The bNovate Management Team
Commitment. Excellence. Know-how.
Dr. Simon Kuenzi, CEO, founder and member of the board
After working in the innovation department at TECAN in Zürich for several years, the entrepreneurial spirit of Simon led him to found and become CEO of bNovate Technologies in 2011.
With a one year stay at Carnegie Mellon University in USA and 6 months at UNSW in Sydney, Simon holds a Master’s degree in theoretical physics from the EPFL and a PhD in life science in the field of implantable glucose sensors for diabetics.
For the past 15 years, his work, and his passion, have been focused on life science innovations. Especially on the automated and rapid detection of bacteria in water. His ambition is to bring a game-changing, fully automated bacteria monitoring family of products to the market . The objective is to reduce the current detection time, from days to a few minutes to improve the safety of drinking water.
Céline Jaeger, CRO
Céline has spent many years in the laboratory weighing solution industry. With a Master's degree in Micro-Engineering from EPFL, her career started as Product Manager where she successfully introduced several lines of innovative instruments.
From market analysis to product phase-out, the complete product life cycle holds no secret for her. After spending 3 years in the field as Sales Engineer to better understand the market and customer needs, Celine moved to Singapore as Regional Market Manager for South East Asia, managing business development, key account management and customer seminars.
She joined bNovate technologies in 2017, at the time of its first product launch and was until the end of 2022 responsible for the Marketing department while staying close to the market by managing channel partners and key accounts. As of 2023, Céline has stepped into the role of CRO and is leading the Sales, Marketing and Product Management departments.
Dr. Luigino Grasso, CTO
With over ten years of experience in bioanalytics and biosensor development, Luigino leads the Innovation and R&D department of the company with a special focus on the advancement of the core technology towards the specific and automated detection of pathogens in water.
Luigino holds a Master in Chemistry and a PhD in Biophysics form the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). His work, recognized through an innovation grant, laid the basis for an entrepreneurial venture in MedTech on the development of a unique blood test for early diagnosis of breast cancer.
Before joining bNovate, Luigino served at AC Immune, a biopharmaceutical company focused on neurodegenerative diseases, as R&D scientist in charge of assay development activities for drug discovery and preclinical studies.
François Requin, CFO
Passionate about Entrepreneurship, François has been forged by the intensity and diversity of his managerial roles in renowned US multinational and industrial companies, especially within the boiling medtech and semiconductors business sectors.
After many years of finance assignments in global corporations, among which International Flavors & Fragrances, Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson, he is now fully dedicating himself to supporting operational and strategic finance in a few selected technology scale-ups in the area of Lausanne.
Douglas Watson, Head of Operations
When Douglas joined the company in 2014 to develop the software platform, bNovate was still a start-up with a handful of employees. He helped the team to raise the BactoSense from a project to a product. Besides the development of instruments and accessories, Douglas started to put in place the enterprise resource planning, juggling brilliantly with the company size increase. This led him to become in 2020 head of the operations team.
Douglas earned a Master's degree in Materials Science from EPFL, with a one year stay at McGill University and six months in the laboratory for nanoscale-optics at Harvard. His studies led him to specialize in semiconductors and biomedical engineering, and he worked briefly in the fields of microfabrication for medical devices, then robotics, before joining bNovate.
Fabrice Merenda, Head of R&D
Fabrice’s core competences are in the development of precision optical instrumentation. He has been supporting the development of the BactoSense technology from the very beginning in 2011. Since November 2021, he has taken the lead of bNovate’s engineering team, with the mission of turning technologies into products.
Before joining bNovate at full time, Fabrice has been working 12 years as project and product line manager at Arcoptix SA, a company manufacturing infrared spectrometers for process analytical technologies.
He has also been active on projects of the European Space Agency (ESA) for engineering FTIRs to be installed on the ISS and on CubeSats.
Fabrice holds a Master’s degree in Physics and a PhD in Photonics and Microengineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).
Dr. Alexandre Guiller, Head of Product Management
Combining his product and market knowledge, Alexandre bridges the technological advancements of our development teams with the needs of our customers, with a strong focus on their applications and satisfaction. He works closely with our marketing and engineering teams to promote and continuously improve our product portfolio and the company business development. As a former Sigrist employee, he also is a link to the production.
