Eight startups pitched for potential millions of swiss francs in CERN’s council chamber, the very same room where many of CERN’s most important decisions are made. The event, the SICTIC Investor Day, took place on 18 March in collaboration with CERN’s Knowledge Transfer group.
SICTIC, a non-profit association, is connecting angel investors to Swiss early-stage tech start-ups through events like the Investor Day at CERN. Angel investors are people who fund companies at an early stage with their own money, taking a higher risk than most investors, while also contributing to the start-ups with their own expertise and network.
“We go where the best investors can meet the best start-ups – and that is why we’re here” – Bolko Hohaus, Vice President of SICTIC
At the event, Hohaus stated how CERN is a place with an amazing history of innovations, being the birthplace of the web and many other impactful technology transfer projects.
Supporting start-ups is an integral part of CERN Knowledge Transfer’s effort to build bridges between fundamental research and society. Giovanni Anelli, Group Leader of CERN Knowledge Transfer (KT), opened the Investor Day by explaining that to bridge this gap, the start-ups that CERN are working with need investors and connections in the entrepreneurial ecosystem - and that is why the KT group is creating meeting places at CERN like the Investor Day.
“Several of CERN’s technologies are more prone to be transferred to society via a startup than a larger company, and to trigger this potential we are really trying to build a culture of entrepreneurship at the Laboratory” – Giovanni Anelli, Group Leader of CERN Knowledge Transfer
The goal of the Investor Day was matching promising start-ups with investors. Eight pre-selected start-ups got the opportunity to present their companies through a 90 second pitch in front of experienced angel investors. Amongst these were two companies from CERN’s Network of Business Incubation Centres (BICs): SecuraXis from the Swiss BIC and SAFETYN from the French BIC, both start-ups deploying CERN technology.
Five of the participating companies were then selected by the investors to go to the next round for an in-depth presentation. Both of the CERN-related startups, SAFETYN and SecuraXis created interest amongst the investors and were selected to present again.
Discussions regarding investments between startups and investors have continued after the event for some of the participating companies, and maybe some of them will be able to close the deals. Such interactions display the value created through meeting places such as the Investor Day at CERN, and of the Organization’s investment in entrepreneurship.
About the two start-up companies using CERN technology:
SecuraXis: The Swiss start-up SecuraXis is using the CERN technology C2MON in a new acoustic sensor security system designed for growing smart cities across the world, in order to keep the cities of the future safe. In 2018, they were selected as the first incubatee of the new Swiss Business Incubation Centre of CERN technologies, located at PARK INNOVAARE in Villingen.
SAFETYN: Through the use of the open source ROOT/TMVA framework developed at CERN, the French start-up SAFETYN aims to improve safety for general aviation, and reduce the number of accidents and fatalities for current aviation aircrafts. In 2018 they were accepted into InnoGEX, the French Business Incubation Centre of CERN technologies located in the Saint-Genis-Pouilly Technoparc.