Despite the pandemic, >>venture>>, co-organized by ETH Zurich, McKinsey & Company, Knecht Holding, Innosuisse, and EPFL, alongside their generous sponsors, decided that COVID-19 could not cancel the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in Switzerland. “Switzerland is one of the world’s leading countries in innovation, and though the world came to a halt during this pandemic, many entrepreneurs pivoted, morphed, and continued to press on,” said Thomas Knecht, founder and chairman of the >>venture>> foundation. “Their insatiable drive inspired to us quickly take our entire competition online and continue supporting startups with our network of industry experts and non-dilutive funding.”
Ueli Maurer stressing the importance of start-ups
The indisputable importance of the role startups play in Switzerland was highlighted by the presence of Federal Councillor, Ueli Maurer, as the keynote speaker for the >>venture>> Award Ceremony. His speech was broadcasted from the federal offices in Bern. Ueli Maurer underlined the importance of start-ups for the whole Swiss economy. “Start-ups are the heart of the Swiss economy and society of tomorrow”, he said. He announced to continue to work hard to ensure that the capital market and the labour market work well to provide start-ups with financing and talents.
Over 320 startups battled for their place within the prestigious competition. Yesterday the winners of the five verticals, the winner of the audience award and the winner of the Grand Prize were announced.
Grand Prize winner: Oxyle
Oxyle provides a novel wastewater treatment that completely eliminates the most persistent and toxic micropollutant (pharmaceuticals, hormones, personal-scare-products, pesticides, industrial chemicals etc.) from water. The spin-off from ETH Zurich will bring to market small scale reactors which will be installed on the customer site. The technology relies on the use of a catalyst with nanoporous material. The company official founded only a few weeks ago, plans to offer wastewater treatment solutions to industries, R&D labs, hospitals, wastewater treatments plants, and households.
The winners in each of the 5 industry verticals, receiving CHF50k each, are as follows:
Finance and Insurance
UrbanDataLab is a B2B web service offering advanced location analytics and customized business intelligence to enable smarter location-based business decisions on a global scale.
Health & Nutrition
URODEA develops the first non-invasive solution for people suffering from urinary retention. The device is is handheld, discreet and small enough to be carried in a pocket.
KaiosID provides an elegant and secured traceability solution to help brands to fight counterfeiting and grey market by adding unique hidden random patterns on the product’s packaging.
Retail & Consumer Services
Nuniq – is a direct-to-consumer hair-care product service that delivers plastic-free, personalized products on a circular economy model.
Industrials & Engineering
Winner of the audience award: REA
The Swiss-French broadcast station, RTS, teamed up with >>venture>> to present the 2020 Audience Award. Together, they selected 5 startups, amongst the 50 >>venture>> Finalists, based on the appeal of their products on everyday life. A behind-the-scenes pitch training session with each startup was aired on RTS, and the Swiss audience was asked to vote for their favorite idea.
Out of 4,600 votes, Rea conquered the hearts of the Swiss people. Rea has developed a smart sanitary pad to allow the home monitoring of women at risk a of preterm birth. Rea is an EPFL Spin-off and working closely with CHUV. They received CHF 10,000 to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey.
“Perseverance and creativity have defined our startups during this pandemic,” said Lea Firmin, CEO of the >>venture>> foundation. “It’s crucial to provide early-stage startups with the business and financial support at this time, and we’re thrilled to have contributed to the success of such promising entrepreneurs.”
>>venture>> livestreamed their Award Ceremony on Monday night, but a replay of the celebration can be found on their Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/ventureoffice starting June 23, 2020.
(Press release / SK)
Picture: The Oxyle team - Silvan Staufert, Fajer Mushtaq, Andrea Veciana