Welcome to BaselArea.swiss

Fostering innovation & accelerating business in Switzerland’s most dynamic economic region >>>>

No. 1 in Swissness

Swissness means business-friendly, reliable and productive. As an economic powerhouse and with decidedly pro-business core values, ... >>>> Swissness means business-friendly, reliable and productive. As an economic powerhouse and with decidedly pro-business core values, the Basel region is a shining example for these Swiss virtues.

No. 1 in Life Sciences and Healthcare

The entire life sciences value chain in one place and easily accessible? That’s what makes the Basel region unique and a preferred ... >>>> The entire life sciences value chain in one place and easily accessible? That’s what makes the Basel region unique and a preferred location for research, development, production and headquarters functions - for 700 companies and counting.

No. 1 in Innovation Industries

Switzerland is considered the most innovative country in the world, according to various studies. Access to knowledge, highly quali... >>>> Switzerland is considered the most innovative country in the world, according to various studies. Access to knowledge, highly qualified and international talent and a strong industrial backbone have turned the Basel region into the leading innovation hub of Switzerland.

No. 1 in Access from and to Europe

Via container ship or by plane: Outstanding connectivity and transportation, bordering Germany and France, and a central location i... >>>> Via container ship or by plane: Outstanding connectivity and transportation, bordering Germany and France, and a central location in the middle of Europe have established the Basel region as a preferred logistics hub and metropolitan platform for international trade.

No. 1 in Culture and Leisure

World-class art treasures, culture and sports events, an international, urban ambience nestled in a healthy natural landscape for r... >>>> World-class art treasures, culture and sports events, an international, urban ambience nestled in a healthy natural landscape for recreation, all of this combined establishes the Basel region as one of the most livable and lively spots to dwell and work in the world.

BaselArea.swiss is a joint initiative for innovation and economic promotion by the cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft and Jura in Northwestern Switzerland. BaselArea.swiss supports entrepreneurs and companies from abroad with the successful implementation of innovation and business ventures in the Basel region.

Through an extensive network of 15'000 decision-makers, innovators, experts, influencers and multipliers, BaselArea.swiss provides its clients direct access to relevant expertise and specialized know-how.

BaselArea.swiss offers its clients customized services in four main areas:

Invest in the Basel Region

Invest in the Basel Region helps clients with personalized support in deciding where to locate their business activities in the Basel region. Companies can expect competent advice during the entire site selection and settlement process.

Connecting Innovators

Connecting Innovators helps connecting companies and researchers in technology, R&D and innovation matters, and within the tech industry sectors Life Sciences, Medical Technologies, ICT, Micro, Nano & Materials, and Production Technologies.

Supporting Entrepreneurs

Supporting Entrepreneurs offers entrepreneurs, who plan to start a company in the Basel region, overall help and support during the operational implementation of their business plans. Furthermore, start-ups and SME in expansion mode from the technology sectors mentioned above can benefit from strategic networking services to connect with industry experts and investors.

Accessing China

Accessing China provides companies in Northwestern Switzerland, which are looking to expand to China with a competent partnering network for a smooth market entry and implementation of their expansion project in China.

BaselArea.swiss also manages a comprehensive information platform, which showcases the competencies and specializations in the Basel business region, and further advances the integration of the region’s innovative players:

Innovation Reports

Covering the latest stories and reports on innovation in the Basel region and featuring a monthly newsletter with interviews, background stories and news about company settlements in the Basel region.

Innovation Events

BaselArea.swiss organizes and co-hosts more than 50 events annually dedicated to knowledge transfer and entrepreneurial culture. “Innovation Events” is where innovators and entrepreneurs share their thoughts and experiences about the latest in innovation.

When it comes to competitiveness and the ability to innovate, Switzerland has been one of the world’s top business locations for years. Several factors are responsible for Switzerland’s leading position: In addition to its excellency in education and a state-of-the-art infrastructure, one prominent reason for equating Swissness with business-friendliness, reliability, and productivity certainly is the efficiency of Swiss government authorities. For decades, companies and their investments in Switzerland have been able to benefit from a strong legal system, planning reliability and financial stability. Such an environment also provides the single most important precondition for sustainable expansion into new markets. Not coincidentally, Switzerland can claim the highest density of multinational enterprises.

The Basel region has made major contributions to this Swiss success story. Not only lay the beginnings and origins of numerous leading global players here, their successes also fuels the economic growth of our dynamic region. For instance, GDP numbers for the Basel region are significantly above the national average: The greater agglomeration of Basel achieves the highest gross domestic product per capita. At the same time, the Basel region is boosting Switzerland’s innovative capabilities, largely due to its leadership in life sciences and other high-tech sectors that are strongly represented in the area. For example, roughly a fifth of Switzerland’s value of exported goods is generated in the Basel region – remarkably considering the Basel region represents less than 10% of the Swiss population.

Four eminent features are at the core of the excellent reputation that Switzerland, and the Basel region in particular, enjoy when it comes to global competition of business, industry and knowledge locations:

Intelligent tax policies

Federalism as Switzerland’s guiding principle encourages active fiscal competition among cantons - which keeps tax rates within reasonable brackets. Apart from a flat tax rate on a federal level, the cantons are solely responsible for setting the tax rates - and for providing a best possible business environment for companies. As a result, the main beneficiaries of the Basel region are companies active in innovative industries with a high value add, as well as companies investing substantially in research, development and production.

Liberal labor market

Given the high density of internationally active high-tech companies in the Basel region, local authorities are supportive in order to answer the demand for highly qualified experts and executives from abroad. Companies also benefit from one of Europe’s most liberal labor market, while simultaneously being able to offer employees great benefits. The Basel region’s labor regulations and market allow companies to react quickly if changes in the business environment require action.

Sustainable infrastructure

In Switzerland, 5 minutes of train delay is considered unpleasant and exceptional – which routinely puts a smile on the faces of visitors from other countries. It is a well-known fact that the Swiss public infrastructure is rightly considered one of the most modern and reliable of the world – much to the advantage of companies in the Basel region: Exceptional connectivity by car, train or plane from and to all of Europe – and by waterway on the Rhine to all over the world.

Dual education system

Only a third of young Swiss finish high school and continue to earn degrees at one of Switzerland’s top universities. For many other countries this might represent a disastrous educational failure. In Switzerland, it’s actually part of the country’s success of professional formation. The aim of Switzerland’s “dual” education system is that a majority of young people will complete a Swiss-Federation-certified apprenticeship in order to join the workforce early on. A specialization, mostly „on the job“, is possible and often pursued at one of the country’s technical colleges or universities of applied sciences. This provides the Swiss labor market with a steady supply of entry-level employees with several years of on-the-job training and who will flexibly work in the most promising sectors, and where the actual demand is from employers and the industry. In addition and especially in the Basel region, there are many and well-established international schools that address the needs of expats and their kids for easy integration.

Being the only political system based on direct democracy, Switzerland has developed a uniquely cohesive political and social culture over the centuries. It is characterized by federalism, autonomy, and concordance, and has been the foundations of a stable political and social environment and is an embodiment of Swiss values. With its open-mindedness, the pragmatic can-do attitude of its authorities and people, the Basel region is a superb example of a business location that offers companies a great environment in which they’re all but certain to thrive.

