10 awesome start-ups from Lausanne to watch

29 Nov 2018

Lausanne skyline. Image: haveseen/Depositphotos

The Swiss city of Lausanne is keeping the country’s tradition of innovation and excellence alive in areas such as medtech, mobility and fintech.

Situated on the northern shore of Lake Geneva in the French-speaking canton of Vaud, Lausanne is well known for its role in international sports, including hosting the International Olympic Committee.

With a history extending back to Roman times, it is not surprising that Lausanne is something of an education powerhouse. Many start-ups have been founded by graduates from the University of Lausanne and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), to name a few.

Incubators include EPFL Innovation Centre and Y-Parc, and popular accelerators include VentureLab and Innovaud. Meet-ups include Mobile Monday, Swiss Fintech and Venture Ideas.

And so, here are the start-ups from Lausanne to watch in the year ahead.


At the intersection of medtech, biotech and nanotech, Abionic is a spin-off from the EPFL, and provides the medical profession with a novel diagnostic tool designed to give patients personal allergy profiles. Founded by Dr Nicolas Durand and Dr Iwan Märki, Abionic has raised 25.8m Swiss francs from investors including Verve Capital Partners.


Bestmile has created technology that empowers mobility providers to manage human-driven and autonomous vehicle fleets. It was founded by Raphaël Gindrat and Anne Mellano in 2014, and has raised $16.5m to date from investors that include Road Ventures.


Biowatch has developed a wrist veins biometric reader that authenticates users and their devices. The Biowatch band is envisaged as a replacement for traditional badges, cards, keys, passwords and PIN codes. Founded by Joe Rice and Matthias Vanoni, Biowatch has raised $3.6m from investors that include FIT, Polytech Ventures and SICPA.


A spin-out from EPFL with US offices in Boston, Cyberhaven is on a mission to bring radical simplicity to enterprise security, and make it a lot stronger. Co-founded by Dr Volodymyr Kuznetsov, Dr Cristian Zamfir, Dr Vitaly Chipounov, Dr Radu Banabic and Prof George Candea, its technology is based on seven years of lab research in deep application analysis, and is protected by four patents. The company has raised $2m to date from investors that include US venture capital firm Accomplice.


Flyability is focused on building safe drones that can be operational in inaccessible places, reducing collision and injury risks. It was founded in 2014 by Dr Adrien Briod and Dr Patrick Thévoz, and has raised $28.7m from investors that include ETF Partners and Swisscom Ventures.


Another EPFL spin-out, Gamaya improves the efficiency and sustainability of farming businesses by offering compelling agronomy solutions, enabled by hyperspectral imaging and artificial intelligence. Founded by Dragos Constantin, Igor Iganov and Yosef Akhtman, Gamaya has raised 7.4m Swiss francs in funding from investors that include Icos Capital Management, VI Partners AG, VentureKick and Sandoz Foundation.


MindMaze develops medical-grade virtual reality (VR) products to stimulate neural recovery for people such as stroke patients. Its MindMotion Pro product provides patients with engaging and motivational VR rehabilitation programmes. Founded by Tej Tadi, MindMaze has raised $110m to date from investors that include actor Leonardo DiCaprio as well as Hinduja Group and VentureKick.


Monito is a comparison website for international money transfer services. It lists more than 450 money transfer operators across 170 countries. It was founded in 2013 by François Briod, Laurent Oberholzer and Pascal Briod, and has raised 1.5m Swiss francs in funding to date.


ScanTrust is the creator of a secure, cloud-based IoT platform for product authentication and supply chain traceability solutions. Led by CEO Justin Picard, it has raised $5.5m in funding so far from investors that include Castor Ventures, SVC, Innogy Ventures and Alumni Ventures Group.

Sophia Genetics

Another former resident of the EPFL campus, Sophia Genetics is the creator of Sophia AI, which helps healthcare professionals better diagnose and treat patients through biotechnology and machine learning. Around 80pc of the company’s staff hold PhDs. Founded in 2011, it is led by CEO Dr Jurgi Camblong and has raised $63m to date from investors including Balderton Capital and Invoke Capital Partners.

Lausanne skyline. Image: haveseen/Depositphotos

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years