WINNERS 2018/2019


Creating Something From Nothing:  27 New Winners

IMD is announcing the winners of the 21st annual IMD Startup Competition, 27 young companies that will collaborate with IMD’s MBA and EMBA classes in 2019.

Every year since 1998 IMD has searched for a group of promising early-stage ventures to work with the experienced managers in our fulltime MBA and EMBA.  The idea for the competition was sparked by a Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist.  IMD’s Dr. Jim Pulcrano, who helped create the EMBA, had explained to this high-powered VC the school’s plans to enhance the students’ understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation by visiting the San Francisco Bay area.  When Jim asked if he’d be willing to speak to the class, he responded that he’d prefer to have them speak to him, and that he’d like to hear their business ideas, and, even better, he’d like them to pitch real startups to him…. Thus was borne the IMD Startup Competition and 20 years later more than 400 swiss startups have collaborated with IMD.

Many of these startups have done well.  AC Immune went public two years ago.  BestMile goes from strength to strength. Dacuda was acquired by Magic Leap. Doodle was bought by Tamedia, Endosense by St.Jude, FaceShift by Apple, GlycArt, by Roche), picoDrill by Asahi Glass, HPL by Dow, Kooaba, acquired by Qualcomm, Lemoptix by Intel.  And then we have MindMaze that has landed over $100 mio in funding, and has done several acquisitions itself, QGel is now at over 20 employees…. Flyability is moving into bigger facilities, SONECT is now collaborating with Loomis, and NEXThink just closed an $85 mio funding round!  Not only did NexThink work with the MBAs in 2005, but they also collaborated in the inaugural IMD/EPFL TransformTECH program, and founder Pedro Bados brought his insights on AI into a custom executive program with Lenovo in 2018.

No matter our past success, every year IMD starts from scratch, looking for the next cohort of great Swiss startups that will learn from our students, and that our students can learn from and add value to.  This year brought IMD 142 candidates.  Prof. Benoit Leleux remarked, “This was one of the best vintages we’ve ever had.  Choosing the ones that would work with us in 2019 was very difficult.”  Prof. Pulcrano added, “Choosing 27 so-called winners from such a great group of promising ventures was hard, probably one of the toughest tasks we undertake each year.  I wish we could somehow work with 100 of them!

And the winners are….. 


The 15 Swiss ventures that our MBAs will have the privilege of working with in 2019 are:


AgroSustain develops and brings to market novel, efficient, plant-inspired solutions against molds, aiming to reduce food wastage and promote healthy food.


Aspivix, a smart new generation of surgical instruments, based on vacuum technology, replaces traumatic cervical forceps and turns very common gynecological practices (i.e.: IUD insertion) into safe & gentle ones for more than 75 million women every year in the world.


BAABUK creates the most authentic wool footwear for responsible people


Bloom is the first chemical company able to selectively convert the most abundant biopolymers on Earth into a handful of building blocks, largely used in the production of fragrances, flavours, adhesives, textiles, plastics or marine fuels - and Bloom thereby thrives on an ineluctable but challenging trend of the chemical industry, which is increasingly looking for cost-competitive solutions to replace petroleum-based carbons.


dimpora provides the next generation functional membranes with the highest functionality for your outdoor adventures. The high tech membrane process combines high performance with sustainability.

FreeSuns (trading as 3Suns Sarl)

Freesuns is a Swiss based company that designs, manufactures and installs affordable and beautiful integrated residential solar roof tiles.

Little Green House

Innovative, fast-growing group of multilingual childcare centers, partnering with modern families and family-friendly companies and providing the best starting conditions for tomorrow's citizen.


MOBBOT offers unique 3D concrete printing technology for the construction sector, cutting installation costs of custom-made products by a factor of 4


Waoow Comics disrupts the rules of the comics editing business in providing a digital-first comics marketplace, offering direct revenue generation for authors thanks to self-publishing and selling services,  while sustaining a revolutionary, unique and tailored-for-mobile reading experience.


Locate, prebook and park your car close to your destination; easy, efficient, MyPark !


Privately provides technology for online safety and online wellbeing of children- in apps,in games and in devices.


Industry 4.0 Expertise Automation and Augmentation Software

Swiss Motion Technologies

MotionTech is changing the face of the orthopaedic world from mass production to mass customization, through its novel additive manufacturing solutions of silicone.