The Basel region is one of the most sought-after life sciences locations in the world and clearly Europe’s No. 1. With Roche and Novartis, two out of three global market leaders, hail from the Basel region from where they run their global operations.

Just like them, several other international players have established central business divisions here in Basel, among them Elanco (Eli Lilly Company), Abott and Bayer. A good deal of newcomers such as Actelion, Basilea, Evolva and highly specialized companies like Bachem and Polyphor complete Basel’s life sciences ecosystem. Not surprisingly, the Basel region has also morphed into a hotspot for promising start-ups.

The Basel region is home to a total of 700 life sciences companies that are making a substantial contribution to an already dynamic business environment. Their sustainable success is mainly based on the following three factors

The life sciences industry is the growth engine of the Basel region – home-grown and here to stay

With a total of 33’900 employees in the life sciences sector, the Basel region boasts a production of goods and services worth USD 405 million per hour. This makes the Basel region by far the world’s life sciences destination with the highest productivity. When it comes to gross value, the Basel region is a world champion too: Nowhere in the world are higher production volumes to be found than in the Basel region, with its USD 23 billion p.a. At the same time, Basel’s annually received USD 6 billion investments in research and development makes the region a leader in this discipline too. Local life sciences are responsible for above-average economic growth – a fact reflected in the spotless reputation that the industry enjoys in the Basel region.

In the Basel region you’ll find talent and specialists with all kinds of competencies – quite often even in walking distance

From research and start-ups to manufacturing, marketing and distribution you’ll find the complete life sciences value chain of the Basel region practically on-site, and hence a deep talent pool of experienced specialists and experts at every stage and for every function of your company. Add top-of-the-line research institutes like Biozentrum at the University of Basel, the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering of the ETH Zürich and the Friedrich Miescher Institute, and you’ll begin to grasp the extent of the Basel region’s unique life sciences mix. Its depth and density of resources, expertise and talent – oftentimes literally in walking distance – is unmatched in a global comparison and provides a uniquely fertile ground for innovations of the future.

The Basel region is a beacon of innovation in the life sciences – with a long tradition of more than 250 years

The Basel region can rightly claim to be the life sciences location with the longest history. From the beginnings with its industrial silk ribbon dye mills in the mid-century 1800s up to the biotech revolution, the Basel life sciences ecosystem has repeatedly evolved and reinvented itself in the course of the industry’s larger developments. This success story continues to be written. Unlike other historically grown life sciences centers, the Basel region has enjoyed solid and sustainable growth in recent years. And given a planned capital expenditure of 6 billion Swiss Francs for public and private infrastructure projects in the next couple of years, the region’s next growth spurt is just around the corner.

Tradition, a strong industrial backbone, and profound expertise in research and development, as well as in commercialization, have made the Basel region one of the most complete and full-fledged life sciences destinations in the world. You really would be hard pressed to find a region more suitable for efficient, sustainable and successful pre-commercial and commercial project development in the life sciences.

High-tech is the driving economic force in the Basel region and a guarantor of higher-than-average growth. And it will stay this way.  Because a strong industrial backbone, an international business environment that attracts talent and specialists from all over the world, combined with the world-class Swiss educational system have rendered the Basel region an ideal biotope for innovation. Here, companies, in particular from medical technology, ICT, precision mechanics, as well as from chemical industries, will benefit from the following location features:                         

The Basel region stands on strong industrial ground in the high-tech sector

92% of the industrial value added in the canton of Basel-Stadt is created by high-tech companies. Similarly, in the more rural cantons of Basel-Land and Jura, it is well above 70% and hence above the national average of around 60%. And it’s this latter percentage that has lifted Switzerland into the ranks of the most innovative nations in the world.

The Basel region is a front-runner in research and development

In Switzerland, the private sector is responsible for 69% of investments in research and development - a rather high ratio in global comparison – and 40% of which are generated in the Basel region, even though it holds only 10% of Switzerland’s population. Five of the 10 Swiss companies with the most patents registered are headquartered in the Basel region: Roche, Novartis, Clariant, Syngenta and Endress+Hauser. That’s why there simply is no other Swiss business location that employs a larger workforce in research and development.

The Basel region is globally connected and attracts talents from all over the world

Approximately one out of five in the Basel region’s population of 700’000 hails from abroad; the expat community currently amounts to 36’000. Situated close to the borders of Germany and France, the Basel region also sees a daily influx of 70'000 cross-border commuters from these neighboring countries. It’s hard to think of another business location, where such intense international business dynamics are unfolding in so little space, to form a center of attraction for professionals and specialists from all over the world.

World-class science and academic education

In addition to being a strong industrial research and development location, the Basel region is also perfectly positioned within the European world of academia. With its 2'000 professors and 12’000 students, the University of Basel is one of the oldest in Europe and ranks among the top 100 worldwide. Less than a two-hour train ride away are the Federal Institutes of Technology ETH Zurich (which has a life sciences department in Basel) and the EPFL Lausanne, both among the world’s absolute top-notch universities. In total, the Basel region (including its bordering countries) is home to no less than 167 research institutions in a perimeter of a few 100 kilometers. In addition, Switzerland’s dual education system and the University of Applied Sciences in Northwestern Switzerland provide a steady supply of highly trained professionals and skilled specialists.

Studies and surveys rank Switzerland year after year as one of the world’s leading location for innovation. Thanks to its strong industry backbone, a thoroughly international business environment that attracts talent from all over the world, and combined with the Swiss academic and dual education system, Basel has established itself as the innovation hub of Switzerland. The density of its offerings is truly unique: Maximum scientific performance, industry expertise and know-how, and a qualified labor force can be found within walking distance in the Basel region.


As early as during the Roman Empire, the Basel Rhine Port was known as the most southern navigable port in the waterways leading to the North Sea. After the opening of the first – and for many years the only - bridge over the river Rhine between Lake Constance and the North Sea in Basel in the year 1226, the city evolved into an important trade hub. Bordering France and Germany, and favorably situated in the center of Europe, the Basel region has maintained its leading role as the most important transportation and logistics hub of Switzerland – with many benefits for local industries and business in general.
In addition, the Basel region is particularly suitable for companies intending to establish an international headquarters in Europe, and for businesses actively pursuing new opportunities in global trade. The Basel region offers the following unique benefits:

The Basel region is an important European traffic hub

A mere 15 minutes by taxi or bus away from downtown Basel, the EuroAirport connects the region directly to more than 90 destinations in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. From the city’s three Rhine ports, containers can reach Rotterdam within three days and be shipped from there all over the world. A train leaves nearly every hour to all major Swiss cities like Zurich (including the Zurich International Airport), Bern, Lausanne and Geneva, as well as economic centers on the river Rhine (i.e. Freiburg, Karlsruhe and Strasbourg). And Europe’s leading metropolitan and capital cities such as Frankfurt, Paris and Milano can be reached easily and conveniently in a few hours on a high-speed train.

