Biowatch awarded first prize at the Swiss Fintech Convention 2017

Biowatch won the 1st prize at the 2017 Swiss Fintech Convention held in Geneva on February 2nd, pitching its disruptive vein based biometric solution.

The Swiss startup outlined several ongoing projects in the banking industry and the upcoming functional pre-products for Spring 2017. The co-founder and CEO of Biowach SA, Matthias Vanoni, shared his vision on stage: “Like your phone today, your watch will soon become your new ID, enabling you to pay, access your e-banking account, open your car, unlock your computer, access websites and buildings. Instead of using your fingerprint to validate a transaction you will use your wrist, a seamless and safer solution for authentication. Biowatch SA is working on a complete device, designed to fit your watch strap, able to recognize your identity by looking at your unique wrist vein pattern and smart enough to host and provide all of your credentials to paired devices and services.”

The event which gathered more than 200 attendees from the financial sector, was a great occasion for Biowatch SA to live demo its biometric solution based on the uniqueness of the wrist vein pattern. The algorithm which is being developed in partnership with the IDIAP Research Institute in Martigny since 2015 has now reached an accuracy higher than 99,99%, the industry gold standard when it comes to high security use-cases like e-banking, secure access or payments.

The miniaturisation of the electronics developed in partnership with the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microelectronics (CSEM) in Neuchâtel has been undertaken in a parallel project. The current level of miniaturisation allows a seamless integration of the Biowatch module into a watch clasp, watch strap or watch case. In February 2016, Biowatch SA was granted CHF 806k by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI/KTI) in order to fund its external R&D in partnership with Idiap and CSEM. The project that ends in June 2017 has already created 7 jobs (incl. 4 engineers from EPFL and 1 MBA from IMD) drawn from Geneva, Lausanne and Martigny.

CEO Matthias Vanoni disclosed during the event several ongoing proof-of-concepts in collaboration with banks like Crédit Agricole and BRED Banque Populaire in France and BNP and Raiffeisen in Switzerland. Beyond banking and payments, the Swiss startup is getting traction in the wearable industry, not only in Switzerland but also in Asia and Silicon Valley where Biowatch accepted three invitations to discuss possibilities with a world leading player. World class clients in corporate access control, security, transport and automotive industries like Assa Abloy, SICPA, RATP, PSA, just to name a few, complete the overall traction.

The serial entrepreneur and Seed round lead investor, Patrick Delarive, now hosting most of the Biowatch team, is witnessing the constant progress of the venture: “It is always a great pleasure and honor to introduce Biowatch to potential investors, partners and clients, given the green light to move ahead . This is definitely a good time to accelerate and seize more opportunities. In that perspective, we are opening a new round of financing.”

Biowatch closed an oversubscribed CHF 1,2M Seed round in December 2016 to finalise product development and deliver its early customers. The Swiss VC firm Polytech Ecosystem Ventures joined the round providing a representation in Silicon Valley, while the startup plans to open an office in the US by the end of 2017. The newly open round of financing is to answer to an underestimated traction and to prepare for scaling.

About Biowatch 

Biowatch is a Swiss start-up active in the fields of biometric authentication and wearables. It has developed the first miniaturized wrist vein scanner as a new means of biometric recognition. Integrated into a module that can be added to any watch or wearable, Biowatch SA becomes a secure source of authentication using the unique pattern of the user’s wrist veins.

The Biowatch module replaces badges, keys, cards, passwords and PIN numbers, leveraging always-on identification of the legitimate user whilst the device is worn on the user’s wrist. Biowatch enables users to unlock a car, access an office, login to the internet, purchase goods and services and sign contracts and digital documents, by simply wearing the watch. Industries from the automotive, banking and IT industry to corporates and governments will benefit from Biowatch authentication solutions.

