Teams 2008 – Winners Phase 1

222 business ideas were submitted in the first phase of »venture» 2008. Of the 25 teams nominated, 10 teams were each awarded CHF 2,500 for the best business idea.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Aleva Neurotherapeutics (EPF Lausanne)

Aleva Neurotherapeutics has developed a proprietary technology that enables significantly better therapies for a broad range of neurological diseases. The treatment of Parkinson’s Disease through Deep Brain Stimulation is an existing USD 600 million market and is Aleva’s first target market.Using Aleva’s microDBS™ electrodes, neurosurgeons and neurologists will see reduced surgical and follow-up times, reimbursers will see a substantial reduction in costs, and patients will benefit from a decrease in debilitating side effects.

Faaros (Zurich)

Elderly persons want to live in their homes as long as possible. Even though most of them are in good health, they are aware of the risk of physical complications. Many of them would like be able to count on a simple monitoring system that does not constrain their individual lifestyle.Today’s products do not satisfy their need: they only work at home, alarms can only be sent if a button is pressed, and they are associated with many false alarms.Faaros offers a completely new approach. It is an elegant Swiss watch able to trigger both manual and automatic alarms. It offers full mobility, and alarm management is handled in a sophisticated way, virtually eliminating false alarms. The global market volume is around CHF 520 million and growing strongly. Faaros will be offered to service providers as a turn-key solution. A test organization and potential first client are in place.

HelvaLab (EPF Lausanne)

HelvaLab, a biotech company in creation, proposes innovative solutions for cell culture. In particular, HelvaLab provides culture dishes with surfaces that imitate the viscoelastic properties present in the human body. These culture substrates range from the stiffness of bone to virtually the softness of brain.HelvaLab’s culture dishes contribute to the maintenance of the appropriate cell phenotype throughout the culture process by making them ‘feel like home’. This provides more homogeneous cell populations and a higher yield in cell production compared with standard culture.

iNoCs SàRL (EPF Lausanne)

Today’s digital world is enabled by pervasive electronic devices in multimedia, wireless, healthcare, automotive, etc. We have grown to rely on improvements to these systems to bring users more freedom, fun and safety. The chips driving such devices are becoming prohibitively complex; interconnecting the many functional blocks within the chips is very challenging, driving up design times and costs, and even rendering new designs infeasible.iNoCs proposes an innovative on-chip interconnection technology, comprising a library of IP components and CAD design tools, to be licensed to silicon vendors. This technology enables an effective and scalable solution to the above issues, making next-generation designs feasible in a short time with minimal power requirements.

kooaba (ETH Zurich)

Today, there are over 2.7 billion mobile phone users worldwide. Many of them are already using the mobile Internet, many more are expected to start using it in the coming months. However, searching on the mobile Web is still difficult due to tedious typing on mobile phones. In addition, the need to access the mobile Web will often be triggered ‘on the road’ by an object of interest, such as a movie poster, a tabloid newspaper, a sight, etc. We propose an easy and intuitive solution to search for information about these objects. As most mobile phones are equipped with a built-in camera, users simply take a picture of the desired object, send it to our service, and immediately receive related Internet content on their mobile phone. Unlike other solutions, our method does not rely on any kind of marker on the object, but recognizes the object itself through image recognition developed at ETH Zürich.

NeMoDevices (University & ETH Zurich)

Acute stroke and brain trauma are leading causes of disability and death worldwide. Brain blood flow (cerebral blood flow; CBF) is the most important parameter to guide treatment in brain-injured patients.Our own clinical experience has shown that the methods currently available for monitoring CBF are insufficient. Therefore, in joint research by the University Hospital and the ETH Zurich, a new technology platform based on optical spectroscopy, with substantial clinical and financial advant-ages, has been developed. The technology will enable to measure CBF rapidly at the bedside in intensive care, stroke units and operating theatres.

Optotune (ETH Zurich)

Optotune’s goal is to revolutionize the market for optical systems! Our patented technology enables the implementation of a compact, inexpensive, scalable and focus-tunable lens, which will simplify the design of focusing and zoom systems across industries.Imagine for instance equipping an endoscope with miniaturized optical zoom, or reducing the number of objectives needed in microscopy to one only. Or how about an ultra-thin mobile phone with a light, unobtrusive, low-power 5x optical zoom?Furthermore, Optotune’s core technology is not restricted to focus-tunable lenses but also facilitates the simple implementation of other adaptive optical elements in great demand, such as adjustable phase retarders and diffraction gratings for communication systems and displays.

PiKe Pharma GmbH (ETH Zürich)

With ‘old’ diseases reviving and new pathogens such as the avian influenza virus emerging, the field of anti-infective drug discovery has an unmet need for novel therapeutic approaches.PiKe Pharma GmbH develops small-molecule drugs for infectious diseases employing fragment-based synthesis of unique chemical libraries in combination with an innovative screening technology for the identification of novel protein-protein interaction inhibitors.As a product-focused platform company, PiKe Pharma pursues a dual strategy of commercializing its chemical platform technology in projects with large biotech and pharma partners, while performing in-house drug discovery programs up to clinical phase I/II followed by partnering with large pharma companies or licensing out.

Scanlight (EPF Lausanne)

Scanlight aims to revolutionize scanning and video projection systems by using advanced Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) technologies to achieve significant size and cost reductions. Several professional and end-user markets are about to be profoundly transformed by the emerging use of MEMS technologies, using techniques similar to semiconductors.We have developed a unique micro-scanner technology able to replace the resonant mirrors commonly used in scanning applications. This technology opens up other applications such as head-up displays, endoscopes and optical spectrometers (gas sensors). These micro-scanners have already been successfully tested by a leading global barcode manufacturer, and there is agreement on the specifications for this application. We are also currently developing the second micro-scanner generation based on a similar technology platform, to access the micro-video projection market.

Unico Swiss Tex, Obwalden

Hot summer months can be a pain for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. During the hot season, many patients suffer from heat and experience an increased number of spasms and tremors. They try to stay in a cool environment to avoid these effects.Unico swiss tex, located in Alpnachstad (Obwalden), develops and manufactures cooling vests and cooling pants for MS patients, in cooperation with EMPA, the Swiss federal laboratories for materials testing and research.Patients wearing these new high-tech textiles will increase their endurance and performance and also their personal well-being. The patented material allows functional gear to be designed in a more fashionable way and with less weight than traditional cooling gear. The look is like sports underwear. Temperature reduction of the skin is gentle and can be achieved without energy consumption.