Teams 2014 – Winners Phase 1

In the first phase of »venture» 2014, 239 business ideas were submitted. Out of the 25 teams nominated, the top 10 teams were awarded with CHF 2’500.

Here are the prize winners, in alphabetical order:

Alerion Technologies (Zurich)

Alerion Technologies has developed a small, unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) that allows for inexpensive and user- friendly real-time remote monitoring. They will provide turn- key, custom sUAS solutions for real-time remote sensing applications. For customers already employing piloted aircraft for remote sensing missions, this mitigates human risk and reduces recurring costs.Immediate customers come from the fishing and forest industry, who operate in regions of the world where UAS regulations are relatively lenient.



Bright Sensors (EPF Lausanne) 

Bright Sensors SA is an EPFL spin-off that develops, manu- factures, and sells a natural gas quality sensor to optimize natural gas appliances and biogas production. The sensor can sample a gas in the pipeline and measure its Wobbe Index, a measure of the quality and interchangeability of natural gases. As the sensor is compact and able to operate on low power, it can be easily integrated directly into gas appliances and vehicles. Furthermore, manufacturing can be automated to lower cost. Bright Sensors’ business is based on selling the sensor at large volumes to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of the gas industry that integrate it as a feature to their appliances.


Caustics (EPF Lausanne)

The interaction of light with physical objects is fundamental to how we perceive the world. 3D objects that are composed of a transparent medium, such as glass, or a reflective surface, such as metals, commonly project bright patterns that are an essential component of this visual perception. These patterns are called caustics.

At the core of Caustics’ innovation is a new algorithm for inverse light simulation that allows users to optimize the shape of an object in such a way as that it will project a target image through the reflection or refraction of light. Beyond applications in glassware and luxury good, such light projections create fascinating new design elements for architecture and furniture design.


CellSpring (ETH Zurich)

For the last half-century, pharmaceutical companies have relied on 2-dimensional cell culture to test potential new medicines. 3D structures, however, mimic human organs and tumors much more closely. Therefore, 3D cell cultures offer a more efficacious and clinically relevant platform to test new drug candidate molecules. The 3D technology currently on the market, however, cannot produce these tissues fast enough, nor with sufficient reliability to meet the needs of lab professionals.

CellSpring has developed a bioadhesion platform, dubbed QuickStick, that enables the formation of 3D, cellular microtissues in a rapid (15 minute) and cell-friendly chemical reaction. These microtissues promise to be the fastest forming, most reliable 3D tissues on the market for drug candidate screening.


G-Therapeutics (EPF Lausanne)

G-Therapeutics is an EPFL spin-off with the aim of making a fundamentally new treatment paradigm that restored voluntary locomotion in paralyzed animals with a success rate of 100% available for human use. G-Therapeutics is developing an implantable electrochemical spinal neuroprosthesis and a robot-assisted training program to rehabilitate individuals with spinal cord injury.

The entire therapeutic package will include an implantable stimulation system, a pharmacological cocktail for the most severe lesions, and a walk rehabilitation robot. The latter can also be used for walk rehabilitation in wide variety of clinical indications including strokes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and orthopedics.


Lunaphore (EPF Lausanne)

The microscopic assessment of biomarker expression patterns on tissues and cells by immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a widely used method in biology and personalized cancer medicine. However, current analysis protocols are time consuming, labor intensive, and produce variable, inaccurate, and often irreproducible datasets.

Lunaphore is a med-tech company that builds next-generation tumor analysis and classification platforms. Lunaphore’s IHC assays take just five minutes, reduce the number of required reagents by 50%, and remove ambiguities in data by providing 90% higher diagnostic accuracy as validated by clinical studies done with breast cancer patients.


Play! by Uberchord Engineering (University of Zurich)

Play! is a mobile app that teaches you guitar in a completely new way building on the most advanced audio recognition technology. It works also with other polyphonic instruments and provides a new concept to learning a musical instrument. Play!’s algorithm does not only provide feedback on whether the student has played the right chord or not but also identifies and displays the actual chord he or she has played. This unprecedented feature is an enabler that allows Play! to teach you both instrumental technique and harmonics through practical lessons alone.


Qloudlab (EPF Lausanne)

Qloudlab is the inventor and patent holder of the world’s first touchscreen-based bio-sensor. We are developing a cost-effective technology that is able to turn your smart-phone touchscreen into a medical device for multiple blood diagnostics testing: no plug-in required with just a simple disposable. Our innovation is at the convergence of smartphones, healthcare, and cloud solutions. The development is supported by EPFL (Pr. Philippe Renaud, Microsystems Laboratory) and by a major industrial player in cutting-edge touchscreen solutions for consumer, industrial, and automotive products.


Rehaptix (ETH Zurich)

The mission of ReHaptix is to develop and market novel technologies to improve assessment and rehabilitation of patients with neurological disorders such as strokes. ReHaptix developed the V-Peg (Virtual Peg Insertion Test), which is an innovative tool for the objective assessment of upper limb sensorimotor functions. It combines a force feedback robotic device, a virtual reality environment, and data analysis software. This device allows clinicians to measure both movement and force during a reaching and grasping task and provides them with precise quantification of the hand disability of their patients, thanks to ReHaptix’s unique feature extraction algorithms. The use of the V-Peg will result in robust patient assessment and monitoring. In clinical routine, this will be particularly important for measuring patients’ progress and efficacy of therapeutic interventions.


Versantis (ETH Zurich)

Every day in the EU and the US, 370 people die as a result of drug overdose, and another 25,000 are hospitalized for misuse or abuse of illegal or prescription drugs. Besides drugs, endogenous waste products are also extremely life threatening when present in excess due to a deficient liver function. The most common endogenous toxin is ammonia, which is the reason that more than 350,000 people suffer from severe liver failure in the EU and the US. Versantis has developed an innovative peritoneal dialysis strategy based on microvesicles that can clear toxic compounds from the organism with unprecedented efficacy, and therefore save patients from metabolite intoxications and drug overdoses.