Ideas that change habits

Vontobel Stories 6/7/2018
Reading time: 1 minute(s)

Disruptive has become a buzzword. But not every start-up must be based on a destructive idea in order to be economically successful.

The starting point for the following business idea is a phenomenon that mainly men suffer from. They know that after doing the laundry, it’s a big challenge among the mountain of black socks to find two that approximately match in their blackness. So Blacksocks offers socks (and other items as well) on a subscription basis. The subscription ensures that at regular intervals you have access to new socks that are the same, and the same black. Founded here as a start-up in 1999, the company quickly became known beyond Switzerland. It has since become a prime example of the economically viable implementation of an online shop, and it sells subscriptions today in 104 countries.

Openness is crucial

This simple idea demonstrates that innovation doesn’t always have to be complex. Nevertheless, it easily satisfies several needs, and with the help of digitization, the business model could be scaled up to commercialize the business for a mass market. That said, socks by subscription are not disruptive. They did not displace any long-existing product or service from the market.

"For start-ups, what’s more important than disruption is that they approach their ideas without mental barriers," says Markus Rosner, Senior Investment Advisor at Vontobel. "Start-ups offer the right environment for this because they take up the challenge of doing established things differently," he says.

Vontobel supports start-ups

As part of its "Meet the Future" events, Vontobel gives start-ups a chance to present themselves to potential investors.
 

The Vontobel start-ups


1 of 8 Watch aficionados find what they want fast

"You could say that what we do is to democratize the purchase of a watch. At WatchAdvisor.com you can find stories about watches, 15,000 branded watches, and direct access to offers by authorized retailers. Watch enthusiasts from all over the world rate watches and authorized retailers. For us, what’s important is that it’s safe, simple, and comprehensive." Valerij Stepanov, WatchAdvisor AG

2 of 8 About WatchAdvisor

"THE PERFECT MATCH FOR WATCH LOVERS" – WatchAdvisor offers luxury watch lovers a new, customer centric and convenient way to explore and discover the best fit brands, watches and authorized retailers. Interested buyers can quickly access the world of luxury watches by connecting with other watch aficionados, brands, and local retailers globally. WatchAdvisor is a Swiss company.

3 of 8 No load is too big

"There are some applications where cables absolutely must not break, for example, in medical technology or robotics, where stressful mechanical loads are the order of the day. Our technology is based on new materials that are electrically conductive and elastic at the same time – this allows for cables with an extremely long service life." Dr. Vincent Martinez, nanoleq GmbH

4 of 8 About nanoleq

Nanoleq is a Swiss tech start-up developing a radically new cable technology. By using innovative conductive materials, we can produce cables that have an extremely long lifetime while retaining excellent electrical properties and high mechanical flexibility.

5 of 8 Defensive response is reduced

"An implant is a foreign body. The human body may respond to it with a defensive reaction by producing a fibrotic tissue to isolate the implant. That means its functionality will be reduced. If that happens, surgery will be necessary to correct the situation. Our biocompatible cellulose sleeve reduces this risk."  Simone Bottan, HYLOMORPH AG

6 of 8 About HYLOMORPH

HYLOMORPH AG is an innovative spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) specialized in biomaterials and their interfacing with human tissues.

7 of 8 More fun together

"Our goal is to support our community with exceptional outdoor experiences. For this, we bring people together and use innovative technology for their safety. This includes Earth observation using satellites and big data." Ion Padilla, WeGaw

8 of 8 About WeGaw

WeGaw strives to make the outdoors safer, more accessible and social by empowering people through technology.

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