Food, fashion and solar power: four start-ups ripe for growth

In the next few weeks we will present those start-ups that obtained the Innosuisse Certificate in 2022. The first article focusses on companies offering sustainable products and services.

The latest results of the Swiss Startup Radar showed that Switzerland is a forerunner in sustainability – indeed, the innovations, maturity, and traction that the start-ups in this sector have reached are remarkable. Four companies that have proven themselves over the past years have each received the Innosuisse Certificate in 2022. The Swiss Innovation Agency supported the start-ups in the food, textile and energy sectors over the past three years as part of the Core Coaching programme, helping them access expert know-how to reach their next milestones. The Innosuisse Certificate marks the successful conclusion of the programme and recognizes their readiness for sustainable growth.

AgroSustain AG
Develops natural antifungal compounds that protect more than 1000 crops against a broad range of agronomically important fungal pathogens present in pre- and post-harvest (picture above). The company’s products, AgroShelf+ and AgroSFruits for exotic fruit crops, extend the shelf life of vegetables and fruits by more than 20 days, thus reducing food waste and greenhouse gas emissions while supporting sustainable food production. The company focusses on B2B customers, food distributors and producers with post-harvest storage facilities. Alongside its market entry, the start-up has secured funds and won prizes contributing to its traction.

Embion Technologies
The EPFL spin-off has set a mission to upcycle 1 million tons of biomass and save 100 million tons CO2 by 2025. To achieve this, the company built a rapid prototyping platform technology for efficiently extracting bioactive ingredients. Industries such as food and agriculture can use the technology to create high-value nature-derived functional ingredients. PREMBION, manufactured from brewers’ spent grains, is the first product developed using Embion’s water-based catalytic platform technology. Currently, the additive offers complex prebiotic properties to enhance animal nutrition, but applications will expand to food and beverages, cosmetics and certain pharmaceutical products. Last year, the start-up achieved its series A round bringing the total amount raised to $6.5 million. It also expanded its team to include new members for its first international office in North America.

Dimpora AG
Based in Zurich with a team of 16 employees, Dimpora is a chemical company that develops fluorine-free, highly breathable, and waterproof membranes for the outdoor textile industry. SnowLife AG, the Swiss glove brand chose Dimpora to develop their new Capricorn DT Eco collection – the first product based on its eco pur membrane – was recently revealed and awarded a 2022 ISPO Award. Beyond gloves, the technology has been integrated in several products, such as jackets.

Mpower Ventures AG
To power the energy transition in emerging markets, Mpower deploys small and medium-scale solar energy infrastructure to increase accessibility to electricity. The company offers a range of decentralized high-quality plug and play solar devices and energy-efficient household and income-generating appliances for lower-and middle-income households, SMEs, and farmers in peri-urban and rural areas, as well as financing solutions for both partners and their end-users. The company has deployed more than 30,000 units through 20 distribution partners across seven African markets, impacting more than 50,000 people. Since incorporating in 2017, the impact start-up has grown its team to 20 people in eight countries. The company is raising funds via the crowdfunding platform Seedrs to boost its growth.

(Ritah Ayebare Nyakato)