Winning start for DigitalZurich 202522.01.2016 12:30
This week, the first event of the initiative DigitalZurich2025 took place. Seven start-ups presented themselves at the Investor Summit: Abionic, Archilogic, Climeworks, Dacuda, On, QualySense and Teralytics. In the audience: renowned national and international investors including Index Ventures, Samsung Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.
The idea behind the Summit is simple but powerful: 100 selected national and international investors, CEOs of multinationals and members of the press are invited for a half-day event at Zurich airport before they continue their journey to Davos, en route to the World Economic Forum. The initial idea for the Summit came from Patrick Warnking, Country Director Google Switzerland and Executive Committee Member of DigitalZurich2025: “Switzerland has ranked first in the Global Innovation Index for five consecutive years. Swiss start-ups are developing very successfully. The local start-up ecosystem, however, can very much benefit from international investors, business angels and networks, which tend to provide bigger investments. This in turn enables Swiss founders to scale faster and more boldly. For this reason, we – DigitalZurich2025 together with ETFI, UBS, NZZ, Swiss Economic Forum and Zurich Airport – initiated the Investor Summit.”
The plan worked: in the audience sat representatives of active and well-known VCs. This applied first of all to Swiss investment companies, represented by Index Ventures, Partech Ventures, Emerald Technology, Redalpine, VI Partners and investiere. And Swiss companies were also in attendance: Swiss Post boss Susanne Ruoff had a front row view of the start-up pitches. Foreign investors also sent representatives; for example, Inventure Partners and Earth Capital Partners from London, and even well-known corporate venturing investors, including Samsung Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.
The selected start-ups were a bit more mature and able to impress investors with worldwide sales of their products. The pitches preceded an interview with Knip CEO Dennis Just. He demonstrated that the stereotype of the risk-averse Swiss founder is just a stereotype. Although Knip has embarked on a rapid growth path and has more than 100 employees, when asked what he would do differently next time, he said: “I would risk more, earlier.”
The seven selected firms:
Abionic SA: great market traction
Abionic provides the healthcare profession with a novel diagnostic tool for allergies, designed to give patients personal allergy profiles in a very short period of time. The first result is obtained after five minutes and the duration for 10 allergy tests is approximately 20 minutes. The technology is intuitive, the test is painless for the patient and the device provides a clear concise result within minutes. Commercialisation took place in Switzerland in 2015 and will start in Europe early this year. In addition, the company has announced the incorporation of a US subsidiary in Boston, which will support its internationalisation strategy.
On Running – a million customers around the world
With its patented CloudTec running shoe technology, On combines the benefits of a cushioned training shoe with the speed of a competition shoe. Established in 2010, On has become the fastest growing running shoe brand with a global presence. On opened a second office (after Zurich) in Portland/Oregon and has grown to include 450 specialist retailers in the US. Now, the company is opening its third office in Japan to service the fast-growing running market in Asia. The Swiss running shoe is already sold in more than 150 specialist shops in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Australia. Today, On is present in a total of 50 countries and in more than 2,000 running sport retailers in Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region. Olympic gold medallists, world champions and professional athletes are winning international races with the On.
Dacuda – making 3D scanners a commodity
Founded in 2009 by graduates of ETH Zurich, MIT, TU Munich and the University of St. Gallen, Dacuda specializes in real-time computer vision and robotic algorithms. Its self-developed and patented SLAM Scan® technology enables 2D and 3D scanning on a new level with regular cameras. The technology is used by over 1 million users for 2D scanning and the company is about to conquer the 3D market. The company’s software 3D camera technology is bringing 3D sensing to everyone. A simple app download is enough to transform your smartphone into a powerful 3D scanner. Scanned objects can be created as simply as taking a video, shared online or even printed on a 3D printer.
Archilogic – 3D visualisations for real estate used around the world
Archilogic’s mission is to rebuild the world’s interiors on the web. Existing real estate visualisations typically create a static atmosphere, provide only limited information and are not ready for user interaction. Archilogic’s revolutionary 3D technology enables one to ‘walk’ through real estate online – on any device, and without the need for special software. The highly automated platform creates beautiful 3D models with the aim of digitising plans for all properties rather than just a select few. The first application for the company’s technology is real estate marketing, but given the detailed information underlying the 3D visualisations the team is already rolling out functionality in workspace planning and other applications. Archilogic creates thousands of models a month and serves customers in more than 10 countries.
Climeworks – cleantech with a sustainable business model
Climeworks provides solutions for efficiently capturing C02 out of ambient air and pursues an ambitious vision: to make 1% of global carbon emissions harmless with its system. Unlike other cleantech start-ups, the Climeworks business model is not based on climate compensation payments for C02 emissions. Instead, the company generates its revenues by selling the industrial C02 capture plants to major consumers – greenhouses, for example. Climework’s goal is to become the leader in the supply of atmospheric C02 as a feedstock for liquid fuel synthesis, to increase energy security and stabilise global C02 emissions. Although the start-up has only just installed its first industrial plant, it has already achieved sales of CHF2 million.
QualySense – Pepsi, General Mills and Du Pont trust it
QualySense delivers high-end solutions for a safe and sustainable food supply. By pioneering single-kernel analysis, combining two sensing technologies – Machine Vision and hyperspectral NIR – QualySense helps seed breeders, food companies and inspection agencies to achieve excellence in nutrition, health and safety. Thanks to the QSorter Explorer, a high-tech life sciences robot, each kernel is analysed and sorted according to its physical and biochemical properties. To date, the QSorter Explorer is the most reliable and customisable solution for increasing the quality and safety of food products. At present, it is used in breeding and priming for diet-specific and premium foods. The R&D team is currently working on larger machines that will revolutionise food safety.
Teralytics – backed by Lakestar and Hutchison Whampoa
Teralytics is revolutionising the way we understand human behaviour. It is replacing consumer panels and market studies with human behaviour insights based on huge amounts of anonymised and aggregated signal data obtained from telecom firms, payment processors and other digital sources. Every day, Teralytics processes more than 180 billion events covering the behaviour of 350 million people around the globe. Such data provides extremely valuable insights into the DNA of human behaviour for retailers, advertisers, hedge funds and governments. For example, Teralytics is currently helping the city of Singapore to improve public transport and city planning. The company has offices in Zurich, Singapore and New York, and is backed by high profile investors such as Klaus Hommels of Lakestar and Li Ka Shing of Hutchison Whampoa.