People behind Swiss Innovation
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Swiss innovation and the people behind

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    Expert sessions in Beijing

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    The team jumping at the Great Wall

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    The team infront of the skyline from Beijing

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    Shanghai: the next New York?

    What’s on in China? Ten Swiss startups explore the Middle Kingdom with the venture leaders program.

    Mo. 29.09.2014, 11:00

    For Swiss startups, China is a key market to explore, with growing opportunities and exciting market prospects. Inspired by 13 years of success with the venture leaders USA program, venturelab decided to expand its offer and give new market opportunities to the most innovative Swiss startups, from September 2 to 12, 2014. Check out the adventures of the venture leaders China during their 10-days market exploration and business development journey in Beijing and Shanghai....Read more

    The ten-days program brought our Swiss national startup team to Beijing and Shanghai for a variety of activities including coaching, networking, pitching and business development. For most of them, it was their first time in China.

    After a great welcome from swissnex China in Beijing with special venture leaders’ cupcakes and the first Chinese business cards ever for our participants, the startup team had an early start on the second day of their Chinese journey. On their agenda: TusPark (Beijing) the largest university science park in the world with more than 600 startups. TusPark is an important platform for promoting innovation in this part of the world. It has an excellent reputation in China as well as in the global science park industry. There, the Swiss team dived into market perspectives and entry strategies, with great insights from Cyrill Eltschinger, a multi-cultural entrepreneur educated in Switzerland and in the United States. Cyrill Eltschinger has an experience of over 20 years working in the Chinese market. At lunch, the venture leaders China had the opportunity to network with TuSPark-based entrepreneurs. After an open afternoon dedicated to individual business development, everyone joined together at Tech Temple. Formerly an old factory, Tech Temple is now Beijing's largest co-working space. The welcome for the venture leaders couldn’t be better there: a poster with the Swiss startup team covered the full entry wall. Pitching, networking and a lot of fun during dinner, with many more insights about the Chinese market, made the evening program quite a successful one.

    The 3rd day in Beijing was fully dedicated to experts’ sessions and one-to-one discussions. The first workshop was held by Nicolas Musy, who has 20 years’ experience in trade, investment, management, strategy and living in China. He has an in-depth understanding of China’s market, culture, development and economic strategies in the global economy. He came back on several aspects of understanding and penetrating the Chinese market. It took place at the Binggo café, an extraordinary place at the Zhong Guan Cun technology hub, the first and largest techno hub in China (over 20’000 tech companies). It was followed by a full afternoon with David Kay in the amazing setup of Yuanfen Flow. David is a 20 years' resident of Beijing. After his tenure as Microsoft's Anti-piracy Czar, he decided to create a space where art and technology could come together: Yuanfen Flow. The day was concluded by a fantastic reception at the Swiss Embassy, with a very appreciated and spirited introduction by the Ambassador Jean-Jacques de Dardel, followed by the Swiss startup team pitching in front of an audience of more than 100 VIP’s. On Saturday, the crew visited the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, before moving to Shanghai on Sunday, for another exciting and intense week.

    Good morning, Shanghai
    Some say it will be the next New York: Shanghai. For the venture leaders, the next step of the journey was a full day on business in China held at swissnex Shanghai, often described as the “Chinese New York”. There, the Swiss startup team had the opportunity to focus on business at several meetings with industry and business representatives and at workshops about the multiple perspectives of developing business, fund-raising, company incorporation, culture, macro-economy and market opportunities in China. The continuous flow of information was a great source of expertise and experience for the participants. They learned about the right attitude to have towards this highly competitive and quickly changing market.

    The experts’ session at the HERO Center, the location of the Chinaccelerator, the first mentorship-driven seed-funding program in China, provided them with the opportunity to work in industry specific groups and interact with ten coaches from corresponding sectors. These sessions took them to the next level of business acceleration as they triggered several follow-up meetings. Every evening in Shanghai was the opportunity for a pitching session starting at the Hero Center with Chinese startups. The pitching sessions represented great opportunities to exchange with local up-and-coming companies. They were followed by a great reception at the Swiss consulate with VIP guests. Finally, the Global Pitchfest Championship was held after the first Lift conference in China on September 10th. There, our Swiss entrepreneurs competed with their Chinese counterparts in front of a friendly audience of more than 250 people. The finale was followed by a great networking reception, where the venture leaders China could create and strengthen numerous business ties.

