25 Swiss Startups and Fintech Startups Changing the World
Switzerland is known for its snow-capped ski mountains, high-quality chocolate, and pristine, historical cityscapes.
Now, thanks to a technology boom and the omnipresence of the Internet, Switzerland is also known for its startup scene.
The Silicon Alps are home to hundreds of startups in a range of diverse industries, including technology, healthcare, nonprofits and more. And despite these differences, each company shares a common, undeniable theme: a will to change the world.
From disease-curing biotech companies to eco-friendly insect burgers, here are 25 Swiss startups on a mission to improve life on earth.
Startup Switzerland: Innovative Businesses and Fintech in Switzerland
Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a proven form of rehabilitation therapy for stroke patients, but it’s only available to those who have retained partial movement in a limb — and that’s just six to ten percent of all stroke patients.
Intento is on a mission to expand CIMT to the 17 million people across the world who suffer from strokes each year. According to co-founder Andrea Maesani, “our goal at intento is to bring constraint-induced movement therapy to all stroke patients.”
Emphasising real-world exploration, human interaction and tailor-made experiences, Gbanga’s games are redefining the augmented reality niche by making it accessible to everyday consumers. As chief executive of the developer Matthias Sala explains, “We at Gbanga believe that is a significant step forward in the development of location-based mixed-reality games and in our quest to create more immersive and tailor-made game experiences.”
Poken helps conference and event vendors create more targeted and engaging events by digitising traditional processes. As Poken founder and CEO Stéphane Doutriaux says, “Many event organisers miss the opportunity that collecting detailed, relevant data can provide them, especially as it relates to long term planning.” For example, event attendees are given smart badges that can be used to gather information, like sales literature and social media links, in a digital format.
Flyability’s drones improve access to inaccessible places. For jobs in risky industries such as oil and gas, for example, the Gimball drone can conduct dangerous industrial inspections in lieu of a person. Gimball is also more durable than other drones – forceful impacts are “absorbed by the cage and translated into rotational energy,” making Gimball the ideal tool for mountain search and rescue efforts.
Piavita creates a small, wireless veterinary device, which “allows continuous data measurement without placing the animal under stress, thus producing more reliable data,” investiere writes. Traditional vital monitoring tools require an uncomfortable experience for the animal, but Piavita provides a quick, easy way to access and share detailed vitals information, thereby advancing the capabilities of veterinary science.
This Swiss technology company creates alert systems for natural hazards like avalanches and landslides. Geopraevent radar monitors at-risk areas and sends alerts to nearby residents via SMS, email and phone. Geopraevent’s systems are currently installed in six different countries, and they have been shown to warn about avalanches before they even occur.
Most baby food companies sterilise their foods at an extremely high heat, which causes the food to lose its nutritional value. Yamo differs from these companies by instead using a sterilisation process called HPP (high-pressure pasteurisation), a much more gentle method that rids of the bacteria in food while retaining its nutritional value.
Share a Dream
In a world with millions of NGOs, about 70 percent of all charitable donations go to the biggest 1 percent of charities. Share a Dream aims to close that gap by giving smaller, community-minded NGOs more visibility. Through digital storytelling, Share a Dream makes it easier for donors and volunteers to find and support organisations they care about.
GetYourGuide helps travelers discover and book tours, attractions and activities in more than 6,850 destinations across the globe. From dinner cruises to musicals to ski passes, this site closely vets activity partners to ensure that all activities are safe and legitimate. Unlike other travel companies, GetYourGuide offers a price guarantee — so adventurers always get the best price out there.
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Have you ever wanted to take a quick poll at the office without starting a lengthy email thread? Doodle makes that possible. The user-friendly tool allows people to create a poll, send it to others and receive answers all in a matter of minutes.
“There’s a kind of lag time where people want to send their cards out but need to set the date first,” says CEO Michael Brecht. Doodle has more than 180 million unique users across the globe and has recently released apps for iMessage and Slack, making it even more accessible.
Fresh, healthy food can now be found in the office, and it’s thanks to Felfel. The company outfits offices with field refrigerators that are stocked with sustainable, chef-made lunches. In addition to making Swiss workplaces healthier, the company is also fighting against food waste: Fresh food that hasn’t been sent to an office gets sent to regional communities in need of assistance.
EGO Movement makes ergonomic electric bikes, or e-bikes, for the stylish urban cyclist. EGO Movement bikes come with removable batteries, a USB port and LED safety lights that turn on at dark. The jury statement for this Red Dot award-winning design reads “modern, sustainable technology and a simple classic design combine to form a consistent symbiosis in the EGO Movement e-bikes — just the right thing for trend-conscious city dwellers.”
