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i4Challenge 2023: 11 winning projects push the boundaries of innovation

i4Challenge 2023: 11 winning projects push the boundaries of innovation

With the i4Challenge program running for the sixth time, 6 “Innovative Solutions” and 5 “New Ideas” winners showcase their expertise and innovative prowess. From navigating unexplored waters to phygital (physical + digital) devices, from data control to AI-powered tracking solutions – there’s no end to the amount of creativity we have had the pleasure of witnessing this year.

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Our annual event i4Challenge has once again proven to be a resounding success in 2023. This year, we had the privilege of observing the birth of groundbreaking solutions from talented teams and startups that are committed to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. In the era of industrial transformation, the mission of i4Challenge is to provide a platform in the Basel Area for innovators to showcase their ideas and technologies that have the potential to reshape industries and improve our lives:

  • Technological progress: the Basel Area embraces advanced technologies like AI, IoT and automation to boost productivity and competitiveness.
  • Sustainability: the region focuses on eco-friendly practices, aligning with global trends in environmental responsibility.
  • Pharmaceutical hub: the Basel Area is a global leader in pharmaceuticals and life sciences, driving innovation and healthcare advancements.
  • Innovation ecosystem: a strong research network and Industry 4.0 principles promote innovation.
  • Skilled workforce: the region’s education system provides a steady stream of skilled professionals.
  • Global competitiveness: by staying at the forefront of technology, global markets remain competitive.
  • Economic resilience: diversification across industries strengthens economic resilience.
  • Collaboration: the Basel Area’s collaborative ecosystem accelerates transformation efforts.
  • Quality of life: sustainability efforts improve the overall quality of life for residents.

Meet our i4Challenge winners 2023

Meet our i4Challenge “Innovative Solutions” winners 2023

This year, 11 outstanding projects in the Innovative Solution
s track have been recognized for their exceptional contributions. Among other benefits, they will enjoy the opportunity to develop their projects at the
Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area site Jura in Courroux, Delémont.

Tethys Robotics: navigating uncharted waters

Tethys Robotics, an ETH Zurich startup, has embarked on a mission to revolutionize underwater operations with their compact autonomous underwater drone – the only one worldwide. This remarkable innovation is designed to operate even in the roughest waters, mitigating risks for divers and enhancing the quality of underwater inspections. “I want to fund a sustainable and world-leading robotics startup in the water industry,” Jonas Wuest, CEO of Tethys states. He chose i4Challenge to increase the startup’s visibility and gained many insights from the discussions with the jury to map out his entrepreneurial journey, including networking opportunities.

Robo Wire: wiring excellence 

Robo Wire is on a mission to transform stranded wire processing. From the initial reel to the final assembly of complete wire harnesses, their dedicated team focuses on continuous innovation and Swiss quality, revolutionizing this crucial aspect of manufacturing.
Honest opinions are crucial for Michael Jahn, engineer and Member of the Board at Robo Wire. “The i4Challenge questions helped me see different perspectives,” he said. His aim is to sell 3 machines by the end of June 2024.  

collectID: bridging the physical and digital worlds 

“Another great experience pitching in front of a great jury – it was a great event,” Lucas Geisser, Co-Founder and COO of collectID praises i4Challenge. collectID is creating a direct connection between brands and customers through phygital (physical + digital) products. By simply touching a product with their smartphone, customers can unlock new digital experiences: avatars, videogames or the Metaverse. The company’s unique way of bridging the physical and digital empowers brands to build sophisticated customer profiles and unlock numerous other benefits using NFC and blockchain technology. Feedback and mentoring, among other things, are essential for the success he envisions, Geisser says.  

GradeSens AG: predictive maintenance for critical assets 

“We want to scale in Switzerland and Europe and integrate into an industrial and financial network,” CEO Yvan Jacquat explains his goals. His startup GradeSens offers 4.0 predictive maintenance solutions that optimize maintenance operations for critical assets. Their comprehensive solution includes data acquisition and processing, which allows clients to achieve significant cost reductions, improved reliability and decreased downtime. Jacquat enjoyed the organization and quality of the feedbacks he received at i4Challenge. “A good experience, and we got to network in the region,” he concludes.  

