Editorials

Ready for big things

12.04.2019 15:08

Nestlé has opened an R&D centre in Switzerland that wants to advance start-ups, and the world’s largest plug and play accelerator is keen to open a branch in Switzerland. And suitable start-ups are certainly not in short supply.

Dear reader

Saeed Amidi is one of the people who made Silicon Valley what it is today. Thirteen years ago, he founded Plug and Play Tech Center, the world’s largest start-up accelerator and one of the most active venture capital investors on the US West Coast. Today, Plug and Play offers programmes at more than 20 locations around the world. Recently, Amidi was in Switzerland and apparently had fruitful discussions. In the interview I was able to have with him, he revealed: “We are working to set up a branch in Switzerland.” Swiss start-ups are ready for it: several have recently been selected for Plug and Play programmes in Europe and the US.

A focus of Plug and Play is to bring together start-ups and corporates. In the interview, Amidi talked about the prerequisites of such collaborations. Most importantly, the corporates must be aware of the urgency of renewal and cultural change. Nestlé clearly belongs to this group: the company has opened an R&D centre in Lausanne that is also open to start-ups.

There is also no shortage of suitable start-ups. For example, Zug firm mybacs has developed dietary supplements that protect travellers from intestinal problems in various destinations. The market development is promising. GnuBiotics’ new product tackles overweight and other digestive problems of pets.

In contrast, the fresh Swiss shrimp from SwissShrimp and the vegan cheese from New Roots are not only easy to digest, but also delicious. The latter two are among the nine finalists of this year’s Swiss Economic Awards.

Other finalists include several serial entrepreneurs and founders with much experience in a sector – a trend that can be observed elsewhere in the start-up scene. This week we reported on Alibion: the biotech company’s first project is the development of a novel therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, building on the broad experience of the team.

Another success story from the life sciences sector came from InterAx. The biotech start-up will work with Big Pharma company Lundbeck on the discovery of drug candidates. Signs of growth are also clear with GuestReady and Codecheck. Through a take-over, GuestReady has evolved into the largest European service provider for Airbnb hosts, and consumer app Codecheck records 120,000 downloads per month.

I would like to draw your attention to the Swisscom Startup Challenge launched this week. The five winners will benefit from a tailored business development trip to Silicon Valley. Start-ups can also apply and register for ‘The Spot’, one of Europe’s biggest sport-tech events, to be held in Lausanne in May. Next week, you can meet me at Venture Day in Zurich.

Due to the Easter holiday, the newsletter will not appear next Friday.

Have a good weekend and a happy Easter.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief, Startupticker.ch

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