in the case of new startups, in the very early stages, innovators bear very high risks that are neither carried by public money nor by private investors. Through the Venture Kick program, innovators are empowered to pursue their vision and embrace the entrepreneurial path.
    “Entrepreneurship is not just about ideas, but rather about making ideas happen. At our Foundation, we are focused on cultivating a rising tide of social change. That’s why we are very excited to partner with Venture Kick to provide innovators with the right tools and training, so that they can successfully move their innovative ideas to market, create new jobs and contribute back to the community,” said Eveline Mumenthaler, Director, Rising Tide Foundation.
    The potential of Swiss universities is still not fully exploited 
    Pascale Vonmont, president of Venture Kick’s strategy committee and deputy director of Gebert Rüf Stiftung, underscores the importance of this new partnership: “We are very pleased to welcome Rising Tide Foundation amongst the donators of the Venture Kick Foundation. The work of Venture Kick has borne amazing ventures in the past eight years. However, an untapped potential is still to be found in the laboratories and among students at Swiss universities. Not the lack of ideas, but the scarce resources and more “kicks” are the limiting factor to fully promote all potential entrepreneurs and their top-quality business ideas. It remains of crucial importance that even more partners join our initiative to continue to support this effort in the years to come.”
    Leveraging Switzerland's innovation potential
    Beat Schillig and Jordi Montserrat, managing directors of Venture Kick, are delighted to partner with Rising Tide Foundation: “More than half of the companies, which are currently ranked in the TOP 100 Swiss Startups have been supported by Venture Kick. The new partnership with the Rising Tide Foundation will leverage Switzerland’s innovative potential even more effectively and further strengthen Venture Kick’s philanthropic and entrepreneurial philosophy.”

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    The team of QualySense

    QualySense closes a financing round

    Mo. 02.11.2015, 14:00

    QualySense, this year's TOP 10 Startup of the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award with focus on innovative grain and seed sorting technology announced a new financing round. The company has raised CHF 2.1 million from a number of Swiss and international business angels and plans to invest the funds in expanding their product range....Read more

    “QualySense aims at becoming a strategic partner within the agro-food community in the next years. This last funding round will allow QualySense to accelerate the development of our product range, enabling us to explore new markets”, said Alberto Romaneschi, Chairman of the Board. QualySense use space technologies that combine Machine Vision and Near-Infrared spectroscopy to develop the QSorter, the first artificial intelligence robot for high-speed single kernel analysis and sorting of grains. The QSorter technology analyzes and sorts each grain individually based on its physical and compositional properties, which enables a reliable and sophisticated control solution aimed at increasing quality and safety of food products, for example in the development of diet-specific food products.

    About QualySense
    QualySense is a Empa based company pioneering innovative high-speed single kernel sorting solutions to achieve optimal processing, quality, and safety of agricultural products. The startup has been awarded with a number of prizes and grants including “Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012”, and Venture Kick winner 2010. Additionally, QualySense scored 8th for the TOP 100 Swiss Startups 2015. Furthermore Francesco Dell'Endice, co-founder of QualySense, had the chance to travel as part of the Swiss National Startup Team to Boston in 2010: “The venture leaders program had a strong influence on my entrepreneurial thinking. It has given me, among others, the ability to set priorities and to develop long-term and sustainable strategies."

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    Younergy with Pedro Miranda (left) at the 2015 EPFL Forum's Startup Day

    Younergy: Worry free solar energy

    Do. 29.10.2015, 16:00

    Pedro Miranda is the co-founder of Younergy. This EPFL based cleantech startup sells solar energy directly from their customers’ roofs and might as well play a role in tomorrow's energy transition. We met him during his preparation for the big Venture Kick final....Read more

