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Céline Jaeger, a leader with a vision

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Balancing profitability and sustainability

Celine Jaeger

Behind an innovative scale-up, there are always remarkable stories to be shared. Meet our recently appointed Chief Revenue Officer, Céline Jaeger, who was one of the first ten employees of bNovate.

Dear Céline, congratulations on your new role as Chief Revenue Officer of bNovate. Please tell us more about your evolution to this position.

Thanks! After 20 years in the B2B market - introducing, positioning, and selling innovative solutions – I see it as a natural step. I started my career in product management, interspersed with experience as a sales representative. I then worked abroad in different cultures as a Market Manager in Southeast Asia, collaborating in several regions and with various partners.

In Switzerland, I used my marketing skills to help transform bNovate from an R&D start-up into an SME. Driven by the promotion of sustainable technologies, my goal in this new position is to help the company grow into a global leader without losing the focus on durability.

You have been with bNovate for more than five years. How did your journey together start?

I would say it was a lot of luck. When I came back from Singapore, I didn’t want to join a big company like the one I had just left. I needed to follow a purpose aligned with my values and started my own business to support others with my knowledge. This was when Peter Ryser – bNovate’s co-founder and board chairman – contacted me. He was my professor when I studied Microengineering at EPFL, and we have stayed in contact since then.

He was searching for a profile like mine to introduce an innovation to the market and invited me to meet Simon Kuenzi – bNovate’s co-founder and CEO. Curious by nature, I went to Ecublens to learn more about bNovate’s product, and I immediately fell in love with BactoSense. I found exactly what I was searching for a small company developing a high-tech instrument with a sustainable purpose.

Celine Jaeger

“Being curious by nature, I went to Ecublens to learn more about bNovate’s product and I immediately fell in love with BactoSense”.

When you joined bNovate in 2017, it was a 100% R&D company. In 2020, you helped set up Zurich's Sales & Marketing office. What were the challenges of this significant step, and how has the team evolved since its founding?

During my first three years, I worked with our partner Sigrist-Photometer to create Sales and Marketing tools to support the market introduction of BactoSense. At that time, we were developing products but not selling them.

We quickly realised that we were too far from the market and our users, which hindered improving our present solution and developing new ones. This was when we decided to open our own Sales & Marketing department. To make this big project happen, we asked a member of the Board – René Lenggenhager – to become co-CEO of Sales & Marketing of bNovate and lead the team's building.

Céline Jaeger with Peter Ryser and René Lenggenhager
Céline Jaeger with Peter Ryser and René Lenggenhager

The main challenge was the pandemic that occurred the same year. We had to hire people and build a team at a time when the home office was mandatory. We also couldn’t visit our customers, as travelling was prohibited. Nevertheless, we are proud to have a solid and efficient organisation of 12 people in Sales, Marketing and Product Management today.

In consultation with the Board, René decided to step down at the end of last year and put me in charge of the team. I will now do my best to take over.

What does a day in your life look like?

Difficult question as every day of my life is different! But, in general, I have three types of days.

I like the ones when I work from home very much because they allow me to focus on my open tasks entirely and to be there for my family. Then, the ones in the office, where I usually go from one meeting to the next, trying to meet and exchange with everyone in the team. The third type is when I travel to customers or events – also a very inspiring part of my job.

What I enjoy is the diversity of my weeks. I have the impression of learning something new every day and being able to apply and share it right away. We are in a fast-paced environment.

What are your values, what do you believe in?

I am fully aligned with bNovate’s vision and values, which is why I feel at home in this company. What matters most to me are the people. I am a team player and believe in genuine relationships based on trust. I am passionate and need to follow a purpose, I think. I am a learner and love to share my knowledge.

What do you anticipate from this new position in terms of both challenges and accomplishments?

Building the team is only the first step. We need to learn how to grow together to work most efficiently. I have to admit that the last two years were not that easy. We had so much work to do that we mostly forgot to have some fun.

I wish to add a touch of excitement and happiness to the workplace. I also would like to understand the strengths of each team member better so that everyone can use them most effectively. With this motivated and successful team, we can follow our challenge of introducing BactoSense worldwide.

I can talk about accomplishments when I feel that my team is performing at its best and our solution is used everywhere by happy customers.

The marketing, sales and product management team in their office in Zurich, January 2023
The marketing, sales and product management team in their office in Zurich, January 2023

What is the structure of the revenue team? Is it complete, or are you still looking for additional talents?

The revenue team comprises the three departments: Product Management, Sales and Marketing. The product management team will welcome two new members in January and February. They will prepare for the launch of our latest products and continue to develop the existing ones.

A new Marketing Manager will join us in April. After she starts, we will evaluate if additional resources are needed in the team. The department that needs to grow is Sales. We will soon need a Sales Manager, Key Account Manager and Sales Champion for Asia and the USA.

When you reflect on the past five years, what events or milestones are you most proud of?

This question is not easy, as my mind is full of memories worth remembering. If I had to choose some of them, I would pick the following:

  • When I met BWT in 2017 – this collaboration led us to develop AQU@Sense MB for pure water.

  • When I attended the UK Flow Cytometry Meeting in 2018 – this event showed me that flow cytometry is the future technology and that BactoSense is the perfect solution to implement it.

  • In 2019, we presented our solution to the European Commission and won the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. This recognition resulted from fantastic teamwork with Simon and Luigi.

  • When we moved into our first office in Zürich in 2020 – it was a wonderful feeling to experience the start of our new team.

  • When we got the Solar Impulse Label in 2021, as sustainability is essential for me, this label confirmed that we had developed a product that changed the world.

  • When we launched BactoSense Multi in 2022 – I appreciated working with our head of Product Management, Alexandre Guiller. We were proud that we created good marketing tools despite the short deadlines.

With CEO Simon Kuenzi and CTO Luigi Grasso after the presentation to the EC in 2019
With CEO Simon Kuenzi and CTO Luigi Grasso after the presentation to the EC in 2019

What are the upcoming milestones for bNovate? What are you especially looking forward to?

This year, bNovate's primary focus will be on the following:

  • Optimise our production

  • Finish the development of our innovation

  • Prepare the market introduction of a new solution – which is planned for 2024

  • Create value content for our prospects and users

  • Continue our geographical reach

I am particularly looking forward to preparing the market introduction of our new solution, as this project involves all departments and our customers.

Where do you see bNovate and BactoSense 5 years from now?

I am convinced that BactoSense is meant to be the new standard in the water monitoring industry. In 5 years, bNovate will be known worldwide, and our solutions will help many industries to optimise their processes. The waterworks will have peace of mind and be able to provide immediate action in case of water contamination. I also believe that the water regulation will be updated so that it will be possible to use Flow Cytometry instead of HPC for water quality control.

Dear Céline, thank you very much for answering our questions. We wish you a great start to the new year in your new role and lots of success in all your upcoming challenges!


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