    "First Swiss-class experience in China"
    On September 13th, all our venture leaders safely landed from their Chinese trip. They all had exciting news and stories to share with their respective teams and the overall startup community in Switzerland. “The venture leaders program in China is a real eye-opener. First Swiss-class experience in China", commented Salvador, CEO of Irewind: A good summary of the general impression of the participants. Looking forward, Pascal Marmier, swissnex Shanghai Director, also commented the "Chinese adventure”: “We’re looking forward to welcoming more startup entrepreneurs with risk tolerance, quick-learning capability and an open-minded vision, and having them learn and leverage how to make the best of this fast growing region in 2015”. Jordi Montserrat, venturelab managing Director, gave the final word: “We are very proud to have given our venture leaders the opportunity to dive into the Chinese market and to better understand its potential - and rules. We are very much looking forward to following them as they continue to develop their products and services internationally. Thanks to swissnex China for their warm welcome: we’re looking forward to hitting the Chinese ground for the second time next year!”.

    Additional Links
    Ready to take over China?
    Meet the venture leaders China
    Venture leaders USA

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    A first place in 3D: InSphero (photo: Tina Sturzenegger)

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    Second place goes to the Lausanne-based startup L.E.S.S. (photo: Tina Sturzenegger)

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    The Lausanne-based medtech company Abionic comes in 3rd place (photo: Tina Sturzenegger)

    TOP 100 2014: the best Swiss startups

    Mo. 29.09.2014, 08:00

    The ranking of the 100 best Swiss startups was revealed on 17 September in Zurich. The list was compiled by 100 renowned experts from the Swiss entrepreneurial scene who identify and help develop the most promising Swiss startups on a daily basis. Take a look at the 2014 ranking now....Read more

    First place in 3D: InSphero
    This year’s first place goes to the Zurich-based startup InSphero, created by graduates from the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. Founded in 2009, it owes its success to the production of 3D tissues that accelerate the development of new medicine, for example in cancer research. Its clients are internationally recognised companies in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and chemical sectors. This up-and-coming company benefited early on from support from the venture kick, venture lab and venture leaders USA programs. Second place has been given to L.E.S.S, a Lausanne-based company whose light-producing nanostructured fibres are transforming the LED sector. The medical technology startup Abionic, also based in Lausanne, claims third place thanks to the first allergy diagnosis tool for use in doctors’ practices.

    Venture Kick: 59% of the TOP 100
    A total of 59 startups, including 8 in the TOP 10, were launched with the help from venture kick. These include L.E.S.S, Abionic, Housetrip, QualySense, Bcomp, Climeworks and Dacuda. The initial capital of 130,000CHF combined with the support network and expert assistance has helped these entrepreneurs, graduates from top Swiss universities, to lay solid foundations and accelerate their development. Amongst the 100 startups in the ranking, 39 are from the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

    Switzerland, a place for innovative ideas
    Despite its small size, Switzerland is still an important place for innovative ideas which high market potential. The TOP 100 is a perfect example of the strong innovative capabilities of our country. It shows that Switzerland often meets, and even exceeds, global standards of technology and competitiveness: A key factor to enable new companies to see the light of day, generate new jobs and survive in the long term.

    Media partnership with PME Magazine and Handelszeitung
    Our media partners, PME Magazine and Handelszeitung, have paid tribute to the TOP 100 ranking again this year. A special edition focusing on this year’s best startups hit the newsstands recently. Download these special issues now, exclusively on our site www.startup.ch, where you will also be able to see the full TOP 100 2014 table and learn more about the experts behind the ranking.

    Additional Links
    Learn more about InSphero
    Learn more about L.E.S.S.
    Learn more about Abionic
    Discover this year's TOP 100
    Learn more about the experts behind the ranking
    Download PME Magazine's and Handelszeitung' special editions about the TOP 100 2014

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    Ioannis Tarnanas from Alterniity

    Interview with venture case winner Alterniity: "We didn’t fly too high or too low”

    Do. 25.09.2014, 09:00

    Alterniity a University of Bern spin-off, develops software designed to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and to retard the onset and progression of the disease. Now they obtained CHF 20’000 of pre-seed capital and are qualified for the next stage to win CHF 100’000 more. Check out their success story in our interview....Read more

    Dear Ioannis, how and why did you launch Alterniity?
    Alterniity GmbH is a University of Bern spin-off. The Serious Game project started at the University of Berne 2013, but also has a long history behind it. The research and clinical trials shaping the Serious Game project strategy at the University of Bern started 12 years ago and was awarded at prestigious events, e.g. EU Archimedes award 2001, European Open Science Forum 2006, TedX academy, Call to Innovation 2013, iENA international trade fair 2013, Novartis fellowship on healthy aging 2014 etc. That along with the scientific data to date gave us the confidence and validation to launch Alterniity GmbH at March 2014.