    Hello Pedro, and congratulations! Are you happy to have won the second stage of Venture Kick?
    Of course, we’re putting a lot of effort in building a renewable energy champion. It’s really great to have Venture Kick recognizing our efforts.
    What does Younergy do?
    We sell solar energy to our customers directly from their roofs. This is how it works: We design and install a solar photovoltaics system for free; our customers pay us only for the energy that the system produces. The customers collect the benefit from going solar without paying for the solar system upfront or worry about administration and maintenance. This is what we call a “Solar Abonnement”: Worry free solar energy.
    At what stage is Younergy today and what do you plan next? 
    We’ve just launched in Switzerland and signed our first customers. In parallel we’re working in the development of the technology backbone that will allow us to efficiently manage a large number of decentralized solar projects.
    How did the idea of Younergy come up? 
    Decentralized power is disruptive and there is a very important opportunity in financing the world’s energy transition. The process requires investments of one trillion Euros in Europe alone and we shouldn’t reasonably expect that individuals and companies will jump in to put that money upfront. Innovative companies will need to develop services that allow people to benefit from solar while paying as they go. Those companies will be able to originate a portfolio of decentralized solar assets that are financed by institutional investors. Younergy was founded to become that bridge.
    What distinguishes your technology from your competitors’?
    Younergy competitive edge comes from the utilization of technological advances along the complete value chain including: Advanced solar potential modeling of roofs to identify the buildings who can benefit most from solar installations, powerful CRM tools to streamline the complex, time consuming quotation, approval and installation processes of solar and a highly efficient operations platform to autonomously gather billing, analytic and diagnostic data across a large number of installations.
    Why did you apply for Venture Kick and what are the benefits of such a program for you? 
    Venture Kick is the leading competition for start-ups in Switzerland. Great newtwork, amazing training and seed support are all very important. In addtition to that you get an important credibility boost that opens doors.
    In your opinion, how did you convince the jury on stage two? 
    I would say we were able to convince them that there is a huge market opportunity for Younergy and that the team has worked very hard over the past few months to make it work.
    And how do you think you will convince the jury at the final?
    We can’t reveal that, not just yet (laughs).
    Tell us something about yourself and your co-founder that nobody knows...
    My co-founder has three cats and speaks four languages.
    I learned how to ski at the age of 24 in a fairly unorthodox way. In my first day of skiing, one cold December day at Engelberg, all blue slopes were closed. I was with an overconfident friend who thought he could teach me in a red slope. I believed him… and it took me the whole afternoon to go through my first and only slope that day. Though I fell 53 times I managed to preserve bones and joints intact. Blue slopes became a piece of cake ever since but I would advise you not to try this at home!        

    Younergy's solar abonnement: How does it work? 

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    Yosef Akthman, Jordi Montserrat and Igor Ivanov at the TOP100 event of 2015.

    Venture Kick alumnus Gamaya after the 2015 Swisscom StartUp Challenge: “In Silicon Valley, no stone was left unturned.”

    Do. 29.10.2015, 13:00

    To ensure our ability to feed the rapidly rising global population in the future, farming must become more efficient. To make sure that happens, technologies like the one from the EPFL spin-off Gamaya are essential. Its hyperspectral camera – the smallest of its kind worldwide – provides data for the detailed analysis of plants and soils. This makes it possible to optimize fertilizing and pest control practices and substantially increase yields. ...Read more

    Forbes placed Venture Kick alumnus Gamaya as one of the 4 European AgTech startups with a potential to become a $1 billion dollar company. Enough for them to be among the 5 winners of the 2015 Swisscom StartUp Challenge. Very recently, Gamaya gained further Swiss and international recognition as they were among the winners of the European CloudEO Going Live Award in Berlin and won the Swiss Product Excellence Award in Zurich. Gamaya is also part of the TOP3 newcomers in the 2015 TOP100 Swiss Startups ranking.

    We met Gamaya’s CEO and co-founder Yosef Akthman about his experience in Silicon Valley and his plans for the future.  

    For those who don't know you already, what is your background and why did you chose to become an entrepreneur?
    I am coming from the applied science and engineering background spanning 15 years and several domains including information theory, mobile robotics and remote sensing. The entrepreneurship for me is perhaps the only way to combine what I do best with what I enjoy doing most. And being paid for it as well!
    What problem(s) are you trying to solve at Gamaya and how was the idea born?
    The mission of Gamaya is to leverage our unique technology to empower farmers with better knowledge of their land and crops that would in turn facilitate sustainable industrial farming on a global scale.
    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. 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:
    You pitched in front of the Venture Kick jury twice and you have just gotten back from an intense week in Silicon Valley, with the Swisscom StartUp Challenge. Is pitching easy for you?
    This year was certainly the year of pitching for me. It gets easier over time as I gain experience and sharpen my message. Sometimes it’s easier than other times – it all depends on the audience. I never feel like I can get it perfect, but I don’t think it’s necessary. It needs to be good enough and you need to strike the right balance between showmanship and substance. Pitching is one of the many tricks you need to learn as an entrepreneur.
    Tell us more about the Swisscom StartUp Challenge: What is your feedback on the intense mentoring program co-organized by Swisscom and venturelab? How will it help Gamaya?
    I think the exposure to the Silicon Valley 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 exploring. 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.
    Additionally, the teamwork between the five startups sets the pace and the creative atmosphere where your learning is multiplied. Ideas are exchanged, feedback is discussed and experiences are shared. You get 5 times of everything. But you need to be prepared to work hard to make the most of the information avalanche. I would like to thank my co-founder Igor Ivanov, as well as the guys from Ava, Crowd, Archilogic and Monetas for the great company!

