Urgently needed innovations

Start-ups with sustainable solutions are not only numerous in Switzerland, they are also of high quality, as the many awards and investments show. These young companies address pressing problems.

Dear reader 

Koa reduces on-farm food waste and generates additional farmer income through its products based on discarded cocoa pulp, and also brings new ingredients to the food and drinks industry. The Swiss-Ghanaian start-up recently opened a factory that will allow production output to be increased 10-fold. A USD 15 million financing round provides it with the funding required to scale up in order to extend cocoa fruit upcycling and intensify regenerative agriculture practices in West Africa.

Foldcast is just at the beginning of its corporate journey. Yesterday the start-up won both the jury and audience awards at the Boldbrain Startup Challenge. Its aim is to replace formwork for casting concrete, usually made of metal or wood, with cardboard-based formwork. This leads directly to cost and energy savings, but also allows for more flexibility in the shapes, which in turn reduces concrete consumption. Find out more about the award ceremony and the preceding SICTIC Investor Day in our article and a LinkedIn post.

A sustainable start-up found itself on the podium at Genilem’s Prêt? Partez, Pitch! competition. The goal of ALIEN Limited is to upcycle an invasive species – the quagga mussel – into a building material.

Climate-friendly innovations have become a focal point of the Swiss start-up scene in recent years. Ten particularly promising companies in this area have secured a loan guarantee from the Technology Fund in recent months. SUIND has closed a seed financing round: the Swiss-Indian start-up aims to revolutionise traditional methods of agricultural crop protection by seamlessly integrating drones, computer vision and data analytics. A further nine start-ups are now funded by the Climate Foundation.

These examples show that innovation is not merely a fashionable management tool: more environmentally friendly agricultural and construction methods are urgently needed in view of ecological challenges. Many of the innovations come from universities and increasingly also from universities of applied sciences. The Gebert Rüf Foundation has now reorganised its First Ventures programme in order to be able to attract and support potential founders at an early stage and thus further increase the number of spin-offs. And Microsoft has launched a new support programme for AI start-ups, which aims to accelerate product development.

Next week the Energy Startup Day takes place in Bern and the Noah Conference in Zurich. I would also like to point out a few competitions that are are open to applicants: the WA de Vigier Foundation Award, Startfeld Diamant and the Swiss Economic Award.

Here, we have started preparations for the next Swiss Venture Capital Report. If you would like to report a funding round that has not yet been made public, please do so by 20 December and we will add the investment to the report’s list. Just send an email to news@startupticker.ch.

Have a good weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief, Startupticker.ch