"Who would have predicted that at my age, I would launch another startup," says Josef Mathis, sitting in the office of his newest company, Dynavisual, which is located on the outskirts of the Swiss town of Zug. But anyone who knows Mathis, an entrepreneur who is constantly pursuing new challenges, is unlikely to be surprised. He founded his first company, SSZ AG, 28 years ago with the basic idea of developing products to protect people as well as material goods. The target group was the police.
Some of SSZ's business areas and patents subsequently gave rise to additional companies. Dynavisual was founded at the end of 2019. It specializes in smart textiles, which have broad applications in such areas as fashion, medicine, sports, entertainment and, of course, security – the main focus of most of Josef Mathis's businesses.
"Who would have predicted that at my age, I would launch another startup."
The first product is already market-ready – an armband with much the same function as the canary in the coal mine had years ago. When the canary lost consciousness and fell from its perch, the miners knew that it was time to leave the mine. The armband serves a similar purpose, and no birds are harmed in the process. Workers who are exposed to high temperatures can wear this armband, with a sensor that measures various vital signs. It communicates with the sensor to show the worker's level of heat stress, once a defined threshold has been reached. If the level is elevated, the armband turns red or orange, indicating to the employee and his fellow workers that action is needed to prevent an accident. "This product is the first of its kind in the world," says Mathis with obvious pride.
He has collaborated for many years with the engineer who developed the patent. "My network and my employees' expertise are great advantages," he says. In addition, as an established entrepreneur he has the financial resources to launch new companies. "Younger startup founders don't have that advantage, of course," he observes.
Josef Mathis is confident that smart textiles have enormous potential for the future. "The question with every new product is whether the market will accept it." Dynavisual's strategy is first to establish its products in Switzerland, but Mathis and his team are already looking beyond the country's borders. In that context, they plan to take advantage of their network of international companies headquartered in Switzerland.