Discussions about how to turn Switzerland into a thriving hub for entrepreneurship and innovation have never been more heated. Startup founders and entrepreneurs are voicing the need for more reliable conditions in the form of government support, a better legal, regulatory and tax environment and a more social and political awareness of the Swiss startup ecosystem.
Despite the many challenges, the startup scene in Switzerland is pushing forward at a very rapid pace. The increasing amount of accelerators, incubators, investor platforms and rankings such as The Best Swiss Startups clearly demonstrate that there is no lack of drive. Here’s our list of 10 Swiss startups we recommend keeping a close eye on this year.
Gamaya is a data analytics startup which was founded in 2015 with the vision to empower farmers with unprecedented access to agronomic knowledge, timely intelligence and situational awareness of their land and crops using a unique combination of hyperspectral imaging and artificial intelligence. Information gathered by patented image sensors installed on drones helps farmers to pinpoint plant diseases, nutrient deficiencies and weeds, thus enabling them to counteract in a sustainable and timely manner.
GuestReady offers premium management services to homeowners with vacation rentals listed on Airbnb. In addition to housekeeping, maintenance and guest management services, GuestReady also helps customers maximise their revenue per booking by optimising listings, pricing and occupancy through a unique pricing strategy. Headquartered in St. Gallen, Switzerland, the company was founded in 2016 and is currently operating in six different countries.
Advanon was founded in 2015 by three former Google employees who had a common vision to make short-term financing fast and easy. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Advanon is an invoice financing platform that gives SMEs the flexible option to get their open invoices pre-financed by numerous investors. The platform gives SMEs access to funding within 24 hours, so they no longer have to wait 30 to 120 days for customers payments. Investors enjoy a short-term asset class, attractive returns and a chance to diversify their investment portfolios. Advanon is authorised as a financial intermediary directly subordinated to FINMA.
Nexiot is an ETH Zurich spin-off working to industrialise complex systems, big data algorithms and ultra low-power embedded technology. They aim to help industrial businesses gain a competitive edge by unleashing the power of Industrial IoT (Internet of Things). While components like sensors, wireless networks, interfaces, control systems and enterprise software are readily available, there are many challenges, particularly when it comes to global connectivity. Nexiot’s central product, the Globehopper smart sensor, provides data on location and tracks the status and whereabouts of non-powered mobile assets worldwide. Users receive information on a range of critical events and can react accordingly via automated response or human invention.
ScanTrust has invented a secure mobile product authentication solution that helps brand owners protect consumer goods from counterfeiting. By combining industry-leading 2D barcodes with a comprehensive software suite, ScanTrust has developed the world’s first copy-proof QR code. Secure QR codes feature a fingerprint function and can be directly printed on existing packaging labels or documents. The company’s cloud-based solution identifies counterfeit hotspots as well as offers supply-chain control and end-buyer analytics. ScanTrust has offices in Lausanne, Shanghai and Beijing.
Biowatch is creating advanced technology in the area of biometric authentication and wearables. This Swiss startup based in Martigny has designed the first miniature vein scanner that can be attached to any watch or wearable, transforming it into a secure biometric recognition device. Using the unique pattern of a user’s wrist veins, the Biowatch module enables users to make purchases, login to Internet portals, unlock vehicles, access an office building as well as sign digital documents. Biowatch replaces keys, passwords, badges and PIN numbers and guarantees secure identification of the legitimate user.
Comfylight is an award-winning startup that made its break as a participant in the incubation program of the BOSCH Internet of Things Lab at St. Gallen University and ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Their first product, Comfylight, is an innovative self-learning light bulb that offers comfort and proactively prevents break-ins. Equipped with an integrated motion sensor and WIFI module, this LED lamp stimulates motion patterns as a means to offer automated lighting and detect intruders. In the case of breaking and entering, users are immediately notified via the smartphone app.
Flyability is a passionate team of roboticists and specialists in various fields dedicated to facilitating drone inspections in confined, inaccessible spaces. The company develops flying robots that can be safely manoeuvred indoors and in complex environments. Special features include a spherical protective frame that ensures stability and safety upon collisions, easy piloting, high-resolution imagery, live video feedback and more.
Ava has created the first fertility-monitoring product on the market to use sensor technology to track menstrual cycles and detect fertility status in real-time. A stylish bracelet, worn while sleeping, measures nine physiological parameters that accurately indicate a woman’s fertility window. Data is collected and processed through a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The AVA ovulation-tracking bracelet is already helping couples in achieving pregnancy in the USA and is expected to be released on the Swiss market in 2017.
Lunaphore Technologies is a Lausanne-based startup which has developed an innovative tumour analysis and classification platform that performs immunohistochemistry based on microfluidic technology. Lunaphore’s innovative technology has the potential to be a disruptive alternative to classical immunohistochemistry. The young company secured funding from Redalpine Venture Partners and other investors.