The Basel region is Switzerland’s leading logistics hub

Basel’s three Rhine ports handle 12% of Switzerland’s foreign trade along with 842'000 tons of food and produce per annum. The entire Basel region processes a third of Switzerland’s foreign trade. Basel’s EuroAirport is Switzerland’s leading airport for freight. This fits the picture of Basel as a logistics hub, with a workforce of more than 23'000 employed in the logistics sector. 990 logistics companies – among them market leaders such as DHL, Panalpina, Goldrand or Kerry Logistics – call the Basel region home. Here, they provide sophisticated solutions for complex challenges, e.g. in supply chain management, that are routinely in demand by companies in the life sciences and the chemicals industry.

With its central location in Europe, the Basel region is an ideal location for companies active in international trade

Companies as diverse as Davidoff (specialty tobacco), Dufry (retail), Transgourmet (catering) or BIS (Bank for International Settlements, international finance) underline that goods of all kinds are being traded and provided from Basel. Accordingly, Swiss retail giant Coop (the country’s second largest supermarket chain), and Manor (largest Swiss department store) have chosen to locate their headquarters here. The Basel region is also an important location for an array of international trade fairs and exhibitions. A large portion of the international watch and jewelry industry’s revenue is realized annually at BaselWorld. And ArtBasel simply is the world’s most important art fair. A growing number of international consumer brands have discovered the advantages of Basel as a trade hub and opened European headquarters in the Basel region. Among them are for instance the well-known US lifestyle brand Fossil, bicycle manufacturer Cannondale, or fashion and design label Tally Weijl.

A growing number of global companies is discovering the appeal of the Basel region for opening a global or European headquarters, particularly given the outstanding connectivity and transportation system, and the local competencies in logistics and international trade. Well-established Swiss companies and start-ups alike are taking advantage of this central location within Europe. Last but not least, the vicinity to Germany and France, a thriving exchange with the rest of the world, and the cosmopolitanism of the local population make for a dynamic, continuous and sustainable growth of the entire business region.

Breakfast in Germany, lunch in France and dinner in Switzerland: where three borders meet and brimming with the cosmopolitan flair of global businesses, the Basel region sports an un-paralleled quality of life, at a lower cost than in other metropolitan areas of Switzerland. Award-winning architecture, the historic downtown, and a rich and elaborate cultural life – from hipster to classy – are the pillars of an outstanding urban lifestyle in the Basel region. At the same time, a well-developed public transportation system provides quick and direct access to suburban and rural residential areas along with natural parks and sites for local recreation.

Just ask newcomers and recent arrivals: Not only does the Basel region sport Switzerland’s largest expat community with a comprehensive offer of international schools for their kids. Basel can also claim the largest share of expats that have settled and made their home in the region for longer than 5 years. There’s more than one reason for this:

In Basel’s urban lifestyle and rich cultural life there’s something for everyone

The roots of Basel go all the way back to the times of the Romans and the Celts. The region reached its prime for the first time towards the end of the Middle Ages and at the beginning of Modern Age. Of course, Basel didn’t stop there: Today, a thriving creative sector, a variety of restaurants for the local foodie scene, paired with a rich calendar of cultural events all but guarantee a vibrant metropolitan lifestyle. On a stroll through the picturesque historical downtown, during the local carnival season, at a concert in the neo-baroque symphony hall, or simply while enjoying an outdoor movie on the Münsterplatz town square in summer: there is always something going on in Basel.

In Basel, art lovers have come to the right place

The Kunstmuseum Basel, founded in 1671, is considered the oldest public community art collection and according to a rating of the Times of London one of the top 5 art museums in the world. By no means a less appealing point of attraction is the Fondation Beyeler museum, which was designed by the Italian star architect Renzo Piano. Another Basel art highlight is the world’s largest art fair, the Art Basel. Every year, artists, collectors, galleries and auctioneers, as well as celebrities and VIPs have their calendars marked for Art Basel. Some of them might even catch one of the many internationally acclaimed and award-winning performances of the Theater Basel (with opera, drama, and ballet).

Sports are always happening in the Basel region – and not only at the stadium or on the couch

The best of the best in European football (viz. soccer) competitions are hosted by local favorites FC Basel in their St. Jakob Park home stadium. And the aces of the ATP Tour are serving it up at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament – including the region’s very own native and superstar Roger Federer. Even outside the arena, the folks of Basel are quite keen on sports: No other Swiss city can claim a higher bicycle use, be it commuters riding to work or recreational cyclists on one of the numerous bike paths in the surrounding country side. Runners find unobstructed tracks along the shores of the river Rhine. Cross-country skiers can glide for miles and miles on the gentle runs in the canton of Jura. And after a short drive of less than two hours, alpine skiers and snowboarders will stand on pristine slopes in the Swiss Alps.

Where the borders of Switzerland, Germany and France meet, and an enticing diversity of activities awaits

A wine tasting in Alsace, a gourmet feast in Southern Baden-Württemberg or a cozy picnic on a mountain range in the Jura? In the Basel region there’s hardly a wish that cannot come true in an hour’s drive. And there’s always something new to discover! Ever wanted to jump in a cool river after a hot summer’s day? That’s when the shoreline of the river Rhine turns into a veritable Mediterranean Riviera – in the heart of the city of Basel.

Variety and diversity within short distances, a first-rate public transportation infrastructure like no other, and safety and political stability routinely place Switzerland in the top ranks of the leading quality of living surveys. All of this can easily be found in the Basel region, enriched with a unique mix of arts and culture, lifestyle and an international flair. Not surprisingly, Basel is considered one of Switzerland’s hippest and trendiest places among young Swiss.

Our services
Gabriela Güntherodt

Your contact person

Gabriela Güntherodt

Head of International Markets & Business Affairs, Member of the Management Board

Contact us

Invest in Basel Region

Is your company in expansion mode? Are you looking into establishing a presence in Europe and Switzerland to break into new markets? Then the Basel region is your location of choice. Within close proximity you’ll find everything you need for long-term and sustainable succeed.

A number of multinationals, first and foremost in life sciences, guarantee for a truly international business environment. The Basel region sports a global-minded talent pool, and a highly skilled workforce across the entire value chain and across functions. Located in the center of Europe and directly neighboring France and Germany, the Basel region offers an outstanding business framework while enjoying Switzerland’s world-renowned quality of life.

Would you like to find out how your company can benefit from establishing a presence in our business location? We’ll gladly show you how. Our specialists advise companies like yours during every stage of their expansion projects, comprehensively and expertly:

Evaluation

Taxes? Job market? Competitors? Permits? Industry environment? We compile all the relevant information and data about the Basel region and Switzerland for you, customized to your individual project requirements.

Site selection

Any open questions? We facilitate contacts to the right experts to answer your questions. We’ll connect you to our government authorities, industry and legal experts, and provide professional support during your real estate search.

Site visit

Would you like to get to know the Basel region first-hand? We’ll diligently plan your site visit and put together a customized itinerary, with maximum efficiency and fully matched to your requirements.

Business development

Do you want to accelerate your business growth? We support you in establishing relations to local partners and organizations - accelerating your access to the Basel region’s highly diverse business and innovation ecosystem.                                        

Our services are free of charge to companies that are evaluating the Basel region as a potential business location, and hence will contribute to our dynamic business environment. Being innovative with an open mind for new ideas has a long tradition in the Basel region. We are looking forward to hearing about your business idea and helping you to become successful right from the start.

