Zippsafe is a technology company that emerged from ETH Zurich in 2016. Since winning awards such as Best Business Idea by The Entrepreneurial Wave 2016, the Venture Kick Award 2017, and being a finalist at the SEF Awards 2020, the company has been able to win contracts in Europe and the USA. Jobs are now already being created in various countries and two thirds of the turnover is generated in Germany.
Mr. Loderer, what inspiration and idea form the basis for your company?
Zippsafe is a smart locker room system for staff changing rooms in healthcare and industry sectors, combining maximum space efficiency with the best possible user-friendliness. But the idea came from somewhere else. During my university days as a mechanical engineering student, I also organized music festivals on the side. That's when I noticed that organizing a serviced cloakroom does present some challenges. It requires staff, organization and above all a lot of space. And so the idea emerged - inspired by the self-check-in machines at airports - to invent a system that does not require staff and saves a lot of space. The idea of the “Smart Soft Locker” was born. A system with hanging, flexible locker bags for stowing clothes and personal effects, combined with intelligent locking technology and software management. It quickly became clear that such a locker room system has potential in various industries, wherever clothes need to be stored independently and where minimal space is available.
The market reaction after the product was launched was overwhelming. Fascinatingly, however, the main response did not come from the event area, but from the healthcare and industry sectors. There are often enormous staff locker rooms here, and the demand increases every year due to trends such as urbanization or the increase in part-time jobs, and the lack of space is not getting any better. The “Smart Soft Locker Solution” called “Zippsafe” that was invented was made for this. Zippsafe has freed up hundreds of square meters of valuable space for patient rooms, medical technology or offices, while at the same time digitizing administrative processes.
What are your most important export markets and why?
As a fast-growing startup, export markets are developing dynamically. After building up the home market in Switzerland, the northern neighbor was targeted. And two thirds of the turnover is already being achieved in Germany. Other regions, including Austria, France, Belgium and the USA are currently being tested for its product-market fit. The first plants have already been put into operation. The response here also seems to be right. As soon as the first large-scale projects are implemented, which means the proof of market compatibility is provided, sales structures will also be created in these markets. Basically, the strategic assessment of export markets takes into account factors such as population density, degree of innovation, language, geographical proximity, culture, accessibility and, of course, economic strength.
What (positive or negative) surprises have you already encountered in export?
Switzerland's good reputation abroad has always impressed me. We cannot take the image of quality, reliability, cleanliness, punctuality and seriousness for granted; we ultimately owe this to the work done by our predecessors. What surprised me rather negatively was how irrelevant European references are in the USA. If you want to enter the American market in our industry, you pretty much have to start from scratch.
What are you particularly proud of?
It makes me proud that an idea could be turned into an established company in a relatively short period of time, with the support of an excellent startup ecosystem in this country and strong university talent pools. We have already started creating jobs in various countries. What's more, we shouldn't forget that our technology is already being used internationally to better meet the challenges of the modern world.
What do you particularly appreciate about S-GE consultation?
We have always perceived S-GE as a pragmatic "hands-on" partner with a clear mission to support companies with international ambitions in their expansion activities. The cooperation was extremely uncomplicated and always worked well.