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Simon Krähenbühl & Silvia Nadenbousch, ILEVE Optics co-founders, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #342 - Simon Krähenbühl & Silvia Nadenbousch: Swiss-Made Eyewear for a Sustainable Future

Simon Krähenbühl & Silvia Nadenbousch

September 18, 2023

3:20 - Competitor quality vs quantity

6:06 - The ILEVE founding team

11:07 - Standing for Swiss quality

16:58 - The growing pains of startups

20:04 - The ILEVE deal on the Swisspreneur syndicate

About Simon Krähenbühl and Silvia Nadenbousch:

⁠Simon Krähenbühl⁠ and ⁠Silvia Nadenbousch⁠ are the co-founders of ⁠ILEVE OPTICS⁠, an eyewear brand which consists of two separate lines: LARS Brillen, a prescription and sunglasses B2B brand sold to opticians across Switzerland, and ILEVE DISTRICT, a cycling eyewear brand sold directly to customers and through selected retail stores. Simon is responsible for Design and Product Development and holds a master's in Innovation, Industrial and Product Design, and Silvia is the Communications and Marketing head, with a master's in Business and Economics.

The idea for ILEVE came from Simon’s personal experience as a glasses wearer: his glasses kept sliding down his nose, so he decided to develop an innovative glass hinge which prevented this from happening. His hinge patent was the first technical development in terms of glasses hinges in decades, and that is why he and his co-founder Silvia don’t feel threatened by the amount of other eyewear brands out there. Most brands, say the co-founders of ILEVE, innovate only in terms of colors and shapes, whereas this Swiss-made brand brings true added value to the wearer. 

If eyewear is a market with plenty of competition, it also has a never ending stream of customers: as people age, most develop a need for glasses, and with the pervasive and constant use of mobile devices nowadays, short sightedness is equally on the rise.

ILEVE eyewear is designed, 3D-printed and assembled in Switzerland. Simon and Silvia have found this to be a valuable USP for their brand, since the association with the idea of Swiss-made quality really helps to build trust and convert people into buying customers.

ILEVE is currently raising a CHF 800K seed round, CHF 100K of which is being raised through the Swisspreneur Syndicate. The funds will be used to grow their team, fuel their expansion to Germany and a select number of European cities, and achieve the coveted B Corp certification. Check out the Swisspreneur Syndicate’s deal flow page on notion to find out more.

Memorable Quotes:

"We know we can’t save the world with glasses. But we want to take responsibility for the sustainability of our products." Simon Krähenbühl

"Building a sustainable B2C brand with a low budget is definitely a challenge, but at the same time it keeps us creative." Silvia Nadenbousch

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