swissnex Boston, WeRobotics, and MIT Solve curated an expert's meeting on the latest developments around the Code of Conduct and specific guidelines, particularly those on conflict sensitivity and the draft guidelines around the use of humanitarian cargo drones. The development of protocols and guidelines to inform the safe, responsible and effective use of drones in disaster zones, started in earnest in 2014 through the work of the Humanitarian UAV Network.
Humanitarian UAV Code of Conduct
Experts Meeting / swissnex Boston, WeRobotics, and MIT Solve
"Events like this [Aerial Futures @ HUBweek] allow entrepreneurs to really network and talk about their ideas and collaborate in the future. A lot of us operate in what seems like a small bubble because we know our industries but it’s hard to see what’s going on in the drone space outside of those. So these events really bring those together and allow us to see what’s a value-added service that we could offer each other in our portfolio to our customers and it’s very useful."
Co-founder & CTO / Dropcopter
Ice, Icebergs and Geology
Seals, Fish, Biology
Cells and Microbes
Oceanology, Climate Patterns
"Hylomorph is a medical device company, based in Zurich. We know what our product can do and how it fits into the market, but we wanted to pressure test our value proposition with local. doctors and clinicians who will be using the product. Normally, you would go through market research, which costs a lot of money. But in Boston, I got to speak to doctors in person and talk about our product. This is very valuable and will help us with our positioning once we launch the product in the US"
CCO / Hylomorph
When will the product be on the market?
Peter Jackson, CCO of Hylomorph, estimates a market entry in the US in mid 2020 - after passing all the regulatory hurdles. “So according to our plans, we’re going to be on the market and approved from a regulatory perspective probably 18 months before we would be in Europe”.
What is the company looking for in Boston?
Boston is a life sciences epicenter - but in the case of Hylomorph, it offers also a clear regulatory advantage compared to Europe. A similar device already exists in the market, which significantly lowers the entry barrier and cost for the Swiss startup.
What’s the next step for the company?
Hylomorph was incubated at the Wyss Institute in Zurich and has just finished the program. The company has now moved into its own office space and is now in the final stages of product development.
How does one come up with that?
There’s a world renowned group of researchers at ETH Zurich who work in the field of “mechanotransduction” - a process that refers to how cells sense physical forces and translate them into biochemical and biological responses. At some point, the founders decided to go all the way and created Hylomorph.
Are cells really fooled by that?
Yes. When cells approach the surface of the tissue and touch it, they do not recognize the material as a foreign body and, as a consequence, move on to deal with something else.
What’s special about the product?
One of the surfaces of the material has a micro-topography, which interacts with the way cells recognize surfaces. The intellectual property of the company lies in the method of how this microstructure is applied to the surface through a combination of microelectronic and biotech processes.
What is the material made of?
The membrane is made out of cellulose - the same material that is found in paper or plants, except that it is produced with 100% purity through a biotech fermentation process. 98% of the material is water, which leads to a slippery texture that is easy for the surgeon to handle and implant.
Fun team activities and lots of Swiss chocolate
We’re passionate about our mission - and the team is a big part of it. We care deeply about a fun and inspiring work environment. That’s why we organize the occasional fun night out - from after-work brewery visits to foosball competitions and bowling nights.
Corporate benefits that stand out
At swissnex Boston we offer generous holidays and sick leave policies, as well as 4-week vacation. Our benefits package includes employer-matched 401(K) and 65%, 80% or 85% employer-paid medical and dental plans.
From the heart of Europe to the hub of the US
With our offices near Harvard Square in Cambridge and on Broadway in New York, we’re located at the center of North America’s thriving innovation scene - with great access to the local networks.
A multicultural and inspiring work environment
Joining swissnex is like joining a family. You’d be working in a multicultural, creative, inspiring and team-oriented environment where dialogue and mutual support is highly encouraged.
Head of Academic Relations
Head of Arts+
What does that look like?
The product looks like a wet transparent membrane and can be wrapped around implants of all shapes and sizes. The envelope is then sealed to make sure that everything is covered by the material.
In a nutshell - how does it work?
The product acts like an invisibility cloak: It shields the implants that are “foreign” to the patient’s body and prevents the body’s immune system from recognizing them and surrounding them with fibrotic scar tissue.
What is it?
Hylomorph is a medical device company based in Zurich, currently employing 5 people. The startup has developed a product that reduces complications associated with implants and devices - such as pacemakers and breast implants.
“So we have demonstrated our work a lot but mostly to simply people who are curious and enthusiastic about science and research. And here it’s a great opportunity for us to work with these people and get their feedback. Sometimes it’s harsh feedback but we like it. It’s how we get better.”
PhD student / EPFL
"I love the name Aerial Futures in part because I’m excited by next steps leaving this event. I met all sorts of people from educators to technologists to scientists. No doubt about it, for the me the event has been a win-win.”
CEO / Ocean Alliance
"Events like this allow entrepreneurs to really network and talk about their ideas and collaborate in the future. A lot of us operate in what seems like a small bubble because we know our industries but it’s hard to see what’s going on in the drone space outside of those. So these events really bring those together and allow us to see what’s a value-added service that we could offer each other in our portfolio to our customers and it’s very useful."
