22.08.2022 10:30, 1. Support team

This fall, Venture Leaders Biotech will represent Swiss innovation in the United States. To select the 10 startups presented, a jury of professional investors and medtech experts reviewed 90 applications. These startups are improving diagnostics, treatments and well-being with innovative solutions that span artificial intelligence, sensors, smart devices and robotics. Allow us to introduce you to each of the 2022 Biotech Venture Leaders ahead of the September 2022 roadshow in Boston and Cambridge: Meet Frank Bonnet, CEO and co-founder of Bionomous.

Last name: Frank Bonnet

Location: Préverenges, Vaud

Nationality: Swiss

Graduated from: Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, Ph.D., 2017

Job title: CEO and co-founder of Bionomous

Number of employees: ten

The money raised: CHF 2 million

First point of contact with Venturelab: Business creation training, 2018

Explain in one or two short sentences what your startup does and why.
We develop and market laboratory instruments to automate the screening and sorting of miniature entities to accelerate research.

How and where did you get the idea for your startup?
During my PhD, I was developing robotic tools to study zebrafish behavior. While performing the experiments with our research partners, I noticed the pain some technicians had in handling zebrafish embryos to rear zebrafish, and we decided with a colleague to develop technology for this.

What do you expect from the Venture Leaders roadshow and how will it help you achieve your vision?
Get to know Boston’s startup ecosystem from the inside and grow our network in the United States. Our company is already active in the US, with existing paying customers and an office at MassRobotics in Boston, but we are looking to further develop our marketing and sales strategy in the US and hopefully partner with investors Americans to participate in our Series A round.

Who does your product or solution help, and how?
It helps research institutions, CROs and pharmaceutical companies that work daily with a large number of entities for research purposes, especially in the field of biotechnology. Our product allows us to save valuable human time, increase the speed of experimentation and standardize certain processes, while reducing costs. Our product also has many applications in large industries, such as aquaculture and agriculture, to assess the quality of fish eggs and crops.

What are you most excited about at work right now?
Our product is now in the commercialization stage and we are facing strong demand from customers, from the market we have already identified but also from other vertical markets. It’s very exciting of course, because it demonstrates that our technology has a lot of potential and can contribute to better research, but also scary because our team has to follow this trend and provide the right products to our customers.

How did you put together your team?
I find the complementarities that the team lacks at the moment. These can come from technical/professional skills, behavior (introverted vs extroverted) and gender (to try to somehow achieve gender balance, even though in tech companies, this is difficult…) in order to have the right balance within the team.

What market are you targeting and what is the potential of your startup?
Research institutes, life sciences, biotechnology, CROs and pharmaceutical companies are the main markets we currently address. However, we are also seeing some traction in some larger industries, such as aquaculture for example, where biological entities such as fish eggs need to be inspected and sorted for quality assessment, so we are currently targeting a market global total of 5 BCHF.

What are your main achievements to date?
CHF 400,000 in cumulative revenue since the start of the company, thanks to our early adopters who trusted us and a team that managed to deliver the right products for customers.

Customers already on two continents (Europe and US), thanks to an effective online marketing strategy

Raised ~2 MCHF in non-dilutive funds and equity while being a Swiss company producing equipment.

What is the thing that few people know about you?
I like gardening. I have a 10 m2 garden at home that I optimize to be as productive as possible, producing around ~30 kg of vegetables per year and consuming only organic waste.

What is your favorite book and why?

The mysterious island by Jules Verne. I’m a big fan of Jules Vernes’s books, his style of using literature to teach science, and the attitude and exemplary character of the heroes, and L’ile mystique is my favourite. It’s also always fun to read these books and compare the science of old and modern times, see where we’ve made great strides, and see where we sometimes seem to have forgotten where from. we come.

How did you come up with the name of your startup?
In the shower, trying to find a nice combination between what we do: (autonomous systems) and our main application of the moment (Biology) -> Bionomous

Which startup would you like to found and why?
ToGoodToGo. I think the biggest concern facing our world right now is environmental change and loss of biodiversity, and a big part of the problem is the waste of energy and products in general, which we spend a lot of energy on for next to nothing in return. I have big problems with startups that promise to save these problems with technology that often end up greenwashing and don’t really reduce the problems unfortunately, but TooGoodToGo is a great example that has been successful in creating value d ‘a major problem in the world, the waste of fresh products, which ultimately benefits everyone (customers, product suppliers, the planet, etc.), and which has resulted in a profitable activity.

What is the hardest part of being a founder?
You need to spend your day selling, to customers, to investors, to your staff, and to any stakeholder in general, always focusing on different selling points. When you succeed in your “sale” it’s a fantastic feeling, but when you fail it can be quite frustrating, also because you never know if you failed because of the things you sell or just because of the how you tried to sell them. (or sometimes both…)

The Venture Leaders Biotech program is co-organized by Venturelab and Swissnex Boston and supported by Debiopharm, EPFL Lausanne, ETH Zurich, EY – Ernst & Young, Swiss Biotech Association, VISCHER, Hansjörg Wyss and Venture Leaders graduate Ulf Grawunder.

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Bionomous aims to bring to market new solutions that combine innovative micro-engineering design and machine learning methods to automatically count, sort, sort and dispense biologi… Read more

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