    What stage of its development is Alterniity today?
    We have developed a prototype, we have tested the prototype in a clinical trial for the early screening of Alzheimer Disease (AD), we have filed for IP protection and we are now preparing the next clinical trial, which will evaluate the next version of the prototype for cognitive reserve exercising.

    How is your product/service positioned regards to your competitors (on the market)?
    Our product/service for early screening is well positioned at a niche market because of our clinical trial data to date. This has been the core of our project from the start, since we are a data-driven startup. The market in general is quite promising but still untapped. It is not common knowledge yet that a software solution can offer early screening for AD comparable to some biomarkers. We will continue expanding on our dataset and clinical trials and that collection of data, which is difficult to be collected in an accelerated mode by a big corporation (because of the nature of the disease) is what will keep us ahead of the competition for the future. 
     
    Why did you apply for venture kick?
    venture kick is the lead startup “kick” instrument at Switzerland. We believe in the power of networking and since Switzerland is a Med-Tech HUB, we had really no choice but to apply for venture kick.

    How did you convince the jury?
    We said things as they are. We didn’t “fly too high or too low”. I believe that our research history, expertise on the subject matter and clinical data collection so far gave us the confidence to appear in-front of the jury with simple slides and look them at the eyes. Of course we still have weaknesses at our business model that we need to work on but we also have some strengths and one of the biggest ones is our motivation to be the first and best team to tackle such an important problem like the “early screening” and “potential slowdown” of Alzheimer’s disease type of dementia and other dementias.
     
    What are the 1-2 most important benefits of the venture kick program?
    The kickers camp is by far the most important benefit, apart from the money. You can consider the kickers camp as a “wake up call” to all wannabe entrepreneurs! The experience and lessons learned are just invaluable and you would have to spend many years and burn money at the field before you can get the same experience on your own.
     
    What do you think is the impact of the venture kick program on the Swiss startup industry?
    venture kick is an excellent filter and pre-selection mechanism for promising startups. We believe that the benefit for the Swiss industry is twofold: a) It completely registers and ranks the R&D done at the top academic institutions and give a very good overview of the trends and b) It filters and boosts the selected few that can actually generate revenue and thus bring money back to the Swiss society.
     
    Why would you recommend the program to other startups?
    venture kick is a simple and straight forward approach. If you have a good idea, team and business model, you just pitch it in front of the right people, looking them at the eyes. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. A CEO will always pitch at his life, however it is the feedback you get here that makes the program so valuable, because even if you fail, your next pitch is going to be much more effective than your first one.
     
    What kind of advice would you give to another young entrepreneur?
    Keep chasing your dreams. The route to success is tough and you make a lot of sacrifices along the way. There are no recipes and nobody knows what the “next big thing” is. However, your passion, motivation and knowledge are your tools that will give you the edge and as we say here at Alterniity GmbH: “Your time is important, but so is your knowledge”!!

    Additional Links
    Want to get the kick? Apply here

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    The team of Fastree3D

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    The team of Relish Guitars Switzerland

    Fastree3D SA and Relish Guitars Switzerland kicked by CHF 130’000 to reinforce and develop their innovative businesses

    Mi. 24.09.2014, 10:00

    And the winners of the third and last round of venture kick are: Fastree3D, a spin-off from EPFL that develops 3D vision systems for the cars of the future, and Relish Guitars, a Lucern-based company that hit the market with “Jane”, a revolutionary electric guitar by its design and sound. Each startup wins CHF 130'000, the maximum funding capital given to startups by our program. ...Read more

    Intelligent and automated objects are booming, and we will increasingly rely on them for our security. In the automotive sector for example, most of today’s cars enable us to avoid damages thanks to sound or video assistance. Fastree3D, a spin-off from Prof. Edoardo Charbon’s laboratory of quantum architecture, intends to revolutionize the market of automotive and robotics safety. Founded in 2013, Fastree3D develops 3D imaging treatment systems based on a sensor technology (CMOS). Their 3D vision cameras enable vehicles to detect fast moving objects, even at a long distance, in a fast and real-time way. The car’s driving aids are then able to react to danger on time, by breaking or by avoiding an obstacle. The state-of-the-art technology, working at night time as well as in blazing sunlight, promises to considerably reduce accidents. Industrial vision, metrology and medicine are the other possible applications for Fastree3D’s technology.

