Gentian Investments

Early-stage startup financing

About Us

Gentian is an early-stage investment company founded by the Entrepreneurs Elian Kool and Gerhard Gerner.

We focus on investments in SaaS platforms, Mobile, Robotics/Drones and adjacent areas we have a passion for.

 

Based in Switzerland, most of our investments are in the DACH region, but with a clear focus on a global market.

We invest exclusively in enthusiastic teams, which we support with our experience as Entrepreneurs, as board member or advisor.

 

Who we are

Elian and Gerhard are Entrepreneurs who jointly founded Netcentric, a global leader for Customer Experience solutions in 2012. We have grown the company to 400+ employees across Europe, before selling the company to Cognizant in October 2017. During this time, Netcentric was awarded as EMEA Partner of the year by Adobe multiple times and won large multinational clients across Europe.

Elian Kool

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Elian started his career as a software engineer and worked as Architect for many large Customer Experience platforms before founding Netcentric in 2012, which he led as CEO until 2019.

Elian serves as a member of the board with multiple of our portfolio companies (Sunflower Labs, Nomoko, Swiss Ocean Tech) and as president of Make Me Smile International (Switzerland), which supports Make Me Smile Kenya, a NGO for development collaboration, child care and help to help themselves and Make Me Smile Colombia, a fund with a focus on reforestation of formerly tropical rain forests in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.

Gerhard Gerner

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After studying Mathematics and Computer Science, Gerhard started his professional career in the innovation lab of a German software company. In 2000, he went to Asia and Australia to build up the local SAP support and consulting business of that same company. This experience fostered a passion for customer service, which has endured throughout his career. Gerhard returned to Germany in 2004, and focused on building content management and customer experience solutions. The majority of his work was focused on larger European enterprises, with teams based onsite and offshore.

He earned an MBA in 2006, and this enabled him to co-found Netcentric in 2012. Since this time, Gerhard has worked as COO and since 2020 as CEO, successfully guiding the company through its considerable growth.

 

Our Portfolio

Our investments are focuses on robotics and B2B platforms, but leaves space for other ventures, where both the founder team, the venture and the growth potential convince us.

 
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Acodis is a machine learning based platform for intelligent document processing, allowing business experts to turn documents into structured data within seconds and without coding skills.

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Ajila digitises processes with adaptive forms, contract generation and electronic signatures in creating bespoke implementations for more than 270 clients.

Gentian supported Ajila in its strategic move to capitalise the existing know-how and build Digital.Deals, a SaaS platform for experience driven forms, contracts and signatures.
Elian Kool served as a member of the board of Ajila Holding AG until Swisscom acquired a substantial stake in Ajila in December 2019.

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Alaya provides innovative and measurable solutions for companies’ social responsibility and engagement program with an interactive platform.

Elian Kool supported Alaya as member of the board from January 2020 until the exit to Benevity in December 2021.

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Aleno is the most professional online reservations system for restaurants with full access to all data and customised branding and design.

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ANYbotics develops autonomous legged robot solutions to increase productivity and safety on industrial plants through the intelligent automation of inspection and maintenance. Their robot serves as a mobile data acquisition vehicle that is able to offer full plant coverage at lower cost and higher quality. 

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Aspaara creates superpowers for planning teams: An AI solution for intelligent enterprise resource planning.
Their artificial intelligence-based optimization engine #matchingcore satisfies customized scheduling criteria while adapting to their clients' very specific situations.

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Beekeeper is a workplace app that connects the non-desk workforce to operational systems and communication channels.

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The free app Bring! helps millions of users worldwide organize their

grocery shopping. Via smartphone, desktop, smartwatch and voice assistant users can create shopping lists for any occasion and share them with others in their household.

In September 2021, Swiss Post acquired Bring Labs! AG.

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Earny is a Payroll Management System for Swiss SMEs & Startups. Earny allows anyone to manage payroll without previous experience & save significant time coordinating data collection with accountants

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Firstbird connects people with their vocation and companies worldwide with suitable candidates. With Firstbird, employees become brand ambassadors and referrals become your most successful recruiting channel.

Firstbird was sold to Radancy, a global leader in talent technology, in January 2022.

