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Press release

Swisscom invests in winner of the StartUp Challenge

Berne, 04 October 2016

Swisscom invests CHF 500,000 in the emerging Swiss start-up Nanolive. The high-tech company is a spin-off of EPFL. As winner of the StartUp Challenge, Nanolive completed a one-week long mentor program in the Silicon Valley last week, along with the four other winners, Advanon, Fashwell, Xsensio and Qumram.

Nanolive has developed a new technology that enables living cells to be explored in three dimensions without damaging them. In comparison with other industry solutions, the process is simple and economical and is carried out using a microscope. The "3D Cell Explorer" will enable progress in medical research, as the effects of drugs on living cells can be tested in real time. Swisscom Ventures believes in the potential of the start-up company and is supporting Nanolive with CHF 500,000 from its Early Stage Fund. "We are looking forward to collaborating with Swisscom. It will contribute to strengthening our product development, enabling us to continue to offer our customers innovative services in the future," says Yann Cotte, CEO of Nanolive.


Investment in disruptive technology

"We are convinced that Nanolive's disruptive technology will make a significant contribution to the improvement of human health. The software used enables 3D scans to be displayed in real time on all digital devices. This means new discoveries can be shared with other researchers very quickly," reports Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, Head of Swisscom Digital Business, from the Silicon Valley. Dominique Mégret, Head of Swisscom Ventures, adds, "with our investment, we want to help move the Swiss startup ecosystem forward. Nanolive represents a good example of linking pioneering technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and medical informatics, which is relevant for Swisscom in the areas of Smart Data and Cloud Services."


StartUp Challenge success story

Nanolive spent an exciting week in the Silicon Valley along with the four Swiss start-ups Advanon, Fashwell, Qumram and Xsensio. As winners of the fourth Swisscom StartUp Challenge, the five start-up companies completed a tailor-made mentor program. This included visiting investors, potential partners and customers, as well as coaching from internal experts and representatives of the Swisscom outpost.


Over 650 start-up companies have applied for the StartUp Challenge since 2013. The 30 finalists from 2013-2015 have acquired a total of CHF 50 million in venture capital. Of these 30 start-ups, 27 are still active today; one has already been taken over. Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler also draws a positive conclusion from this. "The struggle to secure promising start-ups has intensified in recent years. Yet with the StartUp Challenge and the trip to the Silicon Valley, we are still successfully accessing outstanding start-ups in the high-tech sector."


An overview of the five winners of the Swisscom StartUp Challenge



Founded by three ex-Google employees, Advanon enables SMEs to finance their outstanding bills quickly and transparently. SMEs can have their customer invoices financed on the Advanon online platform and receive liquid funds within 24 hours. This enables companies to adapt their short-term liquidity requirements to suit their business situation and avoid long periods waiting for investors to get access to a new asset class.



Every day we click on thousands of images on Instagram, showing models wearing clothes that we would also like to wear. With the vision of making fashion products on the internet accessible to users and giving them the opportunity to purchase them, three EPFL graduates developed Fashwell: an app which lets people find and purchase their favourite fashion products, made possible by an algorithm for image analysis based on machine learning.



Scientists working for scientists – this is the motto which gave rise to Nanolive at the innovation park at EPFL. Nanolive is a new technology that enables living cells to be explored in three dimensions using a microscope without damaging them. It particularly enables progress to be made in medical research, as the effects of drugs on living cells can be tested in real time, for example.



The Zurich-based start-up Qumram focuses on the most promising of markets – big data. Qumram is a big data platform on which any online information can be recorded in its entirety and legally, and can be accessed later at any time. This enables companies to fulfil their legal obligation to produce proof, detect fraud by means of the analysis of customer interactions and optimise the customer experience.



The start-up Xsensio, created at EPFL, has developed a wearable which uses the biochemical information on the surface of our skin in order to provide real-time information about our health and wellbeing in a non-invasive way. Unlike conventional wearables, Xsensio is based on nanotechnology, which makes use of information from proteins, molecules and electrolytes on our skin's surface.


More information about Swisscom's involvement with start-ups:


Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern