CODE_n CONTEST Finalist UrbanAlps is a high-tech startup based in Switzerland that is reinventing the mechanical key with 3D printing. The young company is a constellation of innovation specialists with a focus on laser processes, plus a group of remarkable advisors ranging from former members of the executive team at ASSA ABLOY to serial entrepreneurs (a-connect) and directors at McKinsey & Co. For this interview we talked to Managing Director Alejandro Ojeda. Have a quick read to find out more about the Photonics finalist:
What is UrbanAlps all about? How did you come up with the idea?
Alejandro: UrbanAlps is about Swiss security products for the city. We bring the Stealth Key: the affordable house key that is safe against 3D copy.
“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?
Alejandro: To put it in a nutshell: We take a centuries old industry of traditional hole drilling to a world of 3D metal printing.
You’re one of the 13 finalists in the Photonics contest cluster. Which challenges do you think young companies have to face in this sector? How do you handle these challenges?
Alejandro: My personal feeling is that hardware startups are strongly handicapped compared to ICT or medTech startups for relevant reasons (i.e.: deployment speed of products…). We tackle that challenge by having a scalable strategy for a huge market: mechanical keys.
Your solution seems to solve a lot of problems. Are there already plans for a market entry of your product?
Alejandro: Sure, we are seeking interested pilot customers to begin cylinder lock installation by end of 2016 (>100 units). Our first aim is not the housing market (hard to penetrate) but specific applications that require europrofile cylinders with the highest security standard and where key duplication is critical.
Thanks very much for talking to us, Alejandro!