Alexandre holds a Master in Physics and an Engineer’s degree in Material Science from the university of Rennes, France. He then moved to Switzerland to integrate the IBM research team and earned his PhD in Solid-state Chemistry developing ultra-thin films for microelectronics applications.
Combining 10+ years in research and product development and 4+ years in product management, Alexandre brings technical expertise, as well as business experience to enhance existing products and define future ones.
At bNovate Technologies, we believe that the heart and soul of the company are creativity and innovation.
Board of Directors
Prof. Dr. Peter Ryser, Chairman of the board
Peter was a Professor of Microengineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne for 16 years. He taught product development, industrialization and technology management. His research topics were in low cost manufacturing, microsystem packaging and new product concepts.
He was previously a Director at Siemens Building Technologies, a $1000M revenue division, where he was responsible for product innovation and patents. From 2004 to 2011 he served as an independent director at the board of Tecan AG, the worldwide leading laboratory automation company. He also founded Sensile Technologies AG.
Peter holds a Ph.D. in applied Physics from the University of Geneva, a Masters degree in Experimental Physics and an MBA from the University of applied sciences in Lucerne. He is also member of the Swiss Academy of engineering sciences.
Dr. Helge Daebel
An Environmental Engineer by training, Helge leads the water practice at Emerald Technology Ventures, a globally recognized Cleantech Investor with a 25-year investment history with offices in Zurich, Toronto and Singapore.
Part of this history has been a unique traction in the water space including successful exits to major industry players (SUEZ, XYLEM and BASF).
Next to several board and advisory roles in past and present, Helge manages a team of water tech investment professionals investing out of a dedicated USD 100M global water fund with commitments from Temasek, SKion Water, Ecolab and Microsoft.
Dr. René Lenggenhager
René is an experienced CEO, group leader, and general manager with a successful career in world-leading technology companies (Comet Group, Bruker BioSpin, Mettler-Toledo, Siemens Building Technologies, Cerberus, and Landis+Gyr).
He is experienced in marketing & sales, international business, digital business strategies, and lean management.
René holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics from ETHZ, where he did ground-breaking work on CMOS silicon microsensors for flow measurement, infrared detection, and other applications. He also holds an executive MBA from the University of St. Gallen.
Dimitri runs the single family office Celeste Management, based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Celeste invests across multiple alternative asset classes in private equity, venture, infrastructure, real estate and private debt.
Celeste has invested in several start ups especially in the health space.
Dimitri is member of the Board of several European companies, in the health, energy, transport, telecoms and real estate sectors.
Lic. Iur. Ralph Sigg
Ralph is running a law and notary office in Hergiswil/NW since 1994. He has remarkable experience in advising clients on corporate law, business succession, inheritance law, and construction law.
Ralph Sigg is a board member of Schurter Holding AG and various other companies, subsidiaries of foreign companies, and family offices.
Ralph holds a degree in law from the University of Zurich, a notary patent in the canton of Nidwalden, and was admitted to the Lucerne bar in 1990.
Ralph also serves the public as mayor of Hergiswil/NW.
Scientific Advisory Board
Prof. Dr. Thomas Egli
Prof. emer. Dr. Thomas Egli was Head of the Department for Environmental Microbiology and leader of the Research group Drinking Water Microbiology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). He was teaching at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) where he was appointed as a Titular Professor for Environmental Microbiology, and at the Universities of Basel and Zurich. After his retirement in 2012 he founded “MICROBES-IN-WATER GmbH” that consults on microbiology and hygiene in aquatic systems, particularly drinking water.
Educated as a Biotechnologist at ETH Zurich and a Post-Doc in the UK, he joined Eawag in 1982. His research was focussed on biodegradation of organic pollutants and microbial growth at very low nutrient concentrations. 2003 he moved into drinking water microbiology and developed with his group flow cytometric methods for the fast detection of microbial cells and pathogens in water.
He is author of >200 peer-reviewed scientific publications and some 20 book chapters (SCI H-index: 59). He was given the Mülheim Water Award in 2010 for developing the flow cytometric total cell count method. He was as a Swiss Delegate for the OECD, was appointed as an Ambassador of the International Society for Microbial Ecology and served on many scientific boards.