Meet our Premium Member Benedikt Fasel, CEO and Founder of Archinisis
Please tell us a bit about Archinisis
Archinisis is specialized in sensor- and video-based sports performance analysis. Our vision is to develop a technology which allows to easily measure and analyze performance for every-day training sessions and competitions without the need of an entire team of sports scientists and data analysts.
Sport-specific analyses and feedback allow coaches to instantly identify the individual strengths and weaknesses of each athlete and adapt the training accordingly. With our newest sensor, Naos, coaches can obtain feedback in quasi real-time, increasing training output even more.
Currently supported sports are alpine ski racing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski- & snowboard-cross, ski jumping, sprint running, hurdles, and rowing. Our first product for cross-country and biathlon is available since 2019. According to customer feedback, this product significantly contributed in winning 10 Olympic medals during the last Winter Olympic Games.
Archinisis is bootstrapped and was founded in 2018 as a spin-off from EPFL by Benedikt Fasel.
What are your plans for 2023? What is your long-term vision?
Our main focus for the upcoming months is growth. We want to become the market leader for sensor-based performance tracking for alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping. For summer sports, we want to improve our brand awareness and strengthen our market presence.
Our long-term vision is to further democratize sports performance analysis and enable real-time performance feedback during competitions for improved broadcast experience and fan engagement. Archinisis shall become the reference company for performance tracking of individual outdoor sports.
What has been the biggest success that you have achieved in your startup?
Archinisis exists for almost 5 years and is bootstrapped. We are a tiny team but achieved to become a major player for winter sports performance analysis. The biggest and best federations and teams trust our technology and improve their performance with it. For me, the biggest motivation is to see more and more of our customers win races. Our customers have won many podiums at world cups, world championships, and the Olympic Games.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What are your biggest learnings?
I am very happy with where I am now with Archinisis and all our achievements. Being bootstrapped is definitely a challenge but on the other hand it gives tremendous freedom: our strategic decisions can be 100% customer-centered instead of maximizing growth and profit for investors. If the market is not yet ready or product development is late because of sourcing issues we can wait it out instead of having to pivot too early. Growth is slower but more durable.
Another upside of this is that I, as the founder and CEO, can spend more time with prospects and customers to really understand the market needs, while at the same time still being involved in development and understanding the technological challenges and limitations.
Having an engineering background, and by building up Archinisis, I learnt a lot about business development, sales, and the importance of marketing. I was able to improve my leadership skills and asking the right questions to prospects to understand their needs and develop products which bring true value and satisfy their needs. I also learnt that in order to understand the market needs and dynamics, it is crucial that the CEO is selling the product.
What I would do differently is a tricky question. Would it have been better to start with a larger team involving co-founders? To find more resources to spend on more marketing? Or is the current strategy the best? It is slow but avoids jumping steps and makes sure we are extremely close to all our customers. Something they really appreciate and they tell us is one of the reasons they chose our technology.
What motivates you to continue your business every day?
Definitely the customer feedback! On an almost daily basis, I talk to coaches and can see that our products make a difference and provide a great help in their daily work. Often they tell me that by using our products they obtained a key piece of information which secured their next win.
One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with their startup?
It’s always slower and more painful than initially planned. Don’t give up too soon and learn from things that did not work. Make sure that the vision and expectation of each founder matches the company’s vision and development strategy. Before looking for funding, have the exit strategy ready and discussed in your team and be aware of what it means to have investors on board.
What does it mean to you to be a member of the Swiss Startup Association?
Headquartered in Fribourg I am disconnected from the “startup world”. Fribourg is simply too small to have a startup community. The Swiss Startup Association allows me to connect to this world if and when I want. It has a great network which is here for help, support, and inspiration. I find it very helpful to learn from peers and other founders. I’m also a politically involved person: my membership will help the SSA to better defend the startup world in national politics and help improve existing legislation to support the different needs of startups, especially in terms of hiring foreign talent and becoming more interesting for investors. This is also the reason why I’m myself actively involved in the SSA and help organizing selected events, in addition to paying for the premium membership.
Would you recommend joining the Swiss Startup Association?
Yes, I recommend every startup to join the SSA! You will get access to information and network. Both will help you in building and growing your startup faster and more efficiently. Switzerland also needs an “umbrella organization” to defend the interests of Swiss startups. Not only on the political level but also for improving investor relations and building synergies, for example. This is only possible if a large majority of startups are members of the SSA.
Have you ever visited the events of the Swiss Startup Association? If yes, which ones? Would you recommend them?
So far, I have mostly worked behind the scenes and contributed my time to the initial rebuilding of the SSA. However, this year I helped to organize the Founders Dinner in Bern and attended the Big Founders dinner in Zurich. Both events were great and I can highly recommend joining them. I especially like that they are small and “intimate”, focusing on the people and leaving all the fancy startup glamour behind.