Extra boost for five spinoff companies


The Gebert Rüf Foundation has announced the five projects that will benefit from its Innobooster program. During the upcoming 18 months, the startups will receive CHF 150'000 in addition to coaching and mentoring to accelerate development.



The 4th cohort of the InnoBooster program comprises startups that are affiliated with the EPFL, ETH Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich. The startups are developing solutions in the fields of robotics, sustainability, drones and medtech. The provided support will enable the teams to bring their companies to the next level. These include: Yago, EPFLFounded by Lucca Randazzo and Yago is developing a robotic glove to help people with hand motor impairments. Based on Randazzo’s doctoral research at EPFL’s Brain-Machine Interface lab, this spin-off uses a soft, motorized exoskeleton to help wearers grasp and release everyday objects. Upon success, the patent-pending technology and solution will help to restore users’ independence and autonomy in daily life. Plastogaz, EPFL The EPFL spinoff, run by three co-founders and one advisory member, is specializing in transforming synthetic waste streams (plastic) into natural gas. A catalyst developed in its lab enables the process. The natural gas can be used either as a fuel or reprocessed into new, upcycled plastic materials. Through its solution, the spinoff aims to empower gas and oil polymer companies as well as support them through the transition to increase their share of waste-derived products to decrease their overall carbon footprint. A proof of concept is already established, and its lab-scale demonstrator is near completion, which brings the project closer to pilot testing at a larger scale. According to Felix Bobbink, founder of Plastogaz, the company aims to construct the first industrial-scale demonstration plant in early 2022. The next steps include bringing the solution from lab to real-world application. “The InnoBooster program will allow us to finalize our lab-scale demonstrator and set-up partnerships for pilot testing. This will accelerate our journey to the market,” said Bobbink. Piecemaker, ETH ZurichThe project “Piecemaker” was initiated by the ETH spinoff, Planted, a startup known for its plant-based meat substitutes whose taste and texture are equivalent to meat. Its first product line, «planted.chicken» is derived through concocting natural products such as pea protein, pea fibre, sunflower oil and water. Recently, the startup raised 7 million in a seed round to expand its production capacity. For the InnoBooster program, the team is specialising on Piecemaker, a project through which the team will develop a machine that makes pieces that look like chicken pieces, as elucidated by Lukas Böni, the co-founder of Planted. Voliro ETH ZurichThe ETH spinoff is developing the next generation of autonomous flying robots – an omnidirectional platform with the unique capability to approach, touch, and interact with the environment. The ability of the drones to fly, see and touch increases safety and efficiency in assets remote in-depth inspection and monitoring. The drones can complete various tasks ranging from cleaning of walls and windows to painting and coating of surfaces. Besides its current participation in the Wyss program, the startup will use the innoBooster as a springboard to reach the next stages. KOVE, University Hospital ZurichExisting surgical instruments used in the womb often damage the fetal membrane, causing early births in 80 per cent of cases. The medtech startup developed an implantable medical device that closes and secures the hole created by the endoscopes used to treat fetuses during pregnancy. By closing this hole, KOVE decreases dramatically the risk of preterm birth, which is the main obstacle for the development of those interventions. The startup has won approval for a large trial of the device in sheep and interest from established companies in the field of fetoscopy. Over the next 18 months, the team will benefit from the InnoBooster program to accelerate its development In the video, the founders of the different teams elucidate their motivations and aspirations for joining the InnoBooster program.The deadline for the next round closes on 1.12.2019.(RAN)