With a growing role in the economy and the ability to create new markets, start-ups continue to bring innovation to business.
To reflect all the latest developments in this section of the market, we are pleased to bring back our successful StartUp Spotlight column, exploring the latest new ideas.
We begin with the team behind Biowatch, a Switzerland-based company which has created a device to protect and manage personal data.
What’s the elevator pitch?
Biowatch is a smartwatch that uses the unique pattern of your veins as a secure source of biometric identification and as a replacement for cards, passwords, and keys.
Why we should keep an eye on it
Because we are maybe the next Swiss unicorn, obviously?
But on a more serious note, as security concerns continue to remain at the top of the public agenda, we see more and more companies and consumers looking for trusted devices and mechanisms that keep their data and assets safe - other than traditional passwords and swipe cards.
For example, imagine a campus of students wearing a Biowatch that replaces all badges, student cards, and login credentials – no more forgotten passwords, lost cards, and replacement fees!
The story and the people behind the startup
The Biowatch story began in England back in 1985, when Joe Rice invented the technology behind vein recognition and the concept of a biometric watch used for ID management which is secured by the unique wrist vein pattern of the user.
We then fast forward to summer 2014 when Matthias Vanoni, a PhD student working on vein biometrics at EPFL in Switzerland, contacted Joe Rice with the idea to turn the concept into a marketable product.
Together, Joe and Matthias founded Biowatch SA and successfully raised funds to attract talent and start developing a product.
Have you managed to get funding? How?
We raised 1.2 million Swiss francs in a seed round in December 2016. This came from business angels, two corporates, and a VC fund, as well as an additional 800,000 Swiss francs in an equity-free grant for external research and development from the Swiss government.
The visibility gained at Kickstart Accelerator helped us in closing this round, and led to us securing a paid customer as a direct result of Kickstart Accelerator’s introduction to sponsors.
What happens next? What’s the long-term ambition?
At the moment we are busy delivering functional prototypes to our early customers in order to be used for internal testing.
From here, we’re looking forward to seeing these prototypes being marketed and promoted amongst the millions of their end-users who will leverage the Biowatch for use-cases in wearable payments, e-banking login, car keys, ticketing, or access control.
It’s exciting for us to envision potentially millions of end-users benefiting from Biowatch’s technology in ways that will add convenience and security to their daily life - and in ways we have not yet imagined.
StartUp Spotlight is a monthly column where LSBF speaks with the leaders of young start-ups and businesses to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.