Start-ups drive sustainability

Two topics dominated the week: sustainability and artificial intelligence. In both areas, start-ups are providing a lot of momentum.

Dear reader

Founded only in 2020, Opna Bio already has a well-developed pipeline of cancer therapeutics – part has been in-licensed, with another based on research at EPFL. This week, the biotech start-up went public for the first time and announced the closing of a USD 38 million Series A financing round.

Although this was by far the largest funding round of the week, start-ups from the sustainability sector made more headlines, with three securing investment: mobility service provider Urban Connect, online supermarket Farmy and oat drink provider hilky.

Swiss environmental start-ups also caused a sensation internationally. As part of its Supplier Innovation Awards, BMW named Bcomp as Newcomer of the Year. And at the Global EnergyTech Awards, Solskin’s intelligent photovoltaic modules received an award, as did Samawatt’s solution for predicting wind and solar power production.

In addition, two production plants are being built in Switzerland to process spent grains for human consumption. Start-ups play a crucial role in both Doppelleu’s project and that of Appenzell brewery Locher.

The next edition of Swiss Startup Radar, which will be launched on 8 December, provides data on the sustainable start-up scene in Switzerland and a comparison with ecosystems abroad. Print copies can be pre-ordered now.

The second cross-cutting theme that shaped the week was artificial intelligence. Quazel and Generai, both selected by Y-combinator’s renowned accelerator programme, use AI for a language learning platform and art creation. Sevensense secured this year’s Swiss Technology Award with its AI-based navigation solutions for robots. And aiEndoscopic, winner of the Swiss Innovation Challenge, combines AI-controlled robotics with endoscopy to make artificial respiration easier and safer.

Next week the Tech4Eva Conference will take place in Lausanne on Monday, where you can meet my colleague Eugène Schön. The >>venture>> competition will kick off in Zurich on Tuesday and Genilem’s Prêt? Partez, Pitch! pitching competition in Geneva on Thursday.

Next Thursday is the deadline for the First Ventures programme. The application period for Stage Up, the Bern business creation competition, ends on 2 December and submissions for the SEF.Women Award can be made until 9 December. I would also like to point out the deadline for the award of the WA de Vigier Foundation in early January.

Have a good weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief,