In which areas do the best startups in Switzerland operate?

The maker of a drone capable of reaching places inaccessible to humans is among the five best innovations awarded in 2018.

This content was posted on September 6, 2018 – 10:11 am

A bracelet that can determine fertility days, a control tower for unmanned vehicles, advanced technologies for tissue diagnostics, laboratory-grown skin: these are the innovations developed by the best Swiss startups, awarded on Wednesday in the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Awards.

Start-ups (or young shoots), that is, young companies that develop new technological or commercial ideas with high growth potential, are a bit like the emblems of the innovative capacity of an economic place. The activity of these start-ups is therefore particularly revealing for Switzerland, which, for the eighth year in a row, ranks first in the global innovation index. external linkpublished by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In this context, the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Awardsexternal link are a great opportunity to assess industry trends and prospects each year. Firstly, it should be noted that among the 100 best start-ups of the year, selected by a jury of experts, almost half are based in the canton of Zurich and a quarter in the canton of Vaud. Nine companies from Zurich and Vaud are among the top ten in the ranking.

This demonstrates the dynamism of the economic center of Zurich and the Lake Geneva basin, but also the importance of the presence in these regions of the two federal polytechnic schools (EPFZ and EPFL), considered among the best technological institutes in the world. For several years, great efforts have been made to bring the scientific and technological research sector closer to the business world. Several programs have been launched to promote business creation by young students or recent graduates.

Among the top 100 startups are also companies active in the areas of information technology, engineering, biotechnology and medical technology. The influence of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology and other universities is also evident here, as is the great tradition of medical-pharmaceutical research in Switzerland. On the other hand, only a few startups are linked to blockchain, despite the proliferation of these companies in recent years (including several hundred in Switzerland).

The TOP 100 Swiss Startup Awards are awarded annually by Venturelabexternal linka program launched by the Swiss Agency for the Promotion of Innovation (Innosuisseexternal link) in close collaboration with universities, federal polytechnic schools and specialized universities. Here is a presentation of the top five of the 2018 rankings:

1. Ava

The Zurich-based company, already ranked number one last year, has developed a bracelet that can 90% accurately determine a woman’s menstrual cycle and therefore fertile days. ava’s braceletexternal link allows you to collect data on 9 physiological parameters during sleep, including changes in body temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, heat loss and sleep stages. The start-up has already enjoyed great success in the United States and is currently developing its market in Europe and China.

2.Best mile

The Lausanne start-up created a program that coordinates the mobility of unmanned vehicles like a control tower. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to monitor each vehicle in real time, optimizing waiting times, routes and possible breakdowns. The Bestmile programexternal link it is already used for transport services in Sion, Valais and some French cities.

3. Lunaphore

This spin-off of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), which operates in the medical technology sector, has developed cutting-edge technologies for tissue diagnosis, mainly for the analysis and classification of tumors. The device developed by Lunaphoreexternal link is based on a microfluidic chip, which improves diagnostic tests, increasing their speed and accuracy.


Another Vaud start-up, Flyabilityexternal link builds drones surrounded by a protective sphere, thanks to which they can reach the most inaccessible places without being damaged or harming the environment. The technology developed by this EPFL spin-off allows, among other things, to collect data during inspection flights, thus reducing the risk of personnel accidents and operating costs.

5. Cute

The Zurich start-up specializes in laboratory skin culture for patients with skin defects (eg burns). Cutiss Bioengineersexternal link are able to customize the skin from a very small biopsy of the patient’s epidermis. As the recreated skin is very similar to human skin, the scars produced after the surgery are minimal.

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