7 Unexpected Swiss Start-ups
Switzerland is home to a high-quality start-up environment. In line with the country’s long-standing and traditional strengths in engineering, biotechnology, medical technology and financial services, many Swiss start-ups within those sectors seek to develop creative solutions in the technology sector.
But of course, Swiss ingenuity, creativity and know-how are not limited to any industrial sector. Numerous aspiring entrepreneurs are also finding innovative solutions and offering efficient services in sectors not commonly associated with Switzerland, thereby highlighting the nature of a truly diverse and vibrant start-up environment. Here are seven examples: which is your favourite ‘unusual’ Swiss start-up?
Without pollination, more than a third of our everyday food would disappear. To raise awareness of the key role of bees in our ecosystem, the ETH Zurich spin-off Wildbiene + Partner operates a system of allowing people to adopt wild bees. A sponsorship includes a BeeHome with about 15 mason bee cocoons at a stage of winter dormancy. Every year in spring the bees hatch and pollinate the plants in the area. In autumn, the BeeHome can be sent via mail to Wildbiene + Partner where the bees are professionally cared for, hibernated and the excess of cocoons is used next spring by Swiss farmers for the pollination of fruit. The species of bee used in the project, the mason bee, is absolutely harmless, does not sting and is not interested in our food or drinks. With a wild bee sponsorship anyone can home and actively proliferate wild bees and thus contribute to a safe and sustainable pollination in Switzerland.
Fresh, on-demand tortillas at home must be the dream of many a foodie. Flatev decided it was time to make this dream come true. The Zurich-based start-up is putting together a new device capable of baking a tortilla using small pods, in a style similar to the famous capsule coffee. Much like a toaster, it lets you adjust the crispiness of the tortilla to your taste. After only seconds of baking, a fresh tortilla slides out and is ready to go. The pods feature organic and preservative-free ingredients, guaranteeing an overall healthy meal. On Kickstarter, the company has raised more than USD 135,000 and expects to start delivering the tortilla-making machine in summer 2017.
Generating energy from wind is no revolution, but our friends from TwingTec are tackling this line of business with a new generation of wind-power technology that is quite different from traditional wind turbines. Using advanced lightweight construction technology, TwingTec flies a rigid kite more than 300 metres above the ground. With the help of strong, high-altitude winds, the kite’s circular movements generate energy. The whole system is mobile and works fully autonomously, requiring no infrastructure. The idea of the project is to bring wind energy to places where traditional wind turbines can’t be installed.
Ever wanted to communicate with your plants? Thanks to Vivent and their new device called Phytl Signs, monitoring your plant has risen to a new level of refinement. By harnessing bioelectrical signals, the device records and analyzes electrical signals emitted by plants. Plant lovers and professional growers can gain critical insights into how plants communicate their welfare and how they respond to changes in environmental conditions. Electricity generated by the plant is measured by two electrodes connected to a loudspeaker and then transformed into a digital signal, making noises when the voltage varies.
Founded in 2012, Fanpictor is an online tool enabling sports enthusiasts to design their own live sports choreographies, both with paper mosaics and mobile lightshows. Not only can fans think up their own creative designs, they can also have their say about which choreography finds its way into the stadium. Ultimately, the goal is to help build durable links between fans, teams and brands. Already successfully used at football, tennis and ice hockey events in Switzerland, Germany and the UK, the start-up is now aiming to enter the US market.
For people who always wanted to grow their own vegetables but couldn’t for lack of space, time or know-how, two entrepreneurs from Zurich University of Applied Sciences have come up with a creative solution – the Gmüesgärtli. This “garden in a box” is delivered as a kit, with instructions, and can be built in minutes, enabling you to create your own little garden free of weeds and snails. With the 100% organic seeds and soil that comes with the kit, the harvest can be very rich, with guaranteed quality and taste. The box comes in various sizes, with a standard model that will easily fit any balcony or small terrace.
Always looking for new and innovative ways to interact with an audience, this start-up AEROTAIN tackled the challenge with a new patented flying machine. Their sphere-shaped floating drone is now renowned for being the world’s safest, allowing it to operate in crowded areas without risk. It is absolutely unrestricted and can move freely, on demand, operated by skilled pilots. The drone is 100% customisable, becoming perfect attention-grabbing material for companies wanting to advertise their brand. The drone has already been operated successfully at events and keeps gaining the attention of companies looking for innovative marketing material.