08-Jan-2019 - Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zürich)

ETH spin-off machine running at full speed

27 companies were founded in 2018, more than any year previously

In 2018, ETH Zurich achieved a new record high for the number of spin-offs founded: a total of 27 founding teams took the plunge into independence. While an average of 13 ETH spin-offs were founded per year from 2000 to 2010, the following decade has seen an average of 24 per year. For Detlef Günther, Vice President of Research and Corporate Relations, the successive increase in the number of new companies over the past two decades is the best evidence that internal university support programmes pay off: “I am delighted that so many talented young people are displaying the perseverance and courage required to develop their ideas to market maturity, as this ultimately also benefits the Swiss economy and society,” he says.

Digital technologies for medicine

The spin-offs cover a wide range of subjects and reflect the breadth of research at ETH Zurich. The largest proportion of new companies – 12 in 2018 – come from the field of information and communication technology. This continues a trend that emerged a few years ago. A trend is also visible in application areas: eight spin-offs from various fields are developing products for the medical sector. For example, some of the young founders are working on a new method of root canal treatment, others on an easy-to-handle and inexpensive PET scanner for the early detection of Alzheimer’s.

In the course of the digital transformation, artificial intelligence will also become increasingly important: six of the new companies are working with machine learning methods. The spin-off Scailyte is developing a software that can analyse patterns in huge volumes of data from individual cells and link them to various diseases. This could significantly improve the early detection of a whole range of diseases, such as cancer. The fact that so many of the new spin-offs are focused on the fields of medicine and data science is unsurprising, as these are two of ETH Zurich’s main focus areas.

Success on the market

The young founders possess more than simply a good idea and faith in their own abilities, as is clearly shown by a look at the balance sheets: over the last year, ETH spin-offs were able to attract more than CHF 170 million in capital. For example, the companies Climeworks, Verity Studios and Beekeeper concluded rounds of financing with over CHF 30 million, CHF 18 million and CHF 13 million respectively. Alongside these investments, acquisitions and an initial public offering (IPO) also showed the success of ETH spin-offs. The IPO of Sensirion in March 2018, for example, was a good fit for the company’s growth strategy. This was reflected in a year-on-year increase in revenue of 30 percent in the first six months.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • financing
  • initial public offerings
More about ETH Zürich
  • News

    A new theory for Semiconductors made of nanocrystals

    Researchers at ETH have provided the first theoretical explanation for how electrical current is conducted in semiconductors made of nanocrystals. In the future, this could lead to the development of new sensors, lasers or LEDs for TV screens. A few years ago, we were introduced to TV scree ... more

    Growing polymers with different lengths

    ETH researchers have developed a new method for producing polymers with different lengths. This paves the way for new classes of polymer materials to be used in previously inconceivable applications. It is hard to imagine everyday life without materials made of synthetic polymers. Clothes, ... more

    Surprisingly strong and deformable silicon

    Researchers at ETH and Empa have shown that tiny objects can be made from silicon that are much more deformable and stronger than previously thought. In this way, sensors in smartphones could be made smaller and more robust. Since the invention of the MOSFET transistor sixty year ago, the c ... more

  • Videos

    Oxybromination of methane over vanadium phosphate

    ETH Zurich scientists have discovered a new catalyst that allows the easy conversion of natural gas constituents into precursors for the production of fuels or complex chemicals, such as polymers or pharmaceuticals. The new catalyst is extremely stable and results in fewer unwanted by-produ ... more

More about Sensirion
  • News

    Sensirion moves into a new production building in Switzerland

    Sensirion inaugurated its new production building in mid-July 2011. After eight months of construction, the newly purchased production plant in Stäfa, Switzerland, situated just a few hundred meters from the main building, was ready for occupancy. With the purchase and renovation of the bui ... more

    Mass Flow Measurement - 100 times faster

    The Swiss company Sensirion AG (www.sensirion.com) has developed a completely new technology for media-isolated liquid mass flow measurement: highly sensitive, digital CMOSens microchips can be put in the position to detect flow rates in the range of a few milliliters or nanoliters per minu ... more

    The First Digital Humidity/Temperature Sensor!

    Sensirion presents the world with the first digital humidity/temperature sensor. The tiny SMD sensor module (mass: 7.5 x 5 x 2.5mm, Lx W x H) transmits a calibrated digital signal to measure the relative humidity and temperature. In addition, owing to full calibration and digital output, ... more

More about Climeworks
  • News

    Renewable fuels from CO2 & water using 100% renewable electricity

    Norsk e-Fuel AS, the new European industry consortium headquartered in Oslo, has announced to industrialize Power-to-Liquid technology (PtL) in Norway for the European Market. The new state-of-the-art project will allow the conversion of Norway’s extensive renewable electricity resources in ... more

    Climeworks raises CHF 73M

    Climeworks has successfully raised CHF 73 million (USD 75 million) in equity from private investors. This is the largest private investment into direct air capture to date. The funding will help to drive forward the company’s scale-up roadmap and expand its carbon dioxide removal capacities ... more

    The winners of the innovation award “Best CO2 Utilisation 2020”

    At nova-Institute’s first online conferences on PtX and Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU), 50 speakers presented and discussed the future of aviation fuels and carbon dioxide as feedstock! In the face of the current crisis, nova-Institute decided to defy the circumstances and found a new ... more

  • Companies

    Climeworks AG

    Climeworks captures CO2 from air with the world’s first commercial carbon dioxide removal technology. Our direct air capture plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere, allowing customers to reverse their emissions and realize their climate goals. more