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 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.
On April 2023, Elian joined VIU Ventures, one of our portfolio companies, as CTO to lead a major transformation.
Elian serves as a member of the board with multiple of our portfolio companies (Sunflower Labs, Swiss Ocean Tech, Yeastup) 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2021, KLE expanded and opened DAR by taking over the former Maison Blunt in Zurich. In October 2022, DAR was awarded a green star.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since 2023, Elian is supporting Yeastup as a member of the board.