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Flybotix develops a collision tolerant drone for confined space inspection. Flybotix doubles the flight time of indoor caged-drones, while producing ½ the noise and increasing safety.

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Fotokite builds a vehicle-integrated aerial camera system that provides public safety teams with mission critical situational awareness. Fotokites save team resources by launching, flying, and landing with the single push of a button.

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Guuru turns loyal customers into experts (guuru's) to provide authentic human advice within seconds on all digital channels. Guuru’s technology manages the onboarding, certification, compensation and quality monitoring of the guurus.

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KLE is the first restaurant of chef Zizi Hattab in Zurich, Switzerland. Before opening KLE in January 2020, Zizi became an experienced chef and leader at some of the best restaurants in the world, like Schloss Schauenstein, Osteria Francescana, El Celler de Can Roca and Cosme.

In October 2022, KLE was awarded one Michelin star and a green star, afterbeing awarded 14 points by Gault & Millau and in November 2020 as discovery of the year for 2021.

 

In October 2021, KLE expanded and opened DAR by taking over the former Maison Blunt in Zurich. In October 2022, DAR was awarded a green star.

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Merantix is a pioneering platform for commercializing AI in industry. They conceptualize, build, and scale machine learning companies through their unique incubation environment which is built on trust in their brand, technological synergies across use cases and relentless product focus.

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NOMOKO makes the world machine-readable by creating the "Mirror World". The Mirror World is a 1:1 digital replication of the world around us. The 4th industrial revolution is about connecting the physical and digital worlds. For this to happen, software needs to understand the world we live in and hence needs a machine readable world. The Mirror World will deliver this machine readable world and can therefore be seen as the world wide web of the 4th industrial revolution.

Since July 2020, Elian supports Nomoko as a member of the board (announcement).

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ROSE Technologies builds a platform that powers business sustainability - from ESG to Impact. The approach combines an assessment of companies' Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Impact practices to fuel the implementation of a sustainability action plan.

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Sunflower Labs makes an autonomous outdoor security system that senses and deters unwanted visitors before they’re at your door. Their elegant sensors detect motion and vibration, differentiating between people, animals, and cars. When they detect something unusual, they’ll notify you and deploy a fully autonomous drone. The drone flies directly to the scene and streams live video of what’s happening. Guided by the sensors, it follows the activity, performs a security “sweep,” and lands itself safely in its weatherproof docking station.

Since 2021, Elian supports Sunflower Labs as a Member of the Board.

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Swiss Ocean Tech creates the very first solution for Safe Anchoring for any ship / vessel.

AnchorGuardian will provide safety at any time during anchoring for crew and passengers by minimizing the risk of anchor dragging, immediate, fail-safe anchor dragging alarms and predicting anchor dragging.

 

Elian supports Swiss Ocean Tech since its seed round in 2020 as member of the board.

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Tastry is a data and insights company that has invented revolutionary flavor chemistry and machine learning algorithms to predict how consumers perceive sensory-based products before they go to market. Tastry "taught a computer how to taste."

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VIU challenges the status quo for design, production and distribution of eyewear, offering signature eyewear with a modern twist that is both authentic and timeless.

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Gentian is investing in many more Swiss early-stage startups though the Wingman Venture Fund. Wingman Venture is a fund from founders for founders, focusing on leading seed rounds, adding strategic value and providing meaningful access.

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Wingtra is a professional drone manufacturer based in Zurich, Switzerland. The company produces the VTOL WingtraOne drone, which collects high-precision aerial data for surveying and mapping applications. Since its market entry in 2017, Wingtra has partnered with more than 50 of the biggest surveying equipment dealers across the globe, such as RDO Inc. and SITECH.

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Wyth gives everyone the same opportunity to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with an all-in-one platform with a 360 circular experience that turns connections into relationships, streaming into interactive events, and experiences into communities.

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Yeastup upcycles by-products from the beer-brewing process into high-quality ingredients, thus promoting the circular economy. Yeastup returns important nutrients, such as proteins and fibers, back into the food cycle and create valuable ingredients for new healthy foods – thus living the spirit of the circular economy.