Who else is shaking up the Swiss tech start-up scene?
Switzerland might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of tech start-ups, but the country is regularly topping the Global Innovation Index, a list that covers 27 economies, representing 92.5% of the world’s population and 97.6% of global GDP.
If that’s a surprise, it shouldn’t be. Switzerland offers individuals and companies some of the world’s best infrastructure, high living standards and high dispensable income - conditions that encourage both entrepreneurs, and potential consumers. Plus, the Federal Institute of Technology is one of Europe’s top rated universities, regularly spinning out successful innovations.
This is the environment in which Le Bijou was established in 2010. Passionate about a new digital era, we are devoted to creating the world’s most exciting and successful hospitality experience, backed by innovative technology and ideas. We wanted to create a new kind of high-end hospitality experience, combining exclusive private apartment hotels with the increasing trends we were seeing towards intelligent technologies. Fast forward eight years and here we are, managing 50 properties in Switzerland with a 92% occupancy rate and global expansion in our sights.
And we are not the only ones. The Swiss tech start-up scene is booming. We take a look at five other Swiss companies shaking up their respective industries.
From 94th position on the Top 100 Swiss Start-ups in 2015 to first place last year. Ava is leading the way in innovative digital health care. Their clinically tested bracelet allows women to accurately follow their cycle by tracking subtle changes in pulse rate, breathing rate, sleep quality, movement, heart rate variability, skin temperature, heat loss, perfusion, and bioimpedance, and syncing this data with a smartphone app. It gives accurate, real-time results, and has been accredited by the FDA as a Class 1 medical device. The company raised CHF 12 million for launch into the US market and is now preparing to finance a global expansion. www.avawomen.com
BeeKeeper: smart working
The way we work is changing. The traditional 9 to 5 office-based model is outdated, as more and more companies embrace global, flexible working to attract the best people and create an efficient and creative work environment. Beekeeper, incorporated in 2012 and based in Zurich, aims to help companies do this by providing an intuitive platform that connects workers, operational systems and communication channels all in one place. Accessible from mobile and desktop devices, and customisable to the needs of a business, it is already seeing global success, with use in more than 130 countries, and clients as diverse as Seaboard Foods, Heathrow Airport, and Grand Hyatt. www.beekeeper.io
Mind Maze: neurotechnology
Attracting investment from none other than Leonardo di Caprio, it is safe to say that Mind Maze is an international player. The company was founded in 2012 with the aim of using virtual reality and artificial intelligence to capture new ways to interact with the human brain. The initial application were for patients with neurological trauma, such as strokes, and one of their products, Mind Motion Go, has FDA approval for use with inpatient and outpatient neurorehabilitation. More recently, they have started exploring using their technology in entertainment, and are in talks with film and video game studios about possible applications. www.mindmaze.com
Comfylight: home security
Comfylight is an innovation in automatic home security. Smart LED light bulbs learn the habits of homeowners while they are at home, and mimic these when they are not. Unlike timer-led home security systems, the patterns are based on the real-life movements of a particular household, so a intruder can’t predict if the home is empty of not. Inhabitants can also view the activity patterns on an app, and change them by switching on or off bulbs remotely. "Our research into the Internet of Things at the University of St. Gallen gave us some valuable insights into the smart home market,” explained Stefanie Tuber, CEO and Co-founder of ComfyLight to startupticker.com. “We were unable to find a security solution that gives home owners and tenants a peace of mind. Conventional systems don’t trigger an alarm until the burglary has already happened – they don’t proactively protect the home. Plus, installation is often quite complex.” And there certainly seems to be an appetite out there; the company achieved their initial Kickstarter goal in just seven hours. www.comfylight.de
Gamaya: global agriculture
The global population is growing at an unprecedented rate. According to the founders of Gamaya, this means that agriculture will have to produce the same amount off food in the next 50 years, as we have done in the last 10,000. That’s a lot of farming. So we need to be much smarter and more efficient to manage this without destroying our environment. That’s where Gamaya comes in. The device combines several new technologies to allow farmers to work smarter: a high definition camera attached to a drone is flown above the field, providing imagery that is then digitally analysed to provide data that allows the farmer to target specific areas that need water, fertiliser or chemicals. With Thomas Peyrachon, former Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager at Syngenta, on board since March 2018, the company certainly seems to be capturing the attention of the big agriculture brands. www.gamaya.com