Swiss entrepreneurial genius exported to Munich
A small market with big ideas: the best Swiss start-ups showcase their strengths in financial technology, medical technology and wearable products internationally, marking a key stage in their growth.
Switzerland may be a small country but its promising start-up scene has gained international recognition. Every year, over 200 start-ups are founded in Switzerland. Switzerland's reputation is well established: a spirit of innovation and enterprise, renowned universities and higher education institutions, entrepreneurial expertise and the presence of big investors. Switzerland has significant advantages it can showcase internationally. It is for these reasons that the Swiss IFJ foundation has been supporting young entrepreneurs for 25 years.
IFJ helps Swiss start-ups to grow through training and coaching programmes. As part of its #GoGermany contest, IFJ has selected 20 promising young Swiss start-ups to spend two days in Munich, "because confronting their business model with the international market is a key stage in their growth", stresses Simon May, who is responsible for IFJ partnerships between Switzerland and foreign stakeholders.
Who are these award-winning start-ups that stand for Swiss innovation? A close-up look:
E-commerce, business and services
With his start-up 1ClickTrips Sascha Gros, from Zug, is revolutionising business travel. This online booking platform allows users to plan every detail of their business trips and take advantage of the best travel, transport and hotel deals. In a different vein, BoxTango, a start-up in the canton of Aargau, organises the transport of freight containers by rail. This start-up aims to use its technology to reduce the environmental impact of commercial traffic.
Fashwell, for its part, enables online shoppers to keep up with the latest fashions. Thanks to the image recognition technology developed by this young company in Zurich, Instagram users who 'like' a fashion item are directly linked to the label's e-shopping platform.
Montemedia specialises in targeted online marketing. The algorithms developed by this Zurich-based start-up allow internet users to only see those ads that match their tastes, preferences and online behaviour.
Payrexx is successfully breaking into the financial technologies market by offering its Swiss and German corporate clients a cloud-based online payment service. Lastly, Terria Mobile enables companies to manage mobile applications more effectively on various platforms, in terms of storage, integration and management of content, and also synchronisation and security.
Sport and leisure
'Quantified self' tools to track personal activity have for some years been a growing niche of rather expensive sports accessories. FieldWiz, a tool developed by Julien Moix, Lionel Yersin and Michael Dizerens in the canton of Vaud offers similar features at a more affordable price. FieldWiz is a device incorporating a GPS unit weighing just 45 grammes and an accelerometer which is integrated in a player's vest.
This idea ought to appeal to the Bernese start-up IbelieveinYou, a company that specialises in crowdfunding sports projects. Appentura is revolutionising the concept of gift vouchers. The person giving the gift voucher selects a number of activities the recipient might enjoy (a ski holiday, a spa treatment, etc.) The recipient is then offered a surprise activity that matches their tastes and availability.
On a different note, iGroove's challenge is to swim against the tide of online music sites. This Swiss music portal foregrounds songwriters, composers and performers. Artists can upload their music free of charge and set the price for downloading it. The price can subsequently be modified without any restrictions. Artists who want even more can register with livebeats, a video streaming service that offers artists a virtual stage to share their performances with their friends and fans around the world.
Medical technology and biotechnology
aehealthCare.org, a portal designed by Sami Galal from the canton of Zurich, enables patients with chronic illnesses to communicate more effectively with doctors by sharing with them how they are responding to treatments. Rqmicro has reduced the time it takes to detect a pathogen in a water sample from ten days to one hour. Its technology binds antibodies to magnetic nanoparticles to detect pathogens in water and food samples.
Smart-Me has developed a tool that allows users to remotely monitor their consumption of electricity, heating, water and gas with their smartphone, tablet or computer. It can be used with more than 1,000 different devices.
Last, ZuriMed is a start-up which markets a new implant called Bone-Tendon-Bone for the reconstruction of knee ligaments.
Human resources and work environment
Founded three years ago, BuddyBroker (Equipia) simplifies the process of recruiting young talent. This intelligent tool, which selects potential candidates it finds on social media, prevents companies from letting that rare diamond fall between the cracks. Locatee is transforming how workplaces are organised. Employees are no longer assigned to a fixed office.
With Locatee they can choose where to work, in a shared office or in a quiet office, based on their needs. The obvious advantage for companies is that they can save space and money. We have all heard of crowdfunding. Now there is also crowdhiring: TestingTime, a start-up based in Zurich, has developed an automated, cost-effective system to recruit test users. For example, the system allows companies to have their new products or services tested by ordinary users.
Media and communications
Dacuda, a Zurich-based start-up, has launched a mini scanner users can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth to their PC, Mac or iPad.
For Newsroom-Communication there is no question that in the digital age, communicating about an event requires the effective combination of journalism, public relations and marketing. This is precisely what this start-up, which is based in Bern, offers clients wishing to advertise events such as the Olympic Games, concerts or business conferences.