Blog Overview

Vibwife – New Medtech Start-up at Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne


Interview with: Anna Peters, midwife and cofounder of the Vibwife start-up, and Tobias von Siebenthal, cofounder of Vibwife, IT professional and former professional poker player.

How did the idea of Vibwife come about?
Anna Peters: During my midwifery studies, I learned how to support a woman as she is giving birth. Moving the woman during labor plays a central role here. These movements are carried out by the midwife if the woman is no longer able to do so herself. In practice, it is usually the case that the midwife does not have enough time to keep putting the woman into the correct position. In 2011, I first had the idea that these movements could be carried out not by a midwife, but by an automated system – so the woman would no longer have to rely on the time and strength reserves of her midwife.

How did this idea lead to the founding of a company?
Anna Peters: I had never planned to found a company. Actually, I went into it all rather naively. I just thought I would put the idea out there – tell the right person, and then a company would be the result. When my business partner Tobias von Siebenthal got on board, that’s almost exactly how it played out. Tobias is an entrepreneur; he had already cofounded companies, he studied IT and he loves to play poker. Together, we decided to take the plunge with the start-up.

In May 2016, you moved to the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne. Why?
Anna Peters: In order to make real progress with our project, we needed time and space. So, we reduced our other commitments. Tobias now devotes 100% of his time to Vibwife, while I myself have reduced my hours as a midwife. The coworking space at the innovation park gave us the room we needed for our project. There, we come into contact with other company founders, and we have access to a huge network.

What exactly is your product, who are the customers and how is it applied?
Tobias von Siebenthal: It is a mattress topper for maternity beds. The system moves the woman’s pelvis during childbirth. The aim is to reduce the duration of labor through optimal movements, thereby avoiding unplanned cesareans.

Are there or have there been any technical stumbling blocks?
Anna Peters: In the medtech sector, regulations are extremely difficult to deal with. This is solvable if you know exactly the right persons to contact in order to answer your questions. The team at the innovation park were able to link us to the people we needed.

How did the community react when a midwife and an IT professional and erstwhile poker player founded a start-up together?
Anna Peters: We are developing an emotional product. Births affect everyone, whether directly or indirectly. Reactions have been unanimously positive. We are amazed at how much support we have had – sometimes even spontaneously.

You moved to the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne. What kind of support do you receive there?
Tobias von Siebenthal: One of the three focus areas of research at the innovation park is medtech. The team in Biel has knowledge of the industry, but also experience with founding start-up companies. They were able to help us reduce red tape to a minimum – especially with our Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) proposal. When we were building our prototype, we didn’t have to rely on our own expertise; we were able to count on their support. Approximately one year after founding our start-up, with the help of the team in Biel, we now have our first functional prototype. In terms of timing, we are right on schedule. Thanks to the innovation park, we were also put into contact with the Bern Economic Development Agency. They too have provided us with help.


About Vibwife
Vibwife is developing an innovative system for midwifery. Continuous active mobilization and positioning of the woman giving birth is essential for the natural progression of labor. However, mobilization traditionally entails high physical exertion for the midwife. Furthermore, midwives today often have to look after several women at the same time. Vibwife is developing a system that is a working tool for midwives, bringing continuous active mobilization back into the delivery room.