    “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.” 

    What lessons did you learn in particular, for ex. while pitching in front of investors and potential partners, or tech gurus like Robert Scoble? Any promise of investment/partnerships maybe?
    The biggest take away for me is the focus on execution and scalability. “Nail it, then scale it” approach. Coming from the 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.
    The session with Robert Scoble was fantastic because of how intimate his familiarity with the ecosystem is. In the end he gave us a tiny simple tip which got us an appointment with one of the top VC firms in SV. All in all, we have established many interesting and valuable contacts. Right now, the U.S. are not our primarily target market, but some of these contacts may lead to significant partnerships in due time.
    During the trip you had the opportunity to give your pitch to Artiman, one of the major investment firms in Silicon Valley. Tell us about this experience and the feedback you received.
    Clearly that was one of the highlights of the trip and the most intense pitching experience that I have ever had. It wasn’t a pitch in its usual format. Instead it was a gruelling investigation of our strategy, tactics and assumptions, where no stone was left unturned. At the same time, it was squarely positive and constructive. There wasn’t a single drop of arrogance, or impatience that you may sometimes expect from the VC professionals. I won’t go into the particulars of their feedback, but the bottom line was “Nail it, then scale it”!
    Would you recommend this program to other entrepreneurs and what are your best souvenirs of the trip? 
    I would heartedly recommend the program to others for all the aforementioned reasons. Silicon Valley can be inspiring and disappointing at the same time. In other words, it can help you understand what entrepreneurship is really about. In my opinion, there is nothing particularly special about the quality of people, ideas and innovation there. What is unique is a tried and proven – I would say industrialised – method of turning a raw idea into a global successful business. This crucial expertise is somewhat lacking elsewhere in the world. Just the sheer number of success stories in Silicon Valley is on a different scale.
    U.S. provides 100x more funding to startups than the rest of the world combined. This also means that 99% of the new and coming technologies will be owned by U.S. companies. I am not an economist, but to me it looks like a major problem for the European community. In this regard, it is unfortunate to see some European VCs trying to minimise their risks by following major U.S. VC firms and funding Silicon Valley-based startups, while further reducing the amount of support available to the local ecosystems.
    At the same time what works in Silicon Valley might not work in other places. Just the method is not sufficient, you need the entire ecosystem. So if you are not planning to move to Silicon Valley, you should be prepared to listen to the local community, explore alternative sources of funding, and generally improvise. Despite the many challenges, the Swiss startup ecosystem is one of the best there is, and I feel privileged to have the access to the immense pool of resources, advice, services, infrastructure and talent that Switzerland has to offer.
    Gamaya’s technology is already in use in Europe, Russia and Brazil. Why is the international market so important for a Swiss startup like yours?
    Our business is quite particular. Gamaya aims at bringing in-depth situational awareness to the large industrial agricultural businesses. For better or worse there are few such businesses in Switzerland and therefore our market here is quite limited. At the same time, multiple agribusiness multinationals are headquartered in Switzerland. This provides us with great opportunities to find strategic partners and potential major clients.
    What other markets do you potentially target?
    Gamaya aims at becoming a major global player. Already today, we have numerous opportunities and requests to deploy our services around the world. Unfortunately, our current resource are limited and we are not ready to take over the world just yet. We are focusing on a small number of critical projects in order to “nail” our offering.
    You won 30'000 CHF with Venture Kick. How was your experience with this program? How did it help to develop your company?
    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. Their astute feedback was the first clear signal that I am on the right track, and has 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 to our venture.

    “We have a great momentum right now, but the real challenge will be to sustain this momentum over time and turn it into value for both our clients and shareholders.” 

