Portrait photo of role model Séverine Chardonnens on gray background

Role Model:
Séverine Chardonnens

Role Model:
Séverine Chardonnens

Every month we ask one individual in our network a few questions about their way into tech, their motivation and their lessons learned.

Tell us where you’re from and what your background (academic, job, etc.) is!

Orginially from the french part of Switzerland, I studied Health Sciences and Technologies at the ETH and beside a few part-time jobs next to studying, IDUN is my first full-time job.

What was the initial idea at the start of IDUN-Technologies that convinced you that this should be created into a startup/business? What was the idea back then and what is IDUN-Technologies doing today?

The initial idea was to create our own company. The problem and the solutions came afterwards. We wanted to do something in the preventive health area and went talking to doctors to understand their pain points. The recurring feedback we got for the heart back then was that there are no long-term comfortable and non-invasive solutions to measure your heart. So that’s where we started looking for technologies to work on to alleviate this problem. We co-developed new sensors with comfortable materials during our master at the ETH and went on selling those to companies working with biopotential and wanting better signals. 
It changed a little as we transformed from a component supplier to a full-stack company as we clearly identified an opportunity in the market where a full understanding of what is happening between the skin and the cloud (and back to the human) is something truely new and extremely exciting. We also identified the next plattform that enables us to provide this technology to the consumer as being the headphones. So that is why we are developing brain-sensing hearables.

What aspects of your work are you proudest of?

Being in touch with the most innovative companies and research group on the topic and seeing our people develop personally in the company… that really makes me proud.

How did you become interested in tech?

Good question….I actually don’t remember a turning point in my life when I became interested in tech. I’ve mostly seen technology as a tool to understand the world and humans.

What valuable advice did you get from your parents or the people closest to you during childhood?

Hmmm….I can’t remember any clear advice that stuck with me. It was more a way of living and loving that I am very grateful I got to experience. I was very close to nature with my grandparents, and they truly showed me the value of being present.

What skills are you looking for when hiring new team members?

Empathy, curiosity, open-mindedness and independence.

What drives you at work?

Our team, our customer’s projects and goals.

You are working in the field of IoT-to-human applications – are there any topics or questions about which you think more people should have knowledge about / form an opinion about?

I don’t think that all the people should have an opinion about it yet, but we are thinking a lot about the power of brain data and how to give the power to the users of the device and not the companies using the data. It’s similar to our digital tracking happening right now, we know we are being tracked but the service is really good and we tend to ignore it. 

What has been your toughest challenge you faced while working in tech? And what did you learn from it?

Specifically in hardware and even more so in new materials: The time it takes and the many roadblocks you face while upscaling the technology. For material innovation, you need to enter a high margin market as a startup or you need to go for extra large volumes which can only be done with partnerships.

Is there anything you wish you had known earlier or would advice your younger self?

Start a company as soon as you feel this itch… waiting is never ever going to be the solution or making it easier for you to start a company.

What advice would you give other women in tech?

I actually never gave any specific advice to other women in tech now that you mention it. When I meet other founders, we usually talk about tech / investment / leadership…but that is the same discussion I have with any founders of any gender. Maybe more so in our company.
I encourage my female co-workers to be more confident when they introduce themselves. That's been something where I observed quite some difference between our male and female co-workers.
Portrait photo of role model Séverine Chardonnens on gray background
Séverine Chardonnens
IDUN Technologies AG

Are there any books, podcasts or other resources that you enjoy or recommend?

Currently, I love the British show QI… it’s really fun and informative.
Bookwise : I read “Le petit prince” again while being an adult and it really went straight to the heart. It’s a book you usually read when you are a kid, but I really recommend it with a bit more years of life 🙂

Who is your role model and why – and if you had the chance what question would you ask her?

My grand-mother and also a few females I have the chance to have around me and also have the chance that I already asked them everything and can so in the future 🙂


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