Since 2014, Biowatch SA was awarded many prizes in Switzerland and Europe and participated in three major acceleration programs in Switzerland and the USA:

● MassChallenge Accelerator 2015, Boston. Biowatch participated in the 3-months acceleration program

(128 start-ups out of 2300 candidates)

● Fusion, Geneva. Biowatch was selected to participate in the 12-month fintech accelerator that ended in

October 2016

● UBS “future of Finance” Startup Challenge 2015, Zurich. Biowatch SA was awarded the public vote

● Kickstart Zurich 2016, Zurich. Biowatch participated in the 11-week acceleration program in Zurich and

was awarded the 3# prize in the stream Future and Emerging Technologies

● The Swiss Fintech Convention 2017, Geneva. Biowatch SA was awarded the first prize

The company has offices in Martigny, Lausanne and Neuchâtel and was founded in 2015 by Matthias Vanoni, a former EPFL/IDIAP PhD student, and Joe Rice, a former engineer at Kodak. It employs top engineers and plans to hire new talents to tackle the coming challenges in product development and satisfy the growing demand from clients.

With its wearable module, Biowatch SA aims to revolutionize the way human beings authenticate within a connected world. For more information, visit . Promotional video of Biowatch SA here .

About The Swiss Fintech Association

The Swiss Fintech Association is an association aims :

(A) to provide a forum or platform for any physical or legal person interested in Fintech

(B) to promote the development of these new technologies, in particular in Geneva and around the area

(C) to sensitize political, economic and media decision-makers on Fintech issues

Media Contact information
marc-etienne (at)
+41 76 240 90 29


Biowatch has successfully closed first financing round at CHF 1.2 million

Following a CHF 800k grant from the CTI (Swiss commission for Technology and Innovation) last February and a CHF 100k loan from the FIT last June, the seed round was led by a serial entrepreneur and business angel Patrick Delarive with participation from the Venture Capital fund Polytech Ecosystem Ventures and SICPA Finance. Further investments from various business angels completed the investment.

The funds will be used to secure talents and especially to rapidly expand the engineering team and to bring the product to its first wearable version. Indeed, Biowatch aims to deliver a first series of pre-production products this year to its clients to prove the viability of the product and business model. Mr. Matthias Vanoni, co-founder of Biowatch SA, said: “Our partners are looking forward to having functional and wearable prototypes so they can test it in a real-life situation. This is a big step for Biowatch’s team as it will give our project more visibility and credibility”. Biowatch is currently working with major actors in the access control domain, automotive industry, banking industry and in the watch industry to integrate its technology.

Biowatch announced during the investor summit organised by the Swiss Economic Forum on January 16th, the opening of the next round of financing, Series A, now available for investors.


In 2016, Biowatch has won many prizes in Switzerland and Europe, and participated in two major acceleration programs in Switzerland:

  • Kickstart Accelerator, Zurich. Biowatch participated in the 11-week acceleration program in Zurich and was awarded the 3# prize in the stream Future and Emerging Technologies
  • Fusion, Geneva. Biowatch was selected to participate in the 12-month fintech incubator that ended in October 2016
  • Swiss Startup Day, Bern. Biowatch finished #7 out of 60 pre-selected startups
  • Swisscom startUp Challenge, Zurich. Biowatch was awarded the public vote
  •, Berlin. Biowatch won the “coolest technology” award
  • Swiss startup summit, Fribourg. Biowatch won the first prize in the Fintech category
  • Code-n Festival, Karlsruhe. Biowatch finished in the top 10 out of 62 pre-selected startups
  •  Dalle Molle Foundation, Martigny. Biowatch was awarded the first prize from the Dalle Molle Foundation

About the key investors

Polytech Ecosystem Ventures is a Venture Capital fund located in Switzerland with a strong presence at EPFL, Lausanne, and in Silicon Valley, California. The fund raised $40 Million and invested in 22 startups in 2016. It is the most active fund in Switzerland.

Founded in 1927 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, SICPA is a trusted global provider of security inks as well as secured identification, traceability and authentication solutions. With high-technology security inks at the core of its expertise, the company protects the majority of the world’s banknotes, security and value documents, as well as a wide range of consumer and industrial products. It offers solutions and services to governments and industry, ensuring product authentication, traceability and protection as well as tax reconciliation.  It has a global presence and has 3’000 employees.

Media contact
Marc-Etienne Jan
VP Sales & Marketing