Gabriela Güntherodt

Your contact person

Gabriela Güntherodt

Head of International Markets & Business Affairs, Member of the Management Board

Contact us
Frank Kumli

Your contact person

Frank Kumli

Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Member of the Management Board


Tel. +41 61 295 50 19

frank.notexisting@nodomain.comkumli@baselarea.notexisting@nodomain.comswiss

Connecting Innovators

Connecting Innovators brings together ideas, companies and entrepreneurs. This happens both informally at the specialist events organized by BaselArea.swiss and also formally through the individual support provided by BaselArea.swiss for projects with the procurement of experts, cooperation partners and funding. And here the experts from BaselArea.swiss have a broad network of more than 8000 innovators they can fall back on.

In terms of subject areas, the focus of Connecting Innovators is on three core fields: „Therapeutic Innovation and BaseLaunch“, „Healthcare Innovation - DayOne“ and „Industial Transformation“. Each of these technology fields is managed by a specialist. In close collaboration with industry, the Technology Field Manager defines the programme of events, acts as contact partner for projects and cultivates partnerships with relevant research groups and other institutions in the Basel region.

Connecting Innovators thus offers the ideal entry point for gaining a foothold in the Basel region and profiting from its diverse innovation ecosystem. Entrepreneurs, innovators and experts get together for regular exchanges of ideas and know-how at more than 80 meetings each year – in a variety of formats:

  • Events: focus on knowledge transfer, offering companies and especially also start-ups the opportunity to present themselves and their projects and promoting regular exchanges of experience and knowledge across companies and disciplines among innovators in the Basel region.
  • Workshops: address a topic in depth by facilitating dialogue within a body of experts that extends across companies and disciplines – with the aim of exploring the spectrum of applications for new technologies and initiating concrete projects and cooperative ventures.
  • Technology & Innovation Circles: are seen as initiatives that run for several years in order to develop an innovation topic further within a community that extends across companies and disciplines and to exploit new market potential.

BaselArea.swiss also offers specific events and services to companies in the founding phase under Supporting Entrepreneurs.

Frank Kumli

Your contact person

Frank Kumli

Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Member of the Management Board


Tel. +41 61 295 50 19

frank.notexisting@nodomain.comkumli@baselarea.notexisting@nodomain.comswiss
Sébastien Meunier

Your contact person

Sébastien Meunier

Director Industrial Transformation and Entrepreneurship

Contact us

Supporting Entrepreneurs

Looking to start a company? That’s great, because our region lives from entrepreneurship. As promoter of innovation and inward investment for the Basel region, BaselArea.swiss provides support especially for entrepreneurs focused on technology and innovation.

At the heart of the service we can offer is our programme of seminars and workshops:

  • Founder Course: The centrepiece of the supporting services on offer is our programme of seminars and workshops: our basic package - the founders’ course - is aimed at all interested parties planning to start a company. You can find an overview of the next courses here: Overview courses

The further range of support on offer is aimed exclusively at start-ups and entrepreneurs with concrete projects from the innovation and technology sector:

  • Seminars & Workshops for Entrepreneurs: These allow a more in-depth examination of various business issues, such as the business plan, funding, product development, pricing and intellectual property, as well as marketing and communications. This series of events is aimed exclusively at start-ups and high-tech SMEs with concrete innovation projects.

In addition to the courses and seminars, BaselArea.swiss also offers individual consultations on concrete projects. The focus here is exclusively on companies and projects with strong growth potential from the field of innovation and technology:

  • Connect & Advisory: In an initial consultation, our expert assesses the need for support and sets up contacts with specialists, research institutions or potential cooperation partners.
  • New Venture Assessment: In a guided process and at individually convened expert meetings, start-ups and innovative SMEs can get their business projects reviewed by established industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors. Further information

With these provide, BaselArea.swiss above all covers the early phase of founding a company. The aim is to valuable information and concrete recommendations between the initial idea and the actual start-up, right through to the first implementation plan and financing round. This not only gives entrepreneurs more security, but also enables them to speed up the implementation of their project quite considerably.

Sébastien Meunier

Your contact person

Sébastien Meunier

Director Industrial Transformation and Entrepreneurship

Contact us

BaselArea.swiss

BaselArea.swiss is the office for promoting innovation and inward investment for the northwest cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft and Jura.

BaselArea.swiss today employs 20 people and has an annual core budget of 5 million francs, which is borne by the three cantons and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Mission
The core function of BaselArea.swiss is to promote the strengths of the Basel region as a centre for business and to support both Swiss and foreign entrepreneurs and companies in the implementation of their innovation and business projects in the region.

The main focus of the services provided by BaselArea.swiss is on the sustained development and maintenance of a network of qualified decision makers, innovators, experts and disseminators. On the basis of this network, BaselArea.swiss provides clients with targeted access to knowledge and specialist know-how.

Services
BaselArea.swiss offers its clients services in three areas:

  • Under Invest in Basel Region, clients receive decision-making aids tailored to their needs to help them establish their business activities in the region and are given expert advice throughout their establishment process.
  • Under Connecting Innovators, companies and researchers receive support in the areas of technology, R&D and innovation within the Technology Fields of Life Sciences, Medtech, ICT, Micro, Nano & Materials and also Production Technologies.
  • Under Supporting Entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who settle in the region or start up a new company here receive general assistance with the operational implementation of their project. In addition, start-ups and expanding SMEs in the above-mentioned Technology Fields are provided with support through targeted networking with experts and investors.

Channels
To support this portfolio of services, BaselArea.swiss operates a comprehensive information platform and thus contributes to the sustainable positioning of the Basel region as a leading centre for innovation and business. Here BaselArea.swiss provides two channels in particular:

  • Innovation Reports: reports on the innovation scene in the Basel region and publishes a monthly newsletter with interviews, background reports and information on starting up a company and establishing a company in the region.
  • Innovation Events: at more than 50 events a year focusing on knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship, BaselArea.swiss provides innovators and company founders with an opportunity to network on current issues.
Sébastien Meunier

Your contact person

Sébastien Meunier

Director Industrial Transformation and Entrepreneurship


Tel. +41 61 295 50 15

sebastien.notexisting@nodomain.commeunier@baselarea.notexisting@nodomain.comswiss

Our Channels: EVENTS | REPORTS

report Industrial Transformation

“Here at Bell, we combine handcraft and automation”

06.05.2019

Over the space of 150 years, a butcher’s in Basel has grown into an international food company, with the Bell Food Group now employing more than 12,000 people in 15 countries. Markus Ettlin, Head of Industry 4.0/Automation at the Bell Food Group, provides an update on the company’s current Industry 4.0 projects, the limits of automation, and innovations in the food sector.

BaselArea.swiss: When will robots start making sausages?

Markus Ettlin: An extremely large amount of handcraft, experience and skill goes into making a sausage. At the moment, it would be virtually impossible to have the work done by a machine – that is not our goal either. For us, it’s a balancing act to find the sweet spot between tradition and innovation. When it comes to sausages, tradition and handcraft are extremely important. Robots will not be making sausages in the foreseeable future.

Is this because there is no demand for it?

I believe that our customers want a handmade product and not fully industrialised sausages. A sausage is a natural product with natural characteristics that must be satisfied. A great deal of experience is also required. Whether it’s sausages or ham, production requires a great deal of experience and all of our senses. We are, however, in the process of automating certain sub-processes. We want to combine handcraft and automation.

