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Power Up Swiss Start-ups

How can Switzerland promote a globally competitive start-up scene?

Even though establishing business is in Swiss DNA, there is still work to be done around fostering entrepreneurship and having an attractive start-up culture. In this mini podcast series, we introduce you to selected start-up companies that power up Switzerland with their ideas and innovations. Your host, Daniel Laude, talks to founders and experts about their entrepreneurial story, the Swiss start-up scene, and Switzerland as a location for start-ups. What advice do they have for setting up businesses and what are their suggestions on improving the conditions and environment of start-ups?

Episode 4: Impact with fresh taste – how Koa innovates the cocoa fruit business (in German)

Cocoa is not only an ingredient for (hot) chocolate, it can also be used in many other ways in gastronomy and industry. The method of growing and processing the cocoa fruit in countries such as Ghana did not change much over the last 300 years.

Koa has innovated this production process by applying the experience and knowledge around solar energy from the co-founders Anian Schreiber and Benjamin Kuschnik. Their approach reduces food waste by 40 per cent, creates new jobs in rural Ghana and increases farmers’ income.

Daniel asks Anian and Benjamin what it means to found a purpose-driven business like Koa, what makes their way of processing the cocoa fruit innovative and what their view on Switzerland is as a location for start-ups.

What we were already pushing very strongly four or five years ago […] and what investors also understand now is that CSR or sustainability is not just a ‘nice to have’ but should be at the core of a business model.

Episode 3: Switzerland versus Israel – what are the differences between both countries when it comes to starting a business?

The Swiss start-up scene is in its infancy compared to the Israeli ecosystem – especially regarding start-up financing, says Cédric Bollag. He knows founders and venture capitalists in both countries very well and has showcased over 300 entrepreneurs and investors on his start-up show on YouTube.

Cédric has also founded his own business called Curated, an online video channel on which he publishes his interviews. Daniel asks Cédric how he found his way into the start-up world, his thoughts on starting a business in Switzerland and what the Swiss start-up scene can learn from the one in Israel.

In the U.S. and in Israel it is all or nothing. Many VCs [venture capitalists] rather write a check for a million and know after six months that it will not work out, instead of funding something long-term which might or might not be a success.

Episode 2: Vertical farming – is the future of agriculture in the city? (in German)

Vertical farming is about growing agricultural fresh produce in vertically stacked layers. This happens in large structures such as refurbished industrial buildings – usually in or within proximity to cities. Vertical farming strives for a more sustainable, efficient, and healthier food production.

YASAI is one of the first and leading Swiss start-ups in this field. Deloitte’s Head of Research, Michael Grampp, interviewed YASAI’s founder and CEO, Mark Zahran, in the beginning of 2021. They talked about the founding story of YASAI, their business model, and the connection between vertical farming and architecture.

Vertical farming will revolutionise the way we produce food in the 21st century. 

Episode 1: Electrifying utility vehicles – how 4QT wants to revolutionise commercial vehicles (in German)

Mobility is among the main drivers of CO2 emissions overall. While public debate usually seems to focus on passenger transport, commercial vehicles play an important role in this context as well.

To lower emissions in the commercial sector, the start-up 4QT combines the advantages of electric motors and traditional combustion engines by integrating both in the same vehicle. Their four-quadrant transmission (4QT) technology is supposed to guarantee the optimal gear ratio for maximum efficiency and minimal emissions.

Daniel talked to Marc Vetter, founder and CEO of 4QT, how he came up with the idea for his company, how he sees the start-up scene in Switzerland, and which tips he gives to new founders.

What would you do if you had a technology that could reduce emissions by 30 percent – either by retrofit or directly from the factory?

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