    Establishing business ties with the industry for the venture kick’s final stage
    In a near future, 3D vision will become a standard in our cars and will drastically reduce accidents by identifying obstacles on the road. Today already, in the United States, all vehicles coming out of factory are obliged to be equipped with cameras. For Prof. Edoardo Charbon, co-founder of Fastree3D and architect of Canestra, a company bought by Microsoft to develop the Kinect, “the venture kick challenge has given a vote of confidence to Fastree3D, a company that intends to revolutionize the automotive safety market with the next generation in 3D vision technology”.This market is expected to exceed one billion dollars in 2018. Many players, active in the automotive integration business, have already indicated their interest for the innovative systems of the Lausanne-based startup. Those industry ties have been a priority task for Fastree3D in order to win the final stage of venture kick. Its innovative technology, its many patents and a successful technology transfer at EPFL enable Fastree3D to be part of the TOP 100 ranking of the best swiss startups for the first time this year, at the 72th position.   
         
    1954 Fender, 2014 Relish Guitars: the swiss startup enters the global guitar market
    Since 60 years, electric guitars have always been built the same way. Relish Guitar, a Lucern-based startup founded in 2010, promises to revolutionize the market with its e-guitar called “Jane”. Jane’s innovative manufacturing technique (no tropical wood is used), as well as her sound and design, have already impressed many musicians and key industry players in Switzerland and abroad. “Jane” distinguishes herself from competition thanks to a high-tech construction mode: an aluminum frame encircled with two veneered wood bodies produce a unique, warm and lasting sound. The two founders of Relish Guitars, Pirmin Giger et Silvan Küng, have benefited from the help of venture kick to develop their “swiss made” company: “Beat Schilling, Director of venture kick, told us one day: ‘If your product can play in Champions League, then go ahead and play in Champions League!’ This advice, as well as many more which we received during the program, has been crucial to develop our product and our company vision”. This success enables Relish Guitars to reach the 62th position of the TOP 100 best swiss startups for the first time this year.

    Additional Links
    More information on Fastree3D
    More information on Relish Guitars
    Discover "Jane" from Relish Guitars on video
    Listen to what Fastree3D says about their technology in video
    Discover all TOP 100 startups of 2014
    Set your startup on the track to success thanks to venture kick

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    PumpTire CEO Ben Krempel

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    This is how the new design looks like

    The next level for PumpTire

    Fr. 05.09.2014, 09:00

    What could be better than maintenance free bicycle tires? This is what Benjamin Krempel and his team from PumpTire are asking. And what they enable. Founded in 2012, making it to venture kick final in 2013, they now come up with some great news: They completed their latest functional prototype. Learn more in our interview with PumpTire CEO Benjamin Krempel....Read more

    Ben, you just completed your latest prototype. Will the maintenance free bike now become reality?
    Yes, it looks like it's on its way - at least as far as tires and inner tubes are concerned. Our new design keeps your tires inflated by drawing in air from the atmosphere and pushing it into the inner tube while you ride. The design also protects the inner tube from puncture flats. 
     
    What distinguishes your new version from the ones before?
    The ride quality and simplicity of the design are amazing. Two years ago we built the first self-inflating inner tube, as a concept to see if we could actually get something to work. We literally just wanted to prove that it was possible because it seemed to many people to be an idea that defied the laws of physics.
    The new design does not affect the ride quality and is imperceptible to the rider. The design is also very energy efficient. That is to say a lot of the energy used to operate the pumping mechanism is returned to the system by the springiness or elasticity of the materials used. Of course it still takes energy to push the air into the inner tube, but it's a pretty small amount.
     
    When do you plan to enter the market?
    We expect to sell product in early 2016. Our first products will target urban commuters and eBikes. One of the benefits of going through a long development cycle is having the time to assemble a great development team. We have taken a lot of technical risk out of the product and I'm confident in the team's ability to see the product through production.
     
