Venture Kick awards CHF 300’000 to Genknowme and Planted Foods


Despite the coronavirus crisis, Venture Kick will continue to support and finance Swiss startups as planned and invest CHF5 million this year. The two newest additions to the portfolio are Genknowme, a Lausanne based startup enabling epigenetic testing and Planted Foods offering plant-based "meat". Both have received CHF 150,000.


Founded as a spin-off of the University Hospital of Lausanne by Semira Gonseth and Sébastien Nusslé, Genknowme is developing a novel blood test to determine an epigenetic profile. The test allows measuring the impact of lifestyle on health at the DNA level with unprecedented precision. The data will support healthcare professionals to coach their patients in adopting a healthier lifestyle. During their postdoctoral work at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley,  Gonseth, who is also the CEO, investigated the epigenetic links between cancer and lifestyle risk factors, while Nusslé conducted research on the links between genetics and the environment. Genknowme is currently testing reference clients this year in preparation for the market launch in 2021.

In acknowledgement of the new achievement, Gonseth said: “Winning Venture Kick is an amazing financial support for us. We have been granted access to a broad network, resources and received vital feedback."

ETH Spinoff to expand the product line
Planted Foods is revolutionising the food industry, especially the meat sector, where more than sixty billion chicken is raised and killed annually. Planted makes animal-free 'meat' using plants. Founded by Lukas Böni, Eric Stirnemann, Pascal Bieri and Christoph Jenny, the ETH spin-off follows a proprietary extrusion process to convert plant-protein and fibres from yellow peas into sustainable meat. The company's current 'chicken' was considered the best product in multiple tastings and won even Chefs of Gault-Millau restaurants as customers. Today Planted is available in 200 Coop stores. The newly obtained Venture kick funds add to the recently secured CHF 7 million to help the startup reach its next goals which include introducing a new product line with pulled-pork

Pascal Bieri, Co-founder of Planted, commented: "Venture Kick creates a very energetic environment which is necessary to challenge oneself, the business plan and execution to get to the next level. The feedback helped us to refocus on the things that matter."

Venture Kick continues to screen and finance startupsAlthough current events are challenging and uncertain, Venture Kick will continue to support and finance Swiss startups without interruption. There will be no changes in the recently revamped financing package which includes CHF 5 million for 80 startups in 2020. Philip Hassler, Co-managing Director at Venture Kick said, "The full process, including the jury sessions, were successfully transitioned to online to preserve the health and safety of everyone." (Press release/ran)Photo L-R: Team Genknowme: Semira Gonseth and Sébastien Nusslé; Team Planted Foods: Eric Stirnemann, Lukas Böni, Pascal Bieri.