Teams 2014 – Winners Phase 2

In the second phase of »venture» 2014, 141 business plans were submitted. The competition prize money totaled over CHF 150’000.


1. rank: L.E.S.S.

L.E.S.S. SA (“Light Efficient SystemS”) provides a serious alternative to today’s LEDs by providing their customers with ultrathin, -bright, and -uniform lighting systems. These key assets, offered by their unique fiber technology, allowed L.E.S.S. to successfully enter the market of the industrial vision and of the display backlighting. They recently integrated their proprietary technology in the highest resolution displays, thus attracting the attention of one of the leading manufacturers of tablets and notebooks. Designing flexible, low-power consumption and colorful displays comes within reach thanks to the innovative lighting technology developed by L.E.S.S.


2. rank: SamanTree Technologies

SamanTree Technologies AG is a digital microscopy company (EPFL spin-off) with the mission to enable digital in vivo histology for complete, surgical tumor removal. Early-stage cancer diagnosis and subsequent complete surgical resection compose the therapy with the highest chances for complete cure. However, cancer cells missed during surgical excisions result in the recurrence of the tumor and reoperation rates of 20 to 40%. Enabling efficient point-of-care digital pathology, SamanTree’s surgical micro-scopes, with the largest field of view on the planet, will substitute the “frozen section analysis,” and consequently improve surgical workflow, treatment decisions, and resection accuracy, while reducing reoperation rates and overall cost of procedures.


3. rank: Gimball

Flyability is developing Gimball, a game-changing flying robot, which can be flown indoors and in complex environments: it can stay stable after collisions with obstacles and can thus go where other robots can’t. Furthermore, it is safe to fly close to humans. This innovation turns robots into real partners for humans and truly unleashes the potential of flying robots by enabling countless new applications in search and rescue, firefighting, inspection, or security but also at home and for your entertainment.


4. rank: Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals

Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals is an early-stage biotech start-up developing a novel drug class for the treatment of autoimmune disorders. There is an urgent medical need for effective and safe therapies in this disease area. Their technology platform “Anti-body-catch” and the derived compounds pave the way for a paradigm shift in treatment. Their compounds have the potential to selectively “catch” disease causing anti-bodies and furthermore suppress their production in patients with autoimmune diseases. Their first drug candidate was developed to treat patients suffering from anti-MAG neuropathy, an autoimmune nerve disorder with similarity to multiple sclerosis.


5. rank: rqmicro

Rqmicro provides a novel system for the rapid detection of water- and food-borne pathogens. The main USPs are superior sensitivity and a time to result of under one hour. This is achieved through the intelligent synthesis of an enrichment technology (immunomagnetic separation) with microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology and high-speed single-cell counting (flow cytometry). Compared to the classic cultivation-dependent methods that require days for a result, rqmicro’s approach yields results in a significantly shorter time with higher accuracy and lower detection limits. rqmicro’s business aim is to bring this new system to broad application in industrial laboratory environments by providing instrumentation and consumables.


Winners ranked on the 6th place (in alphabetical order)

Bright Sensors (EPF Lausanne)

The natural gas industry is a large and growing market. Natural gas offers many benefits, but is subject to high variation in quality. This can lower the efficiency of gas appliances during combustion, thus increasing consumption and emissions, and create problems during ignition.

Bright Sensors SA is an EPFL spin-off that manufactures and sells a natural gas quality sensor to optimize natural gas appliances and biogas production. It can sample a gas in the pipeline and measure its quality. The business is based on selling the sensor at large volumes to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that integrate it into their appliances.


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.


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.


SwissLeg (USI Lugano)

SwissLeg is a social business born at USI in Lugano and is the answer to a global humanitarian need for amputees worldwide. SwissLeg is an innovative prosthetic technology that offers affordable, high-quality, and high-mobility artificial legs, which enable amputees in the developing world to walk and run at a minimal cost. The three key innovations (alignment process, materials, and thermo-molding technique) allow a fast and localized production, giving amputees a same-day service. Our team believes that walking is a basic human right that should be affordable to all people everywhere. We intend to satisfy a global humanitarian need with an affordable viable solution by creating prosthetic centers around the world.


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.