Which areas are suitable for automation?

We need to distinguish between the handcraft sector and convenience products. Great importance is attached to handcraft in the production of sausages and ham. In the Convenience sector, where products have to be more uniform, the progress made with automation is at a much more advanced stage. For example, the production of hamburger patties and chicken nuggets is highly automated, as they are shaped by machines. We have successfully introduced automation technologies in the Logistics division as well as for repetitive work and physically demanding jobs.

Where do you see the greatest potential?

The degree of automation used in handling and packing tasks is higher than in other areas, but even here human staff are needed. We see great potential in the data and information that is generated on a daily basis. We want to learn from this data and improve ourselves. Let’s look at the cooking process, for example, where data such as temperature is measured. Here, we have target parameters, we have actual parameters, and at the end we have a result. Although the employees check the temperature, they cannot keep track of all of the parameters, the different values and the complex relationships. By analysing this data, we can safeguard and even improve the quality of the cooking process – and thus also the quality of the product. This data analysis also helps us to increase energy efficiency and make optimal use of system capacities.

On which transformations and in which areas is Bell focussing?

On the one hand, we should be able to trace the journey of the product; on the other hand, we should be able to understand why certain steps have been taken in the manufacturing process and what effects these steps have on the finished product. The main areas of focus here are thus standards and standardisation. We want to use standardised technology, transform automated processes and ensure transparency.

Which sectors are particularly interesting as a source of ideas for standardised technologies?

The meat processing specialist area is a leader in this regard. In my area, I am interested more in which technologies can be used for unconventional purposes. For example, if there are procedures and methodologies used in the pharma industry that could also work in the food industry. The pharma industry is able to handle large volumes of data, which is an extremely exciting prospect for my division. The automotive industry, for its part, has made great progress with automated processes. Car manufacturers frequently have to roll our large production runs. Within an individual production run, however, sometimes the steering wheel has to be installed on the left of the chassis, and sometimes on the right. These are topics we have to deal with as well, since we also have products that come in different forms – sometimes lighter, sometimes heavier, some in small packaging and others in large packaging. We like to draw inspiration from other industries.

What is being implemented?

We are building a huge state-of-the-art cold store with an extremely high level of automation. The aim is for logistics to be as fully automated as possible, for employees to spend as little time as possible in the cold store area, and to provide highly automated support processes. All of the systems and processes will generate data and information that we want to analyse in order to implement improvements, carry out maintenance work and raise efficiency. In all areas, the collection of data is an opportunity for us to improve and safeguard our quality levels.

What challenges does the upcoming transformation pose for Bell?

For us, Industry 4.0 is strongly linked to the production environment. Digitisation is a huge step for our employees. We want everyone to be involved and show them that new technologies are there to support them in their work. I also perceive a challenge in the fact that everything is increasing in complexity, that everything is interlinked. This is not always easy to understand. As a result, we also need to build up knowledge and generally raise awareness of Industry 4.0 issues. We additionally need to develop an understanding of where we're going to start with the implementation and how we're going to establish a meaningful roadmap.

Bell is taking part in our Industry 4.0 Challenge. What have you been able to learn from this so far?

I’ve come to know BaselArea.swiss from various events, where we’ve always made interesting contacts. In terms of the Industry 4.0 Challenge, I can easily see which ideas are represented on the market and how others see the world. In the case of large corporations, it’s often not quite as transparent how they’ve come up with their great solutions. Start-ups can quickly present a proof of concept, so I can imagine what it involves and what it would mean for me. This is, in my opinion, extremely exciting. Our division is also in contact with the companies that attended the last Industry 4.0 Challenge. Although we are more on the lookout for standardised tools, start-ups often bridge the gap between a major standard and the real world.

What kind of innovations can we expect to see in the food sector in the near future?

Meat that can be produced without having to kill any animals – the hamburgers produced by Mosa Meat are cultured from cells. Bell holds a stake in the Dutch company, which is currently working on making its concept ready for market.

report Invest in Basel region

Green light for tax proposal

20.05.2019

event Entrepreneurship

Swiss Diagnostic Startup Day

Date: 23.05.2019

Place: FHNW, Riggenbachstrasse 16, 4600 Olten

report BaselArea.swiss

“The Basel region is very advanced in healthcare innovation”

02.04.2019

A new master’s degree at the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland aims to prepare the next generation of professionals in the life sciences industries: Students in “Medical Informatics” are trained to apply the latest technologies during projects for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Professor Enkelejda Miho from the Institute for Medical and Analytical Technologies at FHNW is confident that the combination of life sciences, informatics and business brings forward a desired new profile of professionals.

BaselArea.swiss: Enkelejda, do you think that the traditionally trained scientist who adds a technological perspective is the new normal?

Enkelejda Miho: Drug discovery is a large area. There are fields that will remain quite traditional while branches like real-world data and digital clinical trials are changing rapidly. Scientists cannot analyze their large-scale data with the same means used in former years. Further, a multitude of tools are ready to use today. The field is in the process of finding out how to combine these tools in order to bring drugs faster to the market. Applying cutting-edge technology to answer scientific questions is an integral part of the job as a scientist. We hear from pharmaceutical companies that the technologically savvy scientist is a desired profile, alas not necessarily the profile that is available on the market. Education has to catch up with what is happening in the real world.

What changed in the understanding of healthcare?

Healthcare developed like every other field: We observed slow process over centuries. Then suddenly, technology brought things forward abruptly. Knowledge in health was always centered on organs, which helped to reduce complexity. You had the cardiologist, the pneumologist, the neurologist who tried to understand one problem at a time. Knowledge was dissected. This is changing massively.

How so?

New technologies are leading towards faster diagnostics and therapeutics. For example, we can train an algorithm to detect a tumor. The machine thus supports the specialized doctor in upscaling the quantity of patients he or she can see and diagnose. The first step is to apply what we know to accelerate diagnostics and therapeutics based on larger experience and faster knowledge processing. The second step is integration of knowledge from different systems. There are many different technologies. Now we have to ask how to apply them adequately. Integration of knowledge is key.

Which role does Artificial Intelligence play in this?

Instead of asking one question at a time, AI allows to integrate not only health data but also other information like the times you went to the doctor, the prescribed therapies and symptoms as well as social and environmental data. AI helps to integrate all that to support us making better choices and better diagnostics so people don’t go for the wrong therapy or suffer treatments that are not specific to them.

Are we prepared for healthcare innovation?

We are on a very good way. The first challenge is standardization. There is no aligned idea of which method to use when and how they compare – there are just so many. Research groups, labs and pharmaceutical companies could do more in the precompetitive space so we don’t make the same mistakes all over again. We could learn a lot from software development where sharing is common. The second challenge is the bias that we introduce to the algorithms. Researchers have to think thoroughly about matching the right question with the right data set – a computer is not able to do that. We need researchers who are aware of the potential pitfalls of applying AI and machine learning to healthcare.

How far are we in Basel?

The Basel region is very advanced compared to other regions. We have major players, we have a startup environment and we have major research institutions and applied institutions like University of Basel, ETH, FHNW and the Friedrich Miescher Institute. All the components are here. I believe there is need for more cross talk between the stakeholders, though, instead of trying to bring the whole machinery forward by oneself. BaselArea.swiss and DayOne help as they bring different perspectives together. There could be more dedicated resources to spark the interaction, though. This would also help to retain the talent we need to bring this field forward.