    What were the biggest entrepreneurial challenges you had to handle?
    We are just coming out of a near death experience. For over a year we built various prototypes and came up with new designs, but couldn't get the system to work properly. We set the expectations with investors that we would raise money after the completion of the next working prototype. When that didn't happen we had limited funds to move forward. You can mentally and financially go through the valley of death and not come back out.
    In 2012-2013 we raised an initial CHF 250K to prototype the design we had been working on and then we couldn't get it to work. We did a lot of prototyping and realized in the process we were trying to solve the wrong technical problem.
    In the beginning of 2014, we started playing with a design concept that looked promising.  We did a lot of rapid prototyping, which hinted at the solution, but because of material limitations we could not build a working prototype by this method. Then we came up with a quick and cheap method that produced high quality, high strength components that allowed us to create many iterations. This process resulted in the design breakthrough.
     
    What are the next steps for PumpTire?
    We have just begun fundraising our Series A CHF 1M round. Our goal is to close this round by the end of 2014. The money will be used to take us from where we are today to a production-ready design and completion of pilot sales in 2016.
     
    And what’s the best advice you ever received in your entrepreneurial career?
    For us, right now it's about the ability and importance of perseverance.  You must find a way to move forward. Lately I've been listening to this motivational video challenging you to get back up and persevere. 
     

    Additional Links
    Learn more about PumpTire
    You need a kick?

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    The team of AquAero

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    The team of SwissBlot

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    Miguel Barreto-Sanz from SimplicityBio

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    Amaury Soviche from OneSnap

    Who are the latest venture pitch winners?

    Mi. 03.09.2014, 10:00

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

    Extracting water from air in an energy efficient way.
    AquAero develops a process engineering machine that extracts water from air in the most energy efficient way. The machine will be able to provide some 1000 people a day with drinking water.

    An easy and versatile option for performing Western Blot
    The aim of SwissBlot is to innovate Western Blot, a tedious laboratory experiment that is frequently used in life science research, both in academia and industry. The device allows a fast and hand-free analysis of proteins, such as biomarkers, in a highly reproducible manner.

    Customized in-silico solutions using multiple biomarkers simultaneously
    SimplicityBio’s vision is to be one of the world’s leading biomarker discovery companies in the molecular diagnostic market, providing to clients services and products based on robust signatures using multiple biomarkers.

    A simpler and faster way to accept payments online and in apps.
    Onesnap is a mobile payment system for eCommerce websites. You can pay for anything from this smartphone app. Buy on any computer, a tablet, your phone, or in real life, painlessly and without exposing your sensitive information.

    Additional Links
    Get your kick here

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    Ioannis Tarnanas from Alterniity

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    The team of Flyability

    Discover the venture case winners: A new way to fight Alzheimer`s disease and an insect-inspired micro-drone

    Mo. 01.09.2014, 10:00

    Flyability, the latest venture leader 2014 from EPF Lausanne and Alterniity, from the University Berne, are the winners of venture kick’s second stage. They obtained CHF 20’000 of pre-seed capital and are qualified for the next stage to win, if they are successful, CHF 100’000 more...Read more

    A serious game software able to detect and retard Alzheimer's and dementia
    Alterniity a venture challenge alumnus and University of Berne spin-off, develops software to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and to retard the onset and progression of the disease.

    An insect-inspired micro-drone which can collide on obstacles and continue its flight undisturbed.
    Flyability is developing Gimball, a game-changing flying robot which can be flown indoors and in complex environments: it can stay stable after collisions with obstacles and can thus be used where no other robot can. Furthermore, it is safe to fly close to humans. Getting inspiration from how insects handle collisions in flight, Flyability solve the problem of indoor flight by mimicking the behavior of such small animals, like flies, which easily recover after encountering an obstacle by bouncing and continuing flying undisturbed. The innovation of Gimball lies in the patented rotating protective frame and flight control algorithms developed during 5 years of research at EPFL in Switzerland.

