Three Valais-based companies, Zizania Biobotanica, Qaptis, and Veintree, are vying for the Venture prize, Switzerland’s most prestigious start-up competition, and the CHF 150,000 cash prize promised to the winner. Selected by a panel of experts from among 336 applications, these start-ups will attempt to follow in the footsteps of Depoly, the 2019 winner.

Zizania Biobotanica, based in Les Evouettes, develops and markets innovative organic cosmetics derived from the circular economy and the “farm-to-face” movement. The brand was born from the desire to enhance the value of the by-products of the region’s gardens.

Veintree, based at the Swiss Digital Center in Sierre, is working on an identification system using the veins of the hand. This innovative system could find applications in many areas, including security and authentication.

Qaptis, based at the Energypolis Campus in Sion, is developing a CO2 capture device aimed at decarbonizing freight transport and supply chains. This device, which could be one of the first mobile devices of its kind, is capable of capturing up to 90% of vehicle CO2 emissions and has already received CHF 1.3 million in funding during its pre-seed round.

The 60 finalists will receive pitch training and mentorship from leading experts in their respective fields. The competition will culminate in the selection of three winners per industry sector, who will receive funding and ongoing support to help them grow their businesses. The award ceremony will take place on 26 June 2023.

Founded by Dr. Thomas Knecht in 1997, Venture is the leading competition for budding entrepreneurs in Switzerland and offers nearly CHF 500,000 in prizes. It is a joint initiative of ETH Zurich, McKinsey & Company, Knecht Holding, Innosuisse, and EPFL. Valais start-up Depoly, based at the Energypolis Campus, won this award in 2019 for its revolutionary method of chemically recycling PET.