Which difference does the new Master in Medical Informatics make?

We fill a gap. Talking with the industry, we discovered that everyone is moving into applying the new technologies like machine learning and AI. This requires specialized knowledge. On the one hand, you need to know about chemical molecules and biology because you need to understand the data you are analyzing. On the other hand, you need knowledge in programming and in the mathematical framework of applying machine learning. So, a broad knowledge is required to apply an exact part of data and an exact method of machine learning to a very specific project. You need a background of everything to be a master of one specific question. This is the challenge that other institutions in Switzerland and in the European countries have not tackled yet.

What is your approach?

The FHNW is known for being an applied institution to the latest questions. We are giving the students diverse enough background in life sciences, in informatics and business and then bringing these students to real life projects from pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. If you know the drill, you can apply it for another question as well – that is the ambition. Our students will deal with the diversity of projects, with databases, with citizen-patients, with classification and automation. How can you automatize image analysis in the pharma industry or in the hospital? How can you be of support to regulatory agencies, knowing the latest trends and pitfalls? We are the first with this twist of educational purpose. We are training the new generation of professionals, considering the digital transformation in the application field.

We are not talking about data ethics?

You cannot escape the ethics. It’s the most important question we face in digital health. But sometimes you need to walk the line to understand what is needed in terms of ethics and data privacy. We try to address these questions in the frame of specific projects. Discussion is great for preparing the ground and for creating awareness. We are more about the doing.

What students do you expect?

We wanted to give FHNW trained students the possibility to get into cutting-edge projects. What we experience is that companies are also very interested in the Master program. This program connects the life sciences and the business world based on the informatics ground. Together with Prof. Dr. Knut Hinkelmann, Head of the Master of Science in Business Information Systems at FHNW, we are producing a profile that understands the needs of science but that can actually apply it with regard to cybersecurity, data privacy and business applications. We train the people in the best tradition of the Fachhochschule to get the job done.

There are different initiatives in digital health education from ETH, University, and Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, too. How do you value these efforts?

These efforts are valuable and relevant for our community. I don’t see any overlap in these programs. While the focus at the FMI, ETH and University of Basel is more research driven, here at the FHNW we are going for hands-on application-driven education. We are in collaboration with the University of Basel, especially the Innovation offices, and with FMI and ETH as well. At last, it’s a community effort.

report Invest in Basel region

Salina Raurica is making good headway

16.05.2019

event

Workshop Business Model Canvas - Beginner

Date: 25.05.2019

Place: Startup Academy, Picassoplatz 4, 4052 Basel

report BaselArea.swiss

33 recently arrived companies create hundreds of jobs

28.03.2019

The efforts of BaselArea.swiss proved extremely successful in 2018. 33 companies – seven more than in the previous year – were persuaded to move to the Basel economic region. 16 companies arrived from Europe, nine of which came from Germany. BaselArea.swiss also supported six Swiss companies in the search for a suitable business location in the Basel region. Of the newly arrived companies, 19 operate in the life sciences and chemicals sectors.

The companies most recently relocated to the Basel economic region have already created 139 jobs and plan to add 296 more over the coming years. The huge interest in the Basel region as a business location was also reflected in the over 400 consultation sessions in Switzerland and abroad and the 69 visits to Basel made by investors and company delegations that were organised by BaselArea.swiss in 2018.

As well as promoting the location, BaselArea.swiss also achieved extremely impressive results in its second key activity: fostering innovation. 72 startups received support from BaselArea.swiss in founding their companies and the number of companies established increased by nine compared to the previous year. The startups were mainly companies operating in the life sciences and ICT sectors.

There was also a sharp rise in the demand for consulting and mentoring. Companies used this service provided by BaselArea.swiss 556 times, which represents a more than three-fold increase compared to the previous year. The events organised by BaselArea.swiss also proved extremely popular and provided around 6,000 participants with an opportunity for networking and generating new ideas.

See the press release here. The complete 2018 BaselArea.swiss annual report can be downloaded as a PDF.

report Innovation

Impact Hub Switzerland etabliert grösste Community für Entrepreneure in der Schweiz

16.05.2019

event Entrepreneurship

Workshop Mixed Management Pickles

Date: 29.05.2019

Place: Tenum, Grammetstrasse 14, 4410 Liestal

report Precision Medicine

Healthcare innovations gain traction with the DayOne Accelerator

05.03.2019

Three innovative healthcare startups participate in the first round of the DayOne Accelerator. Faraz Oloumi from Aurteen, Chang Yun from Noul and Christian Vogler and Leo Gschwind from Advancience are examples of how far conviction can get you.

BaselArea.swiss: Faraz, why did you establish Aurteen in the first place?

Faraz: During my studies in electrical and computer engineering, I worked on retinal-image analysis and fell in love with the subject. I completed my Masters, then my PhD and declined a safe job to pursue the topic and founded Aurteen. I am 100 percent convinced of the novelty and necessity of computer-aided assessment of the retina, because the vessels at the back of the eye tell the story of your overall health from retinal disease to metabolical and cardiovascular disorders.

Christian, was there a starting point for you as well?

Christian: I studied psychology and genetics. In order to use genetics as a tool to research the human mind, my co-founders and I started to pursue psychometrics. The typical toolkit for psychometric testing originates in the 1940s to 1970s. We took psychometric tests to the 21st century, added gamification, made it entertaining and scalable and thus are able to process large numbers of study participants. We want to drive psychology forward. We are convinced that you can use our tools for a broad range of different purposes: It is a diagnostic tool for testing attention disorders or memory impairments as well as an HR tool to make teams work better together.

Chang, you joined Noul one year ago. What was the reason?

Chang: One of the co-founders is a biomedical engineer. Right after he had earned his PhD in the United States he spent 1,5 years in Malawi for his voluntary social service. He witnessed many children die from malaria and was surprised to see health workers still rely on tests that were inaccurate and inefficient. He founded Noul in 2015 to develop a portable device that uses image analysis and artificial intelligence to diagnose diseases from blood samples. As his close friend I have been interested in this project from the beginning and joined one year ago being ascertain that my career in the United Nations would be conducive for success of the project. I have a background in business management and public administration. As the Director of Global Business Development at Noul I now set up the European office.

What was the hardest part in establishing the company?

Chang: For us, it was the science. We had trials and errors. While the clinical trials in the laboratory worked well, the results in the field were often unexpected. Sometimes it was hard to get enough samples with high quality. To overcome those hurdles, we cooperate with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel. In addition, to approve a new technology like ours also requires new criteria. That takes a lot of time and sufficient convincing data from our side.

Christian: As a scientist, you don’t become an entrepreneur overnight. I had to learn that the scientific results are not the only thing that counts. Instead, I also need to sell my results and think about specific value propositions. I’m familiar with psychology, genetics and bioinformatics – and now I have to come up with business cases on top of that. In the corporate world, we encounter a new problem every day. You always need a plan B, C and D. It is a tremendous amount of work, but a lot of fun, too.

