Venture Kick reaches CHF 20 million seed investment

Swiss luxury watch startup VAULT from ZHAW and blood purification technology leader hemotune from ETH won CHF 130’000 each at the latest final of Venture Kick.

With the CHF 260’000 granted to both projects, the total amount of pre-seed money given by Venture Kick to Swiss startups has reached CHF 20 million. Next week, the program will hit another milestone by supporting the 500th startup project since Venture Kick’s creation in 2007.

Hemotune: Revolutionizing blood purification to save more lives
The medtech startup hemotune (team picture above) is developing a radically new medical device for the purification of blood in acute care. Their first focus lies on crafting an efficient therapy for patients with sepsis, a devastating condition causing 6 million deaths worldwide every year.

A promising treatment strategy consists in the removal of disease-causing toxins from the blood of patients, however current blood purification approaches are very limited in their selectivity and efficiency. This is where hemotune’s newly developed magnetic blood purification platform could make a difference: The technology tackles most of the current limitations and can be used as an add-on to existing blood purification devices.

Since its creation in 2016, hemotune was able to hit important milestones. It is among others supported by Wyss Zurich and the Gebert Rüf Foundation, and won the support of the industry leader Zühlke to advance their first prototype. “Venture Kick helped us to grow on all areas linked to our business. Making it to the final stage of the program was not easy, but it got us prepared for the challenges ahead” explained Lukas Langenegger after the big final.

VAULT: Reimagining the mechanical watch
After starting a career in the police and witnessing life and death situations, VAULT founder Mark Schwarz decided to create his own horological startup dedicated to mechanical art and time. The first product of VAULT is the V1 watch which aims at opening a new chapter in watchmaking: Rather than keeping time, the piece sets a unique experience for its owner, reminding us to celebrate and cherish it.

Thanks to one of the world’s 15 greatest watchmakers, Swiss horologist Andreas Strehler, VAULT was able to cross the boundaries of mechanical skills. The movement of the V1 watch is totally autonomous, something which was never been achieved for a mechanical timepiece before.

Setting the minutes on the V1 involves rotating the full movement; setting the hours involves rotating the dial itself. Its design is inspired by a bank vault’s time lock mechanism. Each V1 watch shows the same time in an original way, based on the moment it is set by its owner.

With the support of Venture Kick, CEO Mark Schwarz was able to connect with hundreds of watch collectors and enthusiasts around the world, and launch the VAULT concept at SalonQP in London. The first prototype is almost finished. “Venture Kick helped us to build a new Swiss luxury watch startup and thus create a new chapter in Swiss watchmaking, and spread the word around the world”, said Mark Schwarz after the final.

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(Press release)