Matthias Standfest had the idea for the ETH spin-off during his doctoral studies: in his doctoral thesis at ETH, he examined how to recognise and evaluate architectural geometries using machine learning. His research also took him to the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore.
“There, I observed how little architecture-relevant data there is,” he explains. This insight was the trigger for Archilyse. Things then happened quickly: “With my doctoral thesis, I was able to show that it’s now possible to comprehensively measure architectural quality quickly and with little effort. This makes risks and opportunities visible earlier.” This potential was quickly recognised by investors: “I was able to secure the first round of funding before I’d even defended my thesis,” says Standfest. Today, Archilyse is made up of nine people with backgrounds in computer science, astrophysics, architecture, electrical engineering, business administration and cultural studies.
From a financial point of view, the company is an atypical start-up. “We are all able to live off our work with the company. We pay normal salaries and have normal working hours,” says Standfest. This is partly due to the fact that Archilyse’s customer segment is financially strong. It includes pension insurance companies, land managers, real estate portals and developers, and companies with their own property management units. “Our target group is mostly in the multi-billion segment,” says Standfest.
The signs are now pointing towards Archilyse becoming an internationally active company. “We are currently signing on to major projects and are looking into entering the market in Germany, Scandinavia and Asia,” says Standfest. The team are also continuing to work on new products: “In May, for example, we’re launching a tool to automatically check Swiss building zone regulations.”
The young entrepreneurs have now been nominated for the ZKB Pioneer Award. “The nomination is a great accolade that confirms our current course,” says Standfest.