Faraz: Not being able to financially support yourself is not easy. I haven’t paid myself a dime in the past years. The hardest part for me though was convincing people that my ideas and vision are not crazy. I had to fight a lot of adversity. But I don’t regret it at all. Then there are other challenges like making myself be a CEO rather than just being a CTO, which means that you can no longer be a perfectionist. That is a challenge I enjoy.

What do you hope to achieve during the next couple of months in the DayOne Accelerator?

Faraz: While Canada is well suited to the telemedical approach and my collaborators and potential customers are there, we don’t have a strong business case in Canada in terms of pure numbers. Plus, the nearest market, which is the US, is very fragmented and complicated to enter. To participate in the DayOne Accelerator is the perfect opportunity for us to look at and validate the European market. Further, we want to validate our list of value propositions and find investors.

Chang: Our Swiss partners encouraged us to apply for this program and luckily we were selected to take part. I believe Noul has worked very hard for developing unprecedented diagnostic solutions for last three years. Now the time is right to  look back at what we have achieved so far and use the input we get here to make our business model more concrete. We want to get to know the people that can further help us to reach that goal and explore the opportunities.

Leo: We want to learn how to set up and run the business. And we want to get ready to pitch to potential investors and look for seed money.

The acceleration program started in January. What is your experience so far?

Faraz: It all came as a pleasant surprise. The ecosystem in terms of support for startups is completely different from what I am used to. I am talking to senior figures from the pharma and clinical side and the overall support happens to be on a high level. The DayOne team cares for me and my business to succeed. I am convinced that we can gain more traction here. Based on my experience so far, I am exploring the idea of establishing here in Basel. It really is a blessing for our team.

Chang: I am impressed. The meetings we had so far are extremely beneficial and helpful. Strategically, it pays off to be in Basel and be close to our partner, the Swiss TPH and in traveling distance to our stakeholders in Geneva. So far, the accelerator proves to be very effective.

Leo: The input is enormous. We benefit tremendously in learning how to structure the business. It’s brilliant to learn the trade from experts and get first-hand insights. And the funding relieves the hardest pain.

What was the biggest cultural shock when coming to Basel?

Chang: In my culture, people are not as direct while here people voice their opinions more directly. I enjoy that diversity and wish we had more of that in our team in South Korea. Also, I rarely see traffic jams here.

Faraz: It is shocking how everyone seems to understand English.

report Innovation

University of Basel amongst the most innovative in Europe

14.05.2019

event Medtech

Medical Apps: Classification and Challenges (MDR)

Date: 04.06.2019

Place: Messeturm, Basel

report Life Sciences

“We are a small company with a big portfolio”

05.02.2019

After Martine and Jean-Paul Clozel created Actelion with two other founders and grew Actelion into Europe’s biggest biotech, the company and its late-stage pipeline were acquired by Johnson&Johnson in 2017. With Actelion’s discovery- and early-stage R&D assets, the couple formed Idorsia, with the vision to build one of Europe’s leading biopharmaceutical companies

We talked with Martine Clozel about her passion for research, the medical view in science and what aspiring biotech entrepreneurs need.

Martine, is Idorsia the new Actelion?

In part yes, we still do difficult things. That has not changed at all. Our culture and our goals are the same as they were for Actelion: we want to discover innovative new drugs which may have a big impact on patients’ lives. We are very happy to continue our work of discovering drugs. It’s fantastic that we are able to do that. I see lots of enthusiasm in the company. Actelion had become almost a large biopharma, with presence in many countries. Idorsia is based in Allschwil, concentrating on doing R&D efficiently. We are already thinking about the commercial phase, though, and have recently hired a chief commercial officer and opened a first foreign office in Japan.

Are your portfolio decisions purely guided by the science? Or do you also take commercial factors into consideration?

We all know that the medical need in insomnia, lupus or in hypertension is huge. The choice of a new clinical indication depends on the new molecule, its mechanism of action, and where the molecule can have the biggest impact as a new therapy. We are trying to be very pragmatic and follow where the science takes us. In phase II and beyond, when we start to understand more and see that our hypothesis is confirmed in safety and efficacy, we can start to position the drug in terms of market entry and commercial potential.

How is your approach towards licensing in or licensing out projects?

We don’t license in, as we have a lot of fascinating internal prospects. Currently, we have ten compounds in clinical development. Several research projects are progressing towards development. We have activities towards out licensing deals, though – not because the projects are deprioritized but because we have a much smaller organization than before. We have only one third of the clinical development capacity we had in the past and cannot handle everything. We are a small company with a big portfolio.

You are fully focused on your internal projects then? Or do you also pursue external collaborations?

We look for tailor-made solutions. If we see something that can help us, we also like to work with external partners, being it universities, biotechs or others. In fact, many of our projects start with a paper we read or some exciting new data we come across, which we will then further pursue.

On your website you first focus on patients symptoms when describing a disease and only then go to science. How do you make sure you and the Idorsia employees always stay close to patients?

We are very close to the people who are close to the patients, doctors, nurses etc. We listen carefully and really try to understand the patients. We also invite patients. I am a medical doctor, so naturally we have a medical view on everything we do in research. That is one of the characteristics of Idorsia.

Speaking of employees, how easy is it to recruit the right people here?

It’s not easy, but it’s not easy anywhere. I love Pharma. It’s fantastic to be able to help patients, treating thousands of patients. It’s amazing and yet not everybody knows about it. There is a lack of communication on what pharma is about, be it the improvement of life expectancy, the revolutions in oncology, the improvement in quality of life, all that is progress. We need to talk more about the importance of pharma to attract next generations of talent.

It seems that US biotechs are more successful in staying independent. Why do you think that is?

I don’t know if that is true, just look at the recent acquisition of Celgene, Tesaro, Kite and Loxo by BMS, GSK, Gilead and Eli Lilly, respectively. Just to name a few. Currently, biotechs rarely remain independent, also in the US, simply because big companies seminally rely on their discoveries. With Actelion, we had an ambitious, long-term view. It was never our goal to get acquired. Instead, we wanted to create a structure – not only one molecule or one technique – but an organization that is able to discover many drugs. We were ambitious and we were taking risks – and that is relatively rare. Maybe American biotechs come with a little bit more of this ambition, but Europe has some particularities that I think the industry should build upon. Chemistry in Switzerland and Germany is exceptional, for example. But generally, Europe is full of exciting science and great people.

Why is it rewarding for you to work in a startup compared to a big corporation?

A small organization provides more freedom and – more importantly – proximity between facts and risk taking. Our portfolio is small enough for the management to know all the projects. We can be very efficient in making decisions and that is much more difficult in big corporations.

What is your advice on starting a biotech?

Think about surviving and being profitable at the same time. Have both the short and the long-term view, so do not just focus on the next milestone but think big from the beginning. Be pragmatic about your decisions. And especially also, don’t do it alone but with a team.

Speaking of having a partner: You set up both Actelion and Idorsia together with your husband. How do you navigate between lab and dinner table?

My husband and I know each other since a very long time. We share the passion for research and for helping patients. I always appreciated being able to discuss difficulties and also to share the many good moments with Jean-Paul. Of course, we work a lot and are very committed – as is everybody at Idorsia. We try to draw a line between office and home, especially when our children and grandchildren are there. We want to be available for them. It’s demanding, but we don’t think and talk about work 24/7.