    Check out the venture leaders video-interview with Patrick Thévoz from Flyability:

    Additional Links
    Want to get the kick? Apply here
    Want to be a venture leader 2015? Apply here

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    Interview - Vincent Forster, Versantis founder

    "Switzerland is a unique place for starting a company, especially in the biotech industry"

    Di. 19.08.2014, 18:00

    Four projects were selected and had the opportunity to present their business ideas in front of a jury of successful entrepreneurs and investors. Lunaphore and Versantis, the venture leaders US 2014, got the second stage kick and won CHF 20’000 of pre-seed capital. In the next stage they have the chance to get CHF 100'000. We met Vincent Forster, founder of Versantis....Read more

    1.    How and why did you launch your startup?

    About two years ago, we had the idea to combine peritoneal dialysis – a common medical procedure – with a detoxification technology developed in the laboratory of Prof. Leroux (ETH Zurich). This combination led to a patentable product with several promising medical applications. The first in vivo tests with this microvesicle-based peritoneal dialysis worked so well that we immediately understood the potential of this newly-engineered detoxification therapy. From that moment, things moved rapidly forward. Our patent was selected to be among the best ETH inventions of the year, we received support through the ETH Pioneer Fellowship, and our strategy/markets/financials were put together into a business plan that was awarded at several occasions. With such a positive start, Versantis has the wind at its back and an encouraging future ahead!

    2.    What is the meaning of your company name?
    In a way, the name Versantis tells the whole story of our company and contains two of our core foundations: versatile and antidote. The latter describes the action of our product: neutralizing the toxicity of poisons, drugs, or toxins; and the former highlights its wide range of application.

    3.    What stage of its development is your startup today? What are the next steps?
    By now, Versantis has shown to hold a strong business case with high potential. However, the greatest challenge remains ahead: fundraising! Being in the biotech field, Versantis will need substantial financial support to bring its product to the patients’ bedside. Nevertheless, as Versantis’ product responds to unmet medical needs in two large and rapidly growing markets (acute liver failures and drug overdoses), the founding team remains very optimistic!
    In terms of product R&D, Versantis has already demonstrated the proof of concept in rats. We hope to conclude all preclinical trials by the end of 2015 and start the first-in-man studies right after. The upcoming two years will be an exciting period for us!

    4.    How is your startup positioned regards to your competitors (on the market)?
    Our product is safe, efficient, and can easily be provided in any medical facility around the globe. On the contrary, the detoxification therapies available today (hemodialysis) are very heavy in terms of costs, technical complexity, as well as personnel requirements, and can induce lethal complications. Versantis’ product has a clear competitive advantage compared to hemodialysis, which is particularly difficult to implement in severe and pediatric cases. Thanks to its technical simplicity, our product presents a great opportunity to treat patients in developing countries, where hemodialysis is rarely available.

    5.    Why did you apply for venture kick?
    Venture Kick is the most widely recognize Startup acceleration program in Switzerland. It is for us an excellent opportunity to present our venture to a professional and critical audience, to increase our visibility, and to get access to initial funds necessary to build up our business.

    6.    Explain how the venture kick program helps you?
    Venture Kick has been extremely kind at opening its large network within the biotech/pharma ecosystem. This bridge towards Switzerland-based advisors/investors is the most valuable support Versantis could profit from at a startup phase. In addition, the business acceleration programs, the online visibility, and obviously, the financial supports were very helpful.

    7.    How did you convince the jury?
    Well, that’s probably the hardest question. I think we successfully showed a clear focus and well-though development strategy. The presentation itself was also solid and the team confident during the Q&A session. Additionally, the high medical needs and large market potential must have help to convince them as well.

    8.    What kind of advice would you give to another young entrepreneur?
    In three words: go for it! Switzerland is a unique place for starting a company, especially in the biotech industry. There is plenty of support from different sources, so go out, talk to people, learn, adapt, and make your company visible.

    9.    Why would you recommend the venture kick program to other startups?
    Network, funding, advices, acceleration programs, and visibility. Venture Kick is the perfect place to start, it is an excellent opportunity to rehearse and clarify your pitch, and it does help you to turn your venture upside down to challenge your business strategy.

    10.  What do you think is the impact of the venture kick program on the Swiss startup industry?
    We need programs such as Venture Kick. These programs are the bridging link between great ideas or academic projects and industrialization. They are necessary to keep Switzerland’s innovation dynamism high.

    11.  You participated also to venture leaders USA, what did you get out of it?
    Venture Leaders was definitely an intense program. What did I get out of it? Valuable skill sets in terms of management, business strategy, partnership, negotiations, and presentation. But the most significant outcomes were new contacts I met during this trip, which are now important advisors, and of course the great fun we had with the other Venture Leaders.
     

