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Greater Zurich startup revolutionizes market research with AI

The first Swiss AI Report shows that many companies in Switzerland are prioritizing artificial intelligence (AI) and creating innovative projects in this area. One example of this is the tool that the successful startup Caplena from the Greater Zurich Area has developed to analyze customer testimonials.

Pascal de Buren and Maurice Gonzenbach plan to enter the North American market soon with Caplena, the startup they founded in 2017.
Pascal de Buren and Maurice Gonzenbach plan to enter the North American market soon with Caplena, the startup they founded in 2017. Image credit: Caplena

Swiss companies view artificial intelligence (AI) as a future technology that represents a fountain of innovation. This is one of the insights gleaned from the first Swiss AI Report, which was published recently. The Mindfire Foundation and the W.I.R.E. think tank analyzed the AI activities of more than 90 Swiss companies for this report, which includes three example projects, two of which come from the Greater Zurich Area. One of these projects is from the Zurich-based start-up Caplena, which has revolutionized customer feedback analysis for retailers such as Coop and Tegut. Caplena has developed text analysis software that requires up to ten times less financial and time expenditure. According to the results, the AI-based software is in no way inferior to time-consuming manual evaluations.

Major names in the client portfolio

Coop, one of Switzerland's largest retail and wholesale companies, is able to quickly and easily process huge quantities of customer feedback using Caplena’s software. This is an important element for the company, which must stay in touch with its customers’ needs in its business. Besides Coop, more than one hundred clients in 15 countries are already using Caplena’s tool, which is tailored specifically to each company's needs. This includes companies from the pharmaceutical, e-commerce, and technology industries, for example. Caplena is already providing its solution to major players including DHL, Swisscom, and eBay. The company’s beginnings in the Greater Zurich Area laid the foundations for this.

Pascal de Buren and Maurice Gonzenbach developed their business idea at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and founded Caplena as a spin-off in 2017. It still has close ties to ETH, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), and other strategic partners from the Greater Zurich Area. Pascal de Buren states: “We are currently supervising an ETH student’s master thesis that fits perfectly with our technology. Additionally, we are in regular contact with the universities to stay close to talent in the field of artificial intelligence.”

New capital for expansion strategy

It is exceedingly important to Caplena that there are highly skilled specialists available in the Greater Zurich Area. After all, the startup has big plans: in Spring 2022, it attracted new investors in a second financing round, which raised a seven-digit figure. De Buren states: “We plan to use this capital to tap into the North American market. We have just recently hired a new employee for this.” Caplena’s sales are expected to at least double during the current business year. “Growth, growth, growth” is Caplena’s motto. Or as Co-Founder Buren explains: “We want to become the hub of client feedback analysis.”

By Adriana Marti-Gubler

This success story was first published by Greater Zurich Area Ltd (GZA).

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