Three Empa Start-Ups awarded

Swiss TOP100 Startup Award 2017

7 sept. 2017 | KARIN WEINMANN

The best young Swiss entrepreneurs are selected every year and honoured with the «TOP 100 STARTUP AWARDs». This year three start-ups who owe their establishment in part to Empa made it onto the Honour Roll.


The start-up Ava from Zürich even reched first place. This new enterprise takes sensors developed at Empa and uses them to fulfil desires to have children. A bracelet, which need only be worn during the night, helps the user to keep track of her menstrual cycle, giving plenty of advance warning of the most fertile days. The sophisticated sensors it contains collect data on nine physiological parameters (such as resting pulse, skin temperature and blood flow) whose behaviour correlates with the increase in hormone levels around the time of ovulation. The app which accompanies the bracelet uses this data to calculate a woman’s fertile days, with an accuracy of 89% according to Ava.

Only just established and already winning prizes!
Also freshly hatched, but already honoured with rank 56 in the top hundred start-ups, was the first spinoff to emerge from the EPFL site in Sion, GRZ Technologies, the youngest enterprise on the list. The new company, founded by Empa/EPFL researcher Andreas Zuettel is developing a new hydrogen storage system which is not only safer and more efficient than existing systems, but also boasts a higher energy density. Zuettel researched into the field of hydrogen storage in metals initially at Empa’s Duebendorf site, then at the EPFL laboratory in Sion. In just six months since the foundation of the company in March 2017, it has already brought two products to the market – a measuring instrument and a compressor for hydrogen research. The income generated by these products is intended primarily to finance the further development of the novel technology.

The Empa spinoff Swiss Wood Solutions, which has been in existence for just less than a year, took place 58 in the top hundred list. The young company takes wood grown locally on sustainable forestry sites and transforms it to give it properties similar to those of endangered tropical woods such as ebony, which is extremely hard and dense. The resulting product – known as «Swiss Ebony» – can be used as a substitute for the environmentally problematic genuine ebony in applications such as the fingerboards or pegs of stringed instruments, or the manufacture of billiard cues. In addition Swiss Wood Solutions, like GRZ Technologies, figures among the top five youngest start-ups, all founded less than a year ago.

Public voting: cast your vote now!

To celebrate the 10th year of existence of the «TOP 100 STARTUP AWARDs», this year the public is being asked to vote too. Members of the public can vote for one of five young enterprises drawn from the previous rounds which have what it takes to shape the future. The winner is the fledgling company which wins the most votes from the public. The names of the 10 successful «Global Shapers» will be announced during the 10th anniversary event in November. And what’s more: «Swiss Wood Solutions» is among the five companies nominated for 2017. To the Online-Voting.

Redaktion / Medienkontakt

Lea von Bidder

Dr. Oliver Kläusler
Swiss Wood Solutions AG / Empa, Applied Wood Materials
Phone +41 58 765 45 53

Prof. Dr. Andreas Züttel
Empa-EPFL Laboratory of Materials for Renewable Energy
Phone +41 21 695 82 10

Redaktion / Medienkontakt

Karin Weinmann
Empa communication
Phone +41 58 765 44 54