BionIT Labs was born with a vocation and a global mission, so we never miss the occasion to meet and learn more about new realities, different ways of doing and thinking typical of different countries.
With this in mind, in December 2021 we took part in the selection for a highly attractive experience in Switzerland: our startup was selected by an international jury of experts from a pool of Italian startups, to take part – together with 4 other startups from Canada, India, France and USA – at the “Swiss Tech Experience Week”, from 27 June to 1 July 2022.
The aim of the event is to guide companies in visiting important research institutes, other companies and relevant players in the Swiss technology industry, in order to increase Switzerland’s notoriety in the field of technological innovation and to establish in the Country foreign companies.
Participants in Swiss Tech Experience
The program, organized by Switzerland Tourism and Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) (LINK sito) saw the participation of three other startups:
- Chronolife is a French medtech company with the mission of becoming a leading service provider in the healthcare sector, providing continuous and multi-parameter monitoring in a real environment of patients with chronic diseases and people at risk.
- Unbox Robotics is a leading Indian supply chain robotics company specializing in robotics-based distribution technology for small and large e-commerce, retail and logistics businesses.
- Trendi is an innovative Canadian company that uses robotics to recycle food waste starting from the source of the products.
Each company was followed by a journalist, involved to follow and tell the program and the experience of the startups in contact with the Swiss ecosystem. Our partner was Lorenzo Longhi for Innovando, an online magazine that promotes new technologies and innovation used in various fields.
So, it’s the moment to tell you about our experience in the wonderful panorama of Swiss innovation!
Day 1 – Zürich
The first day began with a networking-oriented group breakfast in the beautiful “Kraftwerk” event space in Zurich, where we met the other participants in the program, the S-GE team and other representatives of the Swiss industrial landscape.
In particular, we were greeted with an unusual welcome pack, which included made-to-measure “On” trainers! Really a great incentive to push us to visit Switzerland in the best possible way!
And this is exactly how our journey begins: we reach Mount Pilatus, 2,132 m above sea level, marveling at the breathtaking view of Lake Lucerne and the Alpine massif. After a quick lunch we went up on the most inclined railway in the world (45 ° of average inclination) and we reached Alpnachstad, from where we then returned to Lucerne with a beautiful scenic boat ride.
Day 2 – Basel
The second day was Basel‘s turn: we went to the Novartis Campus, where we learnt the main features of the area, which make it one of the most attractive poles in the pharma and medtech sector: over 700 life science companies, which employ more of 30,000 resources organized in over 1000 research groups, have in fact their headquarters in the territory.
The meeting continued with the presentation of DayOne, an Open Innovation platform focused on digital health and medtech issues – which also integrates a specialized accelerator: DayOne Accelerator – and of Novartis Biome, a network of innovation hubs with the aim of democratizing access to technological innovation.
We closed the meetings by visiting the University Hospital of Basel, where we met the Innovation Management team of the facility.
The day ends with a guided tour of the beautiful city of Basel and the Kunstmuseum, where we are lucky enough to visit an exhibition on Picasso!
Day 3 – Biel
The third day was the turn of Biel, where we visited the Swiss Smart Factory, a “platform” for testing and demonstrating technologies inherent to industry 4.0 – it’s defined as a “supermarket of ideas”, where companies of all types and dimensions are invited to learn about new technologies to understand how they can adapt to their products.
We witnessed various demos, including one concerning the creation of drones through a completely automated and digitized flow, starting from the online order by users, passing through the 3D printing of external components and ending with the assembly using robotic arms. We tested a passive exoskeleton and finally we played table football against a robot arm: basically, the dream of every engineer!
After the visit, we headed to Lausanne, where we spent the evening visiting the city and exchanging feedback and information with our guides and other participants.
Day 4 – Lausanne
A must in Lausanne is the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), with its campus and countless laboratories. Here various research groups in the field of robotics and med-tech presented their projects to us, and with them we also had the opportunity to better explore the relationship that is created between the university and its spin-offs, which show a very high rate of success. Surely the contamination between research groups and different fields is not to be underestimated!
The visit ends with a presentation of the Innovation Park located inside the university, which each year guides dozens of startups on a conspicuous path of growth to prepare them for the international market.
After lunch we moved to a magnificent location: Domaine du Daley , a winery dating back to 1392 with a magnificent view of Lake of Geneva, where we were offered an aperitif with excellent wine tasting. During the aperitif, we had the pleasure of learning more about Biopôle, the life science campus in Lausanne that hosts some of the most innovative life science companies in the world.
We then returned to Zurich, tired but extremely satisfied with the profitable day!
Day 5 – Zürich
Our stay in Switzerland ended with the participation in the ETH Zurich Robotics Innovation Day, an event in which on the one hand we had the opportunity to attend numerous talks and conferences by some of the leading experts in the sector, and on the other hand we had the opportunity to compare ourselves with other research groups, startups and more consolidated companies that exhibited the most recent innovations in the robotics field, the result of a close collaboration between academia and industry.
There was no lack of opportunities for Adam’s Hand to interact with more than one robot – let’s not tease ourselves, that’s what we were there for!
What we took home
Switzerland is a small paradise of pure innovation, surrounded by breathtaking views and chocolate, lots of chocolate, in all shapes and sizes!
We had the opportunity to deal with a highly stimulating environment and in many ways different from our beautiful country: for example, we should certainly take a cue from the symbiotic relationship present in Switzerland between academia and industry, which increases the speed of innovation in a really significant way.
We will certainly make the most of the network we had built, exploring new fields and working as always to make our project more and more international.
P.S .: a huge thank you to Lisa Susan Abraham (Swissnex) for documenting our trip with photos and videos and to our exceptional guides, Sirpa, Corinne, Camilla and Fabienne, for the excellent “Switzerland” organization : you made us feel at home!