Tracelabel® is a blockchain-based software platform designed to build a community of engaged consumers in the best interests of independent winemakers.


xFarm is a Cloud and IoT platform which takes farms into the digital age, by simplifying data collection and management, thus reducing paperwork, improving efficiency and sustainability and allowing the traceability of agricultural products.


Working with IMD’s Executive MBA class in 2019, accompanying them to Silicon Valley in September, and watching as the students pitch them to Silicon Valley VCs will be:

Annaida Technologies

Annaida Technologies makes magnetic resonance possible at the embryo scale.

Aurora's Grid

It is time to make your battery storage profitable


Chip-ing disrupts the world of golf by digitalizing the golf ball and making it the smartest IoT sporting good, and, with all features to come, Chip-ing will attract the digital generations to the fairways.


Dronistics develops safe foldable drones and software for person-to-person, last-centimetre aerial delivery.


element36 has created a bridge between the Blockchain and the banking world, enabling Smart Contracts to be used by non-technical people with real money.

Enterprise Bot

Headquartered in Switzerland, Enterprise Bot is a rapidly growing AI startup providing leading financial institutions and insurances with white-labeled cognitive solutions tailored to their specific needs.

Futurae Technologies

Futurae, with its cybersecurity products, is very excited to work with IMD EMBA students on a strategic assignment in the area of user-centric authentication.


Largo is developing new models for the movie industry with and its cutting-edge technologies enabling data-driven moviemaking.


We are looking forward to getting the best EMBA students in the world to challenge our business idea and help us build the quantum industry 1.0.

Swiss Vault

Swiss Vault helps organizations save all their data forever by building long-lasting, energy and space efficient data storage systems.

Tinamu Labs

Tinamu Labs enables using drones to replace heavy camera equipment - such as camera cranes - to cut down production costs and to create completely new visual content.


Vima, a spinoff of the Idiap, provides solutions based on advanced Artificial Intelligence, that understand human behaviour in different contexts, resulting in better processes and interactions with customers.


IMD will start the next search for promising Swiss startups in October 2019!

Information can be found at

IMD Startup Competition 2018/2019 Special Edition


We are pleased to announce the winners of the IMD Startup Competition 2018/19 Special Edition, who will begin work with our Executive MBA participants in November 2018, and accompany them to Silicon Valley in February 2019. Typically, our search for candidates starts in October, but with the growth of the IMD EMBA class we are thus able to offer more support to Swiss startups. We are pleased to add these ventures to the almost 400 which have worked with IMD through the IMD Startup Competition, founded in 1998.


Special Edition Winners


Yacine Felk, Patrick Trinkler –

ARCATrust is a cyber-security company which aims to provide a secure environment for multi-applications execution in the form of a physically enterprise-grade server appliance. It uses Blockchain applications that require a secure wallet system for crypto-assets management.

Aeler Technologies  

Naik Londono –

AELER creates the 21st-century intermodal container; lighter, stronger and embedded with state-of-the-art electronics and sensors. Through this tool, we will reduce operating costs, increase security & safety, reduce fuel consumption & related emissions, and enable IoT traceability and visibility services at the level of the container.   

IDUN Technologies  

Séverine Chardonnens, Simon Bachman –

IDUN Technologies is a biosensor company, developing and producing soft and dry conductive electrodes for biopotential monitoring (ECG, EEG, EMG). With a patented surface structure, these electrodes provide high quality signals with skin-friendly materials without electrolyte gel.


Rolf Adelsberger –

Sensoryx develops the first mobile motion-capture glove for AR and VR. With multiple sensors per hand and integrated tracking, the system enables users to interact intuitively with virtual content anywhere and anytime.         

Touchless Automation        

Maurizio Migliore –

Touchless Automation invented a tool able to manipulate components (any material) without touching them. This tool solves a wide range of contact-induced issues such as contamination, scratching or adhesion.           


Marcos Monteiro –

Veezoo's Enterprise Artificial Intelligence semantically understands structured data and gets you the answer you need in seconds, just like in a conversation. Our mission is to democratize data-driven decisions; doing for corporates what Google did for the internet, organizing the information and making it accessible and useful.