    Additional Links
    More about Versantis

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    Interview of Ata Tuna CIFTLIK - Lunaphore

    "Just being a kick stage winner is already good to increase credibility in the Swiss start-up scene"

    Di. 19.08.2014, 17:40

    Four projects were selected and had the opportunity to present their business ideas in front of a jury of successful entrepreneurs and investors. Lunaphore and Versantis, the venture leaders US 2014, got the second stage kick and won CHF 20’000 of pre-seed capital. In the next stage they have the chance to get CHF 100'000. We met Ata Tuna CIFTLIK, CEO and founder of Lunaphore....Read more

    1.    How and why did you launch your startup?
    There is always a combination of multiple personal and professional reasons. The main personal reason seems like the gravity of the adventure and challenge, the same attractive force that made explorers sail towards the ocean. The professional reason is the size of the opportunity in both the earning and the learning.

    There is no other setting that you can simultaneously learn and earn that fast and that much.
    I was at this mindset. When I filed a good patent during my PhD, it became a real project. When I found the first co-founder (actually he found me), the project became a start-up.

    2.    What is the meaning of your company name?
    Very popular question. Literally it means the “carrier of the moon”. We just like how it sounds and stands-out more than the meaning. After looking for a name for weeks, when “Lunaphore” was said, we loved it at the first moment.

    3.    What stage of its development is your startup today? What are the next steps?
    Our prototype is working and preliminary clinical studies were completed successfully. Now, we would like to close the financial round as soon as possible to start advanced clinical trials and industrial production steps.

    4.    How is your startup positioned regards to your competitors (on the market)?
    Competitors are potential buyers; hence our mission is to open new markets and new applications in the existing market using our technological advantages. For example, our fast assay capability in less than 5 minutes, versus a few hours, opens a spectrum of applications that was not possible before. In addition, existing systems are set out to automate diagnostic workflow in large central laboratories, while we offer the capability of performing these assays in any setting.

    5.    Why did you apply for venture kick?
    A start-up always needs cash and visibility among investors and partners. This is how we stay alive. Venture kick was both of them.

    6.    Explain how the venture kick program helps you?
    Just being a kick stage winner is already good to increase credibility in the Swiss start-up scene. Nevertheless, I get the real benefit when Jordi and Beat “smashed” me real good at the kickers camp. If you listen them instead of crying, they vaccinate you against all the odds that might kill you in the near future. It hurts but makes you stronger.

    7.    How did you convince the jury?
    Presentation should be good. This is the minimum standard to be taken seriously. However, the game is always won in the Q&A: be prepared as a team and answer articulate.

    8.    What kind of advice would you give to another young entrepreneur?
    One: Go online and watch the video “First follower: Leadership lessons from dancing guy”. Two: accept that you are incapable of doing anything worthy when you are alone, so should surround yourself with great people. Three: listen listen listen. Listen customers, investors, coaches, and advisors then filter this information together your team members. The rest will come.

    9.    Why would you recommend the venture kick program to other startups?
    Most competitions just assess the status quo of your company. Venture Kick is particularly different than other cash prizes.
    The progress that you can achieve within a given period and budget is the essence that investors look for in a start-up team. Venture kick makes this for them by assessing the progress you achieve: In each stage, they give some money that you can use to show how much you can do within a few months. In the end, you have something solid to show.

    10.  What do you think is the impact of the venture kick program on the Swiss startup industry?
    They somehow create it.
    It starts with the inception of the idea of working in a start-up or starting your business among the talented young people in Switzerland. They put this in your mind as a serious alternative when compared to safe jobs. Later, by assessing your start-up, they make you credible among investors and customers.

    11.  You participated also to venture leaders USA, what did you get out of it?
    Before venture leaders, I had psychological barriers making me think that entering to US market is a rather impossible or a remote goal. When I was on the return flight, US had been the first international goal in our business plan. Similarly, I’ve seen that US investors can be much easier to get in: the perceptions of risk and assessment criteria are primarily different that what I saw here.
    The last, and perhaps the most important, was the 2 weeks I have spent with the CEO’s of the most significant 20 start-ups in Switzerland: an incredible opportunity for exchanging ideas. Plus, I can just call them whenever I need and share my experience with people struggling around the same problems as I have.
     

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  • StartUp Challenge 1 40042.jpg
    The winners are ScanTrust, eSMART, Geosatis, Hoosh and CashSentinel

    Swisscom StartUp Challenge 2014: the five winners have been chosen

    Di. 19.08.2014, 15:15

    ScanTrust, eSMART, Geosatis, Hoosh and CashSentinel are the winners of the second Swisscom StartUp Challenge. The Swisscom award recognises innovative business models while supporting the Swiss startup scene. The five winners competed against more than 100 startups. Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, Head of Swisscom's SME division, was impressed by the quality of the entrants: "Yet again, these startups made me aware of just how much innovative capability we have in our country."...Read more

    More than 100 startups from the fields of ICT, media and cleantech entered this year's Startup Challenge. Ten qualified for the final and presented their decisive pitch before an expert jury made up of Swisscom managers and specialists from venturelab.  Five startups succeeded in winning over the jury with their business model: ScanTrust (Lausanne), eSMART (Ecublens), Geosatis (Lausanne), Hoosh (Lugano) and CashSentinel (Yverdon-les-Bains) are the winners of this year's Challenge award. The five startups will travel to California's Silicon Valley in October, where they will attend a Swisscom-tailored mentoring programme.  "Behind these companies are motivated young entrepreneurs who are prepared to take the world’s markets by storm. The Swisscom StartUp Challenge will open up important doors for them in Silicon Valley," says Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, initiator of the Challenge award and Head of Swisscom's SME division.

    Next stop: Silicon Valley
    The five startups will begin the one-week mentoring programme in Silicon Valley – the world's leading site of the IT and high-tech industry – on 12 October 2014. There the young entrepreneurs will foster contacts with international partners and experienced investors and perfect their own business models in collaboration with mentors. "We will use the programme in Silicon Valley to put the final touches to our business idea. We have our sights on the American market and are looking to establish our own branch in San Francisco," says Reshad Moussa, Chief Business Development Officer at the winning startup Geosatis.

    French-speaking Switzerland leads on technological trends
    Four of the five winners come from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. This reflects developments in the national startup scene, where Lausanne is fast becoming a second hotspot for young entrepreneurs. All of the winners are active in future-oriented sectors such as the energy market, cashless payment or machine-to-machine communication. These business fields offer scope for innovation, making them especially interesting for startups. Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler sums it up: "Since Switzerland lacks its own natural resources, knowledge is our most important resource. We can proudly say we are one of the world's most innovative countries. Startups like our Challenger winners are key contributors to this."

    The winners
    CashSentinel – for secure cashless payment when buying used cars
    CashSentinel is an escrow service aimed at improving security for people buying and selling used cars. Large sums of money can be transferred securely via mobile phone. Buyers and sellers approve the transaction simultaneously, thereby eliminating the risks associated with making advance payments or carrying large amounts of cash in your pocket.

    Geosatis – ankle tags 2.0
    The goal of Geosatis is that by using electronic, GPS-based monitoring the social reintegration of non-violent criminals can be made easier, more humane and  cheaper. The company provides all the products needed for this: from the electronic tag to the monitoring software to the app. The offender can remain in his familiar living environment, thus saving on prison costs.

    Hoosh – the truly intelligent marketing tool
    Which keyword targeting should the company use with Google? Has the company's online ranking improved? How can more traffic be generated on the website? These and similar questions are answered by the online marketing intelligence provider Hoosh. Hoosh helps companies boost the performance of their online business.

    ScanTrust – real protection from counterfeiting
    The ScanTrust solution protects brand owners and authors from counterfeiting. It is based on a QR code which is integrated into the packaging or directly into the product. The code guarantees authenticity of the item. The customer scans the code using a smartphone app and by doing so simultaneously calls up further information about the item. The generated customer information is forwarded to the manufacturer, which can then use the data to optimise its products.

    eSMART – energy consumption under control
    Reducing energy consumption lies at the heart of eSMART. The service allows electricity, water and heating consumption to be analysed at a glance. The connected devices can be managed via smartphone or tablet. This way customers can keep tabs on their energy consumption and costs.

    Additional Links
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TOP 100 Startups

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60 venture kickers made it to the TOP 100 startups

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

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.

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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.

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venturelab workshops

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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.

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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.

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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