Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne fills an important gap when it comes to innovation funding. It helps start-ups and SMEs to find the right research partners and research funding more quickly.
Interview with Marcel Frikart, Cofounder and CEO of Bodygee AG
Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne, together with a number of partners, runs an innovation laboratory with a focus on medical and health technology. This lab gives start-ups and SMEs easier access to researchers and their expertise. The innovation park helps these organizations identify the right research partners, acquire research funding and implement their projects. Bodygee AG is one start-up that already uses these services.
What is Bodygee AG’s product and where is it used?
Our product is an app that is used to track changes in the body in 3-D. It inspires users to lose weight or gain muscle. The app can help them to monitor the way their body changes. Initially, it will be used in the area of lifestyle and fitness, but in the long term, we plan to develop it as a medical application. It can be used in any context where the body changes and where these changes need to be monitored.
You founded Bodygee AG with two colleagues. How did you get started?
We started out with a totally different business idea. We wanted to use ultrasound technology to reduce fat on the cellular level. We quickly realized that it would be difficult to demonstrate results to the end user. That’s when we started looking for a new way to measure and visualize this process. Using 3-D technology, we can generate better proof than just with pictures. The app was initially developed as an additional feature for the ultrasound device. Afterward, we had the courage to completely revise our strategy and redirect all of our focus to the app.
What does your work with Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne mean to you?
We really benefited from their help with writing our Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) proposal and identifying the right research partner. It quickly and easily brought us together with the Virtual Reality Lab at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. We didn’t even know that something like that existed.
In the first stage, you will be targeting the lifestyle and fitness market. What direction do you want Bodygee AG to move in over the long term?
We see potential in the area of innovative measurement systems and processes. In this field, precision is really what counts.
A completely different question: start-ups often make mistakes. What was your experience like?
(Laughs) Yes. Of course. We also made more than a few ourselves. In our first year, we invested a lot of time and money in a product that we later realized was not profitable. In the meantime, we’ve started following the Lean Startup philosophy. This philosophy involves launching your product immediately, gathering feedback and reworking your business model.
That sounds exciting. Where can I find out more about Bodygee AG?
You can keep up with the latest at www.bodygee.com. You can also find out more at the Switzerland Innovation Park in Biel, where we’ve built a test lab for our project. This is where we test 3-D scanners on a doll (her name is EVA). The focus of these tests is perfecting the precision of our measurement results.