Morphotonix: protecting authenticity 

Morphotonix is dedicated to protecting people’s health and well-being by offering an efficient authentication solution for brands. Their technology ensures that any molded product, from medical packaging to consumables, can be protected against counterfeits without the need for inks, labels or additives. Veronica Savu, owner and CEO of Morphotonix, aims to scale and sell the company in the future. She is enthusiastic about the insights she has taken away from i4Challenge: “Very clear journey, an efficient pitching experience – I’m looking forward to more interaction!”  

Purple Alternative Surface: literally paving the way to sustainability 

Their name is inspired by Prince’s famous song “Purple Rain”: Purple Alternative Surface is making strides in sustainability by transforming recycled plastic into high-quality, durable urban paving. Their environmentally friendly pavement not only reduces plastic pollution, but also lowers CO2 emissions compared to conventional paving materials. “We enjoyed the welcome, the multicultural setting, organization, friendliness and the interest in our pitch,” Marie Kmoch, Director of Commercial Operations and Amandine Lefevre, R&D engineer commented. “We are eager to enter the Swiss market and now have the assurance that the project will generate interest in the market.” 

Meet our i4Challenge “New Ideas” winners 2023

The 5 winning projects listed below will start our 6month accelerator program in January 2024 at the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area Jura site:

Data Coffee GmbH 

With the use of their software, people can record the process control data of their production plants and sensor systems in a uniform manner and make the data available to any application, either individually or collectively. 

EM Path  

Available radio frequency test solutions for wireless systems and antennas typically require large and expensive anechoic chambers with long testing time. EM Path offers a groundbreaking solution for devices such as phones, automated cars, radars, satellite communication and IoT devices. This solution can perform the tests in a single shot, eliminating the need for point-to-point scanning. Their new solution is at least 4x more compact, 50x faster and will enable production line testing. 


It is the first all-in-one marketplace for purchases and
sales of cables and electrical equipment.


Makeina is building a revolutionary AI-powered tracking solution which not only enables manufacturers to extend the traceability of parts & products throughout the entire production chain, but also provides a reliable and scalable alternative to traditional methods. 


PeaKFlow develops self-sustaining sensing technology for the real-estate sector. Unlike traditional solutions, peaKFlow neither requires extensive planning and installation efforts, nor do batteries ever need to be changed. Thanks to state-of-the-art data processing, peaKFlow enables more effective use of resources throughout a building’s lifecycle, significantly reducing operating costs and improving comfort. 

Insights from the winners

Here’s what these innovative companies said they learned and enjoyed the most:

  • Open-minded discussions: the winners appreciated the opportunity for open and fair discussions with the jury members, allowing for valuable feedback and insights.
  • Critical questions and honest feedback: the i4Challenge encouraged them to see their projects from different perspectives.
  • Networking: the event provided a platform for networking and collaboration, fostering connections among innovators and industry experts.
  • Efficient pitching: they found the pitching experience efficient and well-organized, enabling them to showcase their ideas effectively.

Innovation: a shared vision

These 11 projects represent the best of what the i4Challenge stands for—innovation, industrial transformation and the fearless pursuit of a better future.

As we look ahead to that future, one thing is certain—the i4Challenge will continue to be a beacon of innovation, guiding us toward a world where industrial transformation knows no bounds. With every passing year, we move closer to realizing a future where technology, sustainability and human ingenuity combine to create a better world for everyone.

These visionary teams and startups are not just inventors; they are architects of progress, shaping a world where possibilities are limitless and transformation is constant.

In the coming years, i4Challenge will continue to be a catalyst for change and a platform for visionaries to showcase their ideas. The future awaits and with it, the promise of a better tomorrow thanks to pioneers like our 11 winning projects. We congratulate them and wish them all the very best!

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Sébastien Meunier Director Industrial Transformation.

Sébastien Meunier joined Basel Area Business & Innovation in 2016. Prior to this, he was Cleantech Manager at i-net innovation networks switzerland.

Are you interested in innovation and networking? In our Trinational Industry 4.0 Technology Circles we bring together researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders for cross-disciplinary exchange.

Sébastien MeunierDirector Industrial Transformation