Co-founder & CTO / Dropcopter
“The diversity that we heard [at the event] was really remarkable. We heard about biology. We heard about city planning. We heard about construction technology and apple orchards. And you could say we heard about drones but in reality what we heard about was seven different global problems that we’re all trying to fix where this application of drones is making some really interesting headway for us.”
Vice President, Economic Development / University of Massachusetts
"The Boston ecosystem is a really brilliant technology ecosystem right now. We like to address a lot of really tough tech problems. And I think partnering with other countries around the world which are also interested in innovation is the only way we are going to get better. And so having swissnex here pushing us, pushing each other to get better and to think bigger, the beauty in that is that we push each other to solve bigger problems. What’s the biggest tech we can solve together?”
Vice President, Economic Development / University of Massachusetts
"The network in the wearable industry here in Boston is very dense. Everyone knows one another and can point you to investors or other relevant contacts. In Boston, you also find all the essential parts of the industry. We had meetings with software companies, but also with hardware companies - and both of them were located here. In Switzerland, you may find the R&D parts, but if you're interested in manufacturing or selling, you need to go somewhere else."
Séverine Chardonnens & Simon Bachmann
Co-Founder, CEO & CTO / IDUN Technologies
“I discovered Boston as a CleanTech-Hub for startups, for crazy ideas with an extensive support system and facilities. The mindset of students and professors is very different from Switzerland. Here in Boston, people are very business-oriented. Everyone wants to found a startup and pushes you to do something”
Co-Founder & CEO / Skypull
"My goal coming here was to set the stage and look broadly at companies and venture capitalists. Boston has a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurial ventures in general, but especially in the biotech field. We work in the field of antimicrobial resistances. Our challenge at the public health level is global. So there are companies we might be able to learn from or collaborate with."
Co-Founder & CEO / Juvabis
"This event was our first exhibition in the US. It was a great opportunity for us to meet with business partners and potential customers. Not only this was a nice opportunity for networking but also we were able to showcase our technology for the first time in the US."
Co-founder and CEO / WindShape
"The swissnex crew put together a great event representing a wide variety of industries that drones are beginning to service today and showed a glimpse of what the future will look like with drones serving mankind in ways that we couldn't have imagined until only recently."
Director of Flight Operations & Regulatory Affairs / GreenSight Agronomics
"My experience was outstanding. swissnex Boston organized high-level meetings for me with MIT, Harvard, BU and WPI representatives in the field of digitization. They made it possible for me to quickly access the cutting edge of digitization in the American academic landscape. I gained an extensive new understanding, a considerable new network of contacts, and many valuable ideas to bring back to ZHAW. In the department of Life Sciences and Facility Management, this led to the establishment of a new initiative called "Digitization@N". I would like to express my sincere thanks to swissnex for their support. The experience of working together with swissnex Boston has been awesome!"
Prof. Dr. Urs Hilber
Dean of the School of Life Sciences and Facility Management / ZHAW
"swissnex Boston offered the environment I was looking for. Although it’s a non-university setting, it sits at the intersection of the 'real' world and the academic world. Boston is unique because of the concentration of MIT and Harvard and many other excellent universities, but also in being a major hub that offers a lot of opportunities. I was able to visit local companies – both startups and major corporations – and several of Boston’s academic institutions. It was great to get to swissnex from the inside and to actually see the diversity of opportunities here. I’m really impressed with what has been accomplished and the staff are knowledgeable, friendly and always willing to help."
Professor Milad Zarin
Chair of Economics / University of Neuchatel
"It has been a pleasure to work with the swissnex Boston team because they share many of the same attributes that Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne values: they support the exchange of global academic knowledge, inspire excellence, openness and innovation. Their business approach of “connecting the dots” in education has proven valuable to us when we have organized outreach events in the local market. swissnex Boston has supported the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne for years and has assisted in helping us grow and increase our brand presence year-round through a joint internship program. We partnered with swissnex Boston because of their high level of professionalism, reputable presence in the region and willingness to work together so we could attain our immediate and long-term goals based on our mutual business needs"
Director of Admissions and Recruitment / Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne
“The 3-day immersion in the Boston and New York tech ecosystem helped us broaden our understanding of the future trends in digital shift, media business/strategy, social TV and video distribution and consumer behavior. For instance, some technologies developed in the US have highly improved the virality of editorial content over the internet. It’s important for us to understand the underlying business models if we want to anticipate the market. Swissnex was a valuable partner to pinpoint key opinion leaders and latest developments in our industry. [swissnex Boston] was instrumental in connecting our group with the leading practitioners, both in academia and in the industry.”
Secrétaire général Ressources & Développement / RTS – Radio Télévision Suisse
"Working with swissnex Boston was extremely valuable in boosting the presence of Uni Basel in the Boston area. In two years of collaboration, we went from almost zero institutional contacts to the launch of an alumni chapter, a permanent presence at the MIT European Career Fair and hosting the Global Perspective Program students."