Three EPFL startups receive an Ignition grant

© 2021 EPFL

© 2021 EPFL

We are happy to announce that Blue Energy Leap, Arkaïya, and Condensation have been each awarded with a CHF 30K Ignition grant. This grant is the first step into the new EPFL Tech Launchpad program. The program is a tech path for startup projects to validate feasibility, accelerate and get market and investor-ready.

Blue Energy Leap 

Blue Energy Leap, a reverse electrodialysis startup, has been accepted into EPFL’s Tech Launchpad programme and has been awarded a CHF30,000 Ignition grant to validate technology upscaling and product-market fit.

Fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, and gas) are still the world’s primary energy source, responsible for around 84% of our energy. However, these fuels have a huge and negative impact on the world around us. The use of renewable energy like wind or solar is growing, but more energy needs to be found and collected if we’re to stop our reliance on polluting fossil fuels. One of the newer methods is reverse electrodialysis – a method of harvesting energy through the movement of salt and freshwater molecules.

This is where Blue Energy Leap comes in. The team have developed a new technology, at the School of Engineering Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology (LBEN) of Prof. Aleksandra Radenovic, to improve the harvesting energy thanks to a special ion-selective membrane. Not only does this technology increase energy output significantly, but it has potential applications in water desalinisation and treatment, too. The team, led by Andrey Chernev, will use their grant to develop their prototype and demonstrate function in real conditions.


Arkaiya is the latest EPFL-based project to become part of the EPFL Tech Launchpad programme with a CHF 30’000 Ignition grant. The startup is looking to pioneer the use of a new probiotic with the potential to have a significant and positive impact on the immune system. 

The global probiotic supplements market is currently worth over US$3.5b. It is dominated by three main probiotics (or live bacteria) – lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and saccharomyces boulardii. Probiotics come in many different forms, from special yoghurts to dietary supplements. Research shows taking probiotics can promote healthy gut bacteria, keep your heart healthy, and boost your immune system. One of the key problems with existing probiotics is that they’re very sensitive to heat and all their goodness is destroyed above 50°C. Not so with Arkaiya’s discovery.

The Arkaiya team, led by Duncan Sutherland, will use their ignition grant to do further testing on their new probiotic and validate their findings. By the end of 2023, the team are aiming to have developed a human health supplement based on the new probiotic.


Condensation is now part of the EPFL Tech Launchpad programme and has been awarded a CHF 30’000 Ignition grant to incubate their startup project within the Security and Cryptography Laboratory (LASEC) of Prof. Serge Vaudenay. Condensation is an open-source, distributed database created to help users protect and control their own data, without having to go through data centers.

Data is big business. From using your phone, to buying something with a debit card, to reading an article online, even when you watch something on your TV. Thanks to our increasingly digital life nearly everything we do creates and transmits data. And with all this data, comes risk. Since 2013, over 9.7billion data records – everything from passwords to medical files to bank details – have been lost or stolen through data breaches.

The team at Condensation have used a new form of architecture to develop a way to share data between users without the need for decryption and encryption (the point at which most data breaches happen). The team will be using their Ignition grant to further develop their system and start working with commercial clients.