Will you still be hunting the next drug in ten years?

I don’t think so. I don’t want to work forever. At some point I want to take more time for family and friends.

Actelion is not only known for its drugs but also for its signature building. Idorsia is at home in a Herzog & de Meuron building. How important is architecture for you?

It’s very important. These buildings will last for many years and are part of the culture and of the style of Basel. Switzerland and Basel in particular are avant-garde in architecture. We are happy to have been able to participate in that. The architecture represents the innovation we are aspiring to. We want good working conditions for our employees, lots of light and many possibilities to interact – after all, we spend a significant amount of time at the office.

We heard the funny story that Idorsia is the acronym for “I do research in Allschwil”. What is the true story behind the name?

I like it. In reality, we had the opportunity to take one of our already protected product names. It was giving us a solid start to insure the company name.

Interview: Annett Altvater and Stephan Emmerth

report Precision Medicine

Tackling the healthcare innovation chasm

13.05.2019

event Medtech

Medical Device Software: A regulatory insight into safety and security

Date: 04.06.2019

Place: Messeturm Basel

report

"It doesn't always have to stay the same"

08.01.2019

Désirée Mettraux has been the CEO of Creadi since 2016. The Pax spin-off has developed the Simpego online insurance platform. The insurance expert is confident that the industry will profit if it opens itself up to partners. The aim is to make insurance fun.

BaselArea.swiss: Frau Mettraux, what does insurance mean to you?

Désirée Mettraux: For many people, insurance is a boring and complicated topic. I associate insurance with freedom. I want to make insurance fun.

The Pax spin-off was founded in 2016. What has changed since then?

We discarded many of our original ideas. A great deal of progress and development is taking place in the InsurTech market, with a lot of money being invested throughout Europe. We are also seeing which models don’t work in the B2C market. We are critical with ourselves and question our actions regularly. Simpego – our online platform for insurance companies – was developed from a test phase in which we tried out many things.

Creadi is financed by Pax, right?

Exactly. Agile spin-offs are the ideal learning environment for large parent companies. At the same time, they are great for attracting talent. With Simpego, we launched the first native app on the Swiss market in which insurance policies can be taken out “on the go”. Not every insurance company would be able to get an app such as this off the ground so quickly. However, we have been able to work together with a major insurance provider to test how its product works on the platform. Everyone will benefit from the insights gained as part of this test.

How much does the Swiss insurance industry still have to learn in the field of InsurTech?

With 12 percent of insurance policies taken out online, Switzerland is lagging far behind other European countries. This compares with over 30 percent in Germany. Making up this shortfall will not be simple.

Why?

If society is not yet ready to utilise these offerings, it would not make sense for an insurance company to make its products available digitally. Our society still prefers to go down the traditional route with insurance advisors.

Creadi is setting out to turn this model upside down. This might not please everyone.

There have been pioneers who have forced themselves onto the market while not making themselves popular in the process. However, this does the market no harm. When a change is introduced or an innovation is developed, everyone has to respond accordingly. Ultimately, this benefits consumers.

It is obvious that many people trust insurance brokers who can explain the policies in layman terms. How do you develop a sense of trust with an app?

Trust and brand perception are our greatest challenges. Of course, the personal contact that some customers have enjoyed with their insurance agents for decades cannot simply be forgotten. That’s why we offer our customers the possibility of engaging in live chat or of receiving advice by telephone.

Could this be the solution?

In my opinion, we need to shift our focus elsewhere. While most insurance products that don’t deal with the complex area of pensions are standard and no-one is reinventing the wheel when it comes to personal liability insurance, Mobiliar agents only sell their own products, which may not necessarily be what the customer is looking for. We want to solve this problem and offer a different service. Customers should be able to choose with which provider they take out insurance policies online and whether they want to make use of advice. With us, you can take out an insurance policy in a minute, without any paperwork at all.

What feedback have you received from other insurance providers?

There are companies that want nothing to do with InsurTech companies, as they don’t want to weaken their own sales channels. However, there are now an increasing number of insurance providers who are receptive to digitisation issues and want to try out new things. We are, in principle, open to every new partner. I am very much in favour of the whole industry opening up and working together as part of a common ecosystem.

It sounds like a great idea...

... but things are a little different in reality. That’s why we are trying to bring together different providers on our marketplace. It doesn’t always have to stay the same.

What role is digitisation playing in the industry?

Any companies that still carry out manual processes electronically have not yet embraced digitisation. For me, digitisation is an attitude and a matter of placing the customer at the centre of everything we do. Many companies adopt an inside-out approach rather than one looking from the outside in. There’s still a lot to be done in this respect. We all – including insurance providers – need a strategy for a digital world. Who would have thought twelve years ago that we would be buying our shoes and clothes almost exclusively online? Perhaps we will also reach this point with insurance someday.

Do insurance products also need to be modernised and brought in line with the times?

Yes, of course. The younger generation of customers are taking an increasingly hybrid approach to purchases. They buy M-Budget cottage cheese and at the same time FineFood olive oil. We are also seeing this in terms of insurance. While it should be clear to everyone that 25-year-olds have no need for CHF 5,000 of frozen food cover in their household insurance, this item is still a standard component of many household insurance policies. However, if you live in a cheaply furnished shared apartment, for example, you might need an insurance policy to cover a bicycle worth CHF 4,000 or your mobile phone and laptop. Many insurance policies no longer match up with our lifestyles, especially in urban regions.

Another problem is the image.

Insurance companies have the reputation of always wanting to sell you something. Here at Creadi, we want to change this image and create a sense of transparency. If we don’t have the right offering for somebody, we tell them this and point them towards products that suit them better. We also don’t offer long-term contracts; everything is arranged on a short-term basis.

Creadi was presented with the DIAmond Award last year. Congratulations, albeit belatedly!

Thank you. We have programmed the Simpego Snap vehicle registration document scanner. It takes a photo of the vehicle registration document and processes it using image processing before the program subsequently makes an appropriate offer for the type of vehicle. This program is based on a clever algorithm that tells you the types of vehicle coverage available, depending on the model, category and year of registration. This allows customers to take out vehicle insurance in one minute flat. The program is designed for mobile devices, as the vehicle registration document is usually stored in a vehicle’s glove compartment. I think products such as these are great, as they make life simpler.

What do awards such as this one mean to you?

It was important for us that the award validated our product in front of over 1,000 people from the industry. We have proven and confirmed in our industry that we are on the right track. This is a very valuable proposition and facilitates access to other partners. Our development and performance show that we are much more than just an insurance broker.

There are 15 people working at Creadi at the moment. How easy was it to bring new people into the company?

Basel is a difficult place in which to set up a technology startup. Despite this, we made a conscious decision to be based in Basel. Some of our employees moved here especially for us. Basel is certainly an attractive location that has a great deal to offer in terms of culture and infrastructure. The city also has an international flair. Nevertheless, it is of compact size and our employees are able to find affordable housing.

report Life Sciences

Pfizer acquires Basel-based Therachon

09.05.2019

event Entrepreneurship

Workshop vom Kundenkontakt zum Kundenerlebnis

Date: 12.06.2019

Place: Tenum, Grammetstrasse 14, 4410 Liestal

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