Swiss-based Maximon already moving forward with companies focused on precision supplements and personalised longevity advice.
Already touted as a hotbed of longevity innovation, Switzerland is now home to what claims to be the country’s first longevity company builder. Maximon will start several companies each year, providing what it calls “a comprehensive set of resources that empowers founders to focus on and create superior services and products and execute at speed on a global scale.”
Maximon says it plans to allocate more than $50 million over the next four years and to raise a larger longevity focused fund thereafter. The company is already in the process of building its first two companies, one focused on the development of precision longevity supplements and the other on the development of a digital platform for the provision of personalised longevity advice.
Longevity.Technology: Two of Maximon’s founding partners, Marc Bernegger and Dr Tobias Reichmuth, were also the driving force behind last year’s Longevity Investors Conference, so it’s clear that their sights are firmly set on longevity as a hot commercial opportunity. We spoke to Reichmuth recently to find out more about how Maximon came to be.
In addition to Bernegger and Reichmuth, Maximon’s founding team includes serial entrepreneur and investor Jörg Rieker, venture building expert Caroline Faisst, and three additional team-members. While there are other venture firms and funds that provide more than just financial support for early-stage longevity companies, Reichmuth believes Maximon is unique in its approach.
“The real difference is that we really build the companies from scratch, not just incubation or early seed money,” he says. “We start with ideas, form the teams, bring the people together, give them money, and everything. Founders don’t have to think about fundraising, we do that here, they don’t have think about finding offices, we provide workspace and equipment, the HR is done, the insurance is done, and so on. I think that we’re the first ones to do this in longevity.”
Reichmuth believes that this approach will benefit the start-ups to emerge from Maximon, both in terms of speed of execution, but also in terms of equity.
“The start-up entrepreneurs have to give away less of their shares, until they really can do a venture round,” he explains. “I know from my own founding history, it’s easy to give too much away too early, and often to the wrong people.”
“Every team who builds with us will keep 50% of the shares of their company until they reach a venture round of double-digit millions.”
While the idea for getting into the longevity area had been in their minds for several years, Reichmuth says that the coronavirus pandemic provided the time needed for the co-founders to start making things happen – starting with last October’s Longevity Investors Conference.
“After the success of the conference, we thought about what else we could do,” he says. “We knew that we were good at building companies and identifying what you can do with certain technologies in the market, and so out of this conference, the idea was born to start a company builder.”
Things have moved quickly since then, and the founders have assembled an initial $6 million to get things started with the first two companies in the Maximon family. After raising the rest of the $50 million+, Maximon will be in a position support the creation of eight to 10 new companies over the next few years.
The first companies
Maximon’s new supplements company is described as providing “science-based and tested longevity supplements allowing for precise and tailor-made delivery to individuals ensuring health and well-being improvements and slowing down aging.”
“What we want to achieve here is to work on evidence-based supplements and aim to go as fast as we can into precision supplement formulation,” says Reichmuth.
Reichmuth refers to the second company as “Longevity You”, which will provide users with personalised longevity advice based on assessing biomarkers and using big-data analytics.
“You read about NAD+, great, resveratrol, amazing, spermidine, fantastic – but do I take them all, and how much, how often?” he says. “With this platform, we want to take people by the hand, find out where they stand today, using blood tests and so on, and then provide advice about what they should do. Whether that’s do more sport, get more sleep, fasting or whatever, but also what supplements are good for you, in what quantities. We’ll gather data based on this, and become more precision-based as a result.”
While Switzerland is its base, Reichmuth is quick to point out that the company’s focus is global. “Switzerland is an excellent hub for longevity, with its universities and bioscience sector, it’s a good place to work, but because it’s a small country, we need to think across borders,” he says.
“Our aim is also to establish a presence in the Americas and in Asia in the next 18 to 24 months. We definitely want to be a global player.”
Maximon is supported by a scientific advisory board consisting of Prof. Dr. Collin Ewald from ETH Zurich and Prof. Evelyne Yeudit Bischof from Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Industry advisors include Adrian Locher, co-founder of DeinDeal and Merantix, and Alexander Thiel, Partner and Lead Consumer Goods Practice at McKinsey & Company.