This startup’s 3D human-derived cell cultures help doctors test the toxicity and side effects of new pharmaceuticals. As explained by Dr. Jan Lichtenberg, CEO of InSphero, the technology promotes ”less dependency on animal models, the use of which is not only ethically charged, but can also add significant cost, delay time to market, and often fail to accurately reflect how humans will respond to a drug.”
Squirro helps companies become more efficient when collecting and analyzing data from customer relationships and service interactions. The tool integrates with leading CRM tools, making it possible to transform historical data into relevant insights. Harnessing such data with Squirro helped IBM increase its customer satisfaction rate by 15 percent, for example, thereby proving the power of contextual, targeted data.
Intestinal infections can be deadly when they develop antibiotic resistances, and there has been just one unpleasant option for treatment — until now. PharmaBiome has created an alternative treatment with a goal to “assemble the gut bacteria artificially in order to regenerate the gut microbiota with a controlled set of bacteria — making it a cleaner and safer way to treat patients.”
Energy-efficient housing is an increasingly important need across the globe. Tiguri alleviates this demand in the sub-Saharan region with the Tigui green village, a collection of houses that are built for community use. The eco-friendly business also creates an anaerobic digester for dealing with organic waste in a manner that offsets carbon emissions. This is a great step toward reducing the 24 million tons of waste produced in Switzerland each year alone.
Gamaya uses drones and manned aircrafts to capture in-depth environmental data for the agricultural industry. Gamaya CEO Yosef Akhtman details why this work is so important: “Today, we are living in a society that is fully reliant on unsustainable consumption of fossil fuels, soil and water in order to produce food. … Our solution helps to increase production efficiency by providing farmers with full situational awareness of their farmland and crops.”
Most people think of Google when they hear the term “driverless car.” However, BestMile’s technology is different because it focuses strictly on public transportation, not private vehicles. The company “offers a solution to control fleets of autonomous vehicles in the same way a control tower does in an airport.”
When worn, the Ava bracelet tracks nine psychological parameters to determine a woman’s fertility window. In a recent study, Ava was found to identify an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle with an accuracy of 89 percent. Co-founder Lea von Bidder says, “With Ava, we’re making it easy for all women to get more information about their cycles than has ever been available, more easily than ever before.”
Younergy designs and installs solar panels at absolutely no cost and with no hassle — all the logistics and paperwork are handled for homeowners. Residents just have to pay Younergy for generated electricity over the next 20 years. While this sounds daunting, sales manager Oscar Ax explains that his company tends to beat the prices “for solar power in a local power station.” So, Younergy is actually much cheaper than traditional energy (while also being much more eco-friendly).
Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals is specifically focused on curing autoimmune disorders with a new class of drugs. The biotech startup aims to cure these devastating, previously incurable diseases with a technology called Antibody-Catch. “Polyneuron is doing everything to make Antibody-Catch® a clinical reality and thus improve the quality of life of patients suffering from autoimmune diseases,” says CEO Dr. Ruben Herrendorff.
MindMaze uses brain imaging, gaming and artificial intelligence technology to create virtual reality experiences that retrain the brains of stroke patients. A spokesperson for the Hinduja Group, MindMaze’s chief backer, says “MindMaze’s next-generation human-machine interface is already proving itself in healthcare, games, and its potential for applications in transportation, defense and various types of media are now ready to be truly explored.”
“Delicious” is usually the last word used to describe insects, but Essento wants to change that. As a protein source, insects are less resource intensive and more sustainable than cattle (80 percent of the world’s insects can be eaten compared to 40 percent of all cattle). Essento’s mealworm burger will soon be sold in co-op stores across Switzerland.
SenseFly drones take mappable aerial photos in dangerous locations that are hard to access. The detailed geographic data gathered from these images help assistance crews act more quickly and accurately after a disaster. SenseFly co-founder Jean-Christophe Zufferey says, “We’ve really focused quite a bit on this [humanitarian] domain, not because it’s a big market, but because it makes sense.”
CellSpring improves traditional 2D cell cultures with its 3D Bloom Biopolymer Platform. Chris Millan, Chief Technical Officer at CellSpring, explains that this technology helps the company focus on testing new cancer drugs. Ordinary cell cultures are unable to host more than 10,000 cells in a microtissue, while CellSpring’s technology can up to 2 million.
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