    This year you entered the TOP100 ranking at 20th place, which is pretty remarkable. Does the TOP100 ranking help Gamaya develop itself? How? 
    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 great many wonderful teams on and off the TOP100 list. We have a great momentum right now, but the real challenge will be to sustain this momentum over time and turn it into value for both our clients and shareholders.

    What are the next steps for Gamaya? Any new deals or investment news on the horizon? Or crunchy news?
    We have a very detailed plan of actions for the next few month starting with a comprehensive commercial trials in Brazil in mid-November. In Brazil, we enjoy the support and interest of major industrial growers that we hope will turn into solid contracts within the next six months. We are planning to close an investment deal within the next month. It was a long and gruelling process and I believe we are almost there. Despite all the advice and stories we’ve heard from our fellow entrepreneurs, it is impossible to overestimate how long and challenging fundraising is.
    In the end, our biggest achievement so far is the remarkable team of cross-disciplinary experts that we have managed to bring together within a relatively short period of time. This is a bunch of dedicated and hardworking people that make me proud and confident that we will be able to achieve our goals. 

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    The venture leaders USA team of 2012 with Madiha Derouazi (second left, first row).

    Amal Therapeutics announces an exclusive patent license agreement with the University of Minnesota

    Mi. 28.10.2015, 17:00

    Amal Therapeutics SA ("Amal”), a Geneva based biotechnology company active in cancer immunotherapy announced today the signature of an exclusive patent license agreement with the University of Minnesota for the use of a novel peptide with potent immunostimulatory properties....Read more

    This novel peptide was discovered by the University of Minnesota’s Dr. John Ohlfest and Dr. Mike Olin seeking to enhance the effects of immunotherapy cancer vaccines. It was shown to have a unique mechanism of action, which led to significant activity over other adjuvants in pre-clinical testing.

    "The signature of this exclusive license agreement is an important milestone in the Amal development process. It consolidates our IP position and gives Amal the freedom to operate to further develop its Kisima technology platform” said Madiha Derouazi, Amal Therapeutics CEO.
    About Amal Therapeutics SA
    Amal Therapeutics SA is a privately held Swiss/German biotech start-up company and spin-off from the University of Geneva. Amal Therapeutics was incorporated in September 2012. Amal uses Kisima, its proprietary technology platform, to develop and progress therapeutic vaccines in oncology. Amal Therapeutics is a Venture Kick alumni and a venture leader USA 2012.  

    Amal reaches milestone after milestone. They jumped this year from rank Nr. 98 in 2014 to Nr. 34 in the TOP100. Over the past year, major investors have piled into the Geneva-based startup and an experienced pharmaceutical manager took over as president of the supervisory board. This year, Amal also made headlines on the technological/medical side of things. Cancer Research published Amal's study results in June. Cancer Research is no run-of-the-mill journal, but the most-cited one. Amal CEO Madiha Derouazihad this to say: “Our research results represent the proof of concept and demonstrate the strengths of our technology platform for the development of safe and effective vaccines against cancer.”

    About the University of Minnesota
    Founded in 1851, the University of Minnesota is ranked among the nation's top public research universities. As a land-grant institution, the U of M is committed to engaging Minnesota, national and global communities to advance interdisciplinary knowledge; enhance students' academic, civic, career, social and personal development; and apply intellectual and human capital to serve the public good.

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TOP 100 Startups

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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

venture leaders

venture leaders program – ten intense days in USA or China

Swiss startups ready to take over the World.

The venture leaders - the members of the Swiss national startup team- 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.


venture kick

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 also use the know-how of experienced experts and entrepreneurs and be granted access to a national network of investors.


venturelab workshops

Powered by industry professionals

Learn from entrepreneurs and industry leaders

In the last 10 years venturelab alumni have raised several 100 millions from investors and built successful businesses. Now they are ready to share with the next generation of talented hightech startups.

Learn more about the program

Directory of active investors

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The investors in early stage Swiss startups

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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Institut für Jungunternehmen

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.


Connecting the dots between Switzlerand and the world

Gioia Vichis Deutscher is the director of swissnex Brazil. After spending four years as the Haed of Startup and Innovation Services for swissnex San Francisco, Gioia Deutscher is now taking the lead in opening a new swissnex office in Brazil.

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Balz Strasser is the director of swissnex India. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoree. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation.

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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.