19 September 2012, by Eugène Schön

Sensefly: Bringing a New Vision for the Future


Headquartered in Ecublens (Vaud), close to Lausanne’s EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Sensefly has been making the news this summer as the company joined the Parrot Group to strengthen its position as a leading provider of ultralight flying drones (called UAV) worldwide.

As autonomous civil flying drones get smarter and gain media attention in prestigious magazines like Wired or at top innovation events like the TEDxHelvetia at Rolex Learning Center last week, I was really looking forward to interview Martin Reichert at Sensefly and learn more about their startup and the solutions they develop.

Who is Sensefly?

Sensefly is a swiss company developing autonomous flying sensors and related software and hardware solutions. Very quickly the company understood that the sky offered novel perspectives to monitor and understand our environment as well very interesting business potential.

Founded at the end of 2009 as a spinoff of the EPFL-based Laboratory of Intelligence Systems (LIS) , Sensefly released in March 2010 the Swinglet Cam. Weighting just 500 grams and very easy to use, the device became very popular throughout the world as it offered an affordable innovative solution to civil professionals in areas such as aerial photography, mapping, atmospheric sampling, agriculture, wild life monitoring, archeology and much more.

What role played economic promotion?

Swiss economic promotion has played a very important role in the successful development of Sensefly on three levels as Martin Reichert explains during the interview.

For starters, the SECO (Secretariat d’état et de l’économie) got invoved very quickly in the promotion process of the startup, providing numerous opportunities to network and showcase Sensefly’s technology abroad at international trade and technology fairs. Secondly, CTI Start-Up provided Sensefly professional coaching and advice at a key moment of the life the company  which was awarded in November 2011 the CTI Start-Up Label by the Swiss Government: a certificate of quality and a sign of credibility for future investors. Last but not least, the proximity to the  Swiss Federal Institute of Technology research facilities and ressources has been an important element in the startup development.

So how does the future look for Sensefly?

By joining Parrot group this summer, Sensefly has secured the resources to satisfy an ever growing world demand for their ultralight flying drones (UAV) – made in Switzerland – as well as the means to pursue the development of their expertise to build a bright future for the company in Ecublens.

If you’re interested in Switzerland ICT’s dynamic and innovative players, don’t forget to check regularly our blog for more interviews of the entrepreneurs and the stories of projects that are making a difference in this fast changing ICT world. For this interview, I’d like to thank Martin Reichert for the time spent answering my questions and his warm welcome at their headquarters.

Post written by Eugène Schön, Community Manager and Blogger for Alp ICT