28.04.2017 The Startup Champions Seed Night last Wednesday saw a record number of attendees. Twenty-two start-ups pitched to the audience and MindMaze’s Tej Tadi spoke frankly about his mistakes.
The Startup Champions Seed Night has evolved to one of the most important events of the start-up scene in Western Switzerland. It was co-organized by EPFL Alumni, EPFL and venturelab. The event started with a keynote by Tej Tadi, founder and CEO of Mindmaze, an EPFL spin-off with a valuation of more than one billion US Dollar, making it to a so-called unicorn. It was impressive how Tej Tadi spoke about his learnings along the way. He was stressing in particular that entrepreneurs are not superhumans. They need a team and they need people like mentors who can help them personally if they want to succeed. This applies particularly to founders like Tej Tadi who did not start their company with a founder’s team. However, the importance of the team does not mean that he supports a cosy relationship to employees. He said the CEOs should “hire slow and fire fast” and told the audience that one of his mistakes was to dismiss employees too slowly.
In the second part of the event, 22 start-ups pitched most of them are winners of the venture leaders China and the venture leaders Life Sciences programs. In addition, some of the most promising EPFL early stage companies had the opportunity to be in the spotlight. The full list of all 22 start-ups can be found on the website of EPFL Alumni.
The audience selected four start-ups with the best pitches, these were: Medical Templates, Xsensio, Technis and Darix. A jury then selected a winner based on the answers to the question what the entrepreneurs would do with three million Swiss Francs. In the eyes of the jury Rafael Hostettler, co-founder of Medical Templates and venture leaders winner, gave the best answer because he mentioned product development, sales and the ecosystem in which Medical Templates is embedded.
The four selected companies
Medical Templates represented by Rafael Hostettler.
Medical Templates developed the “Puncture Cube”, an ingeniously simple approach to computed tomography (CT) guided needle navigation in the body for biopsies and pain therapy. Targeted at interventional radiologists, the technology reduces radiation, intervention time and variance, while increasing patient comfort and safety. The solution has seen extremely positive user feedback. MedicalTemplates is now aiming towards FDA approval by the End of 2017 to enter the US market.
Darix represented by Martijn Bosch.
Darix makes augmented reality applications for professionals. We are successfully supporting firefighters to see through smoke and better understand their environment, technicians to address difficult tasks on-site, and are using the powers of augmented reality to support professionals during their work.
Technis represented by Wiktor Bourée.
Technis has developed a smart flooring which can be used in different application field including sports (for example tennis) care or facility management. By making the surface sensitive and by coupling this surface to powerful artificial intelligence, a real-time overview of the activity in a building can be made accessible from any internet-connected device. A personalised dashboard furthermore allows for external data crossing, thus allowing for resource optimisation, queue management and activity prediction.
Xsensio represented by Esmeralda Megally.
Xsensio develops next-generation Lab-on-Skin wearable devices that uniquely exploit biochemical information at the surface of our skin, providing unprecedented real-time information about our health and wellness, in a simple, non-invasive way.
Picture: EPFL Alumni