Unbreakable cables, wearable muscles and saving billions in healthcare costs


Guests at the W. A. de Vigier award ceremony witnessed the awarding of CHF 100’000 to each of the five award winners. The startups offer solutions to improve the lives of the hearing impaired and mobility impairments, pave the way for the safe introduction of drones into air traffic, bring cables to the market that are unparalleled in their longevity and flexibility.


At the award ceremony of the W.A. de Vigier foundation yesterday, five startups with the most outstanding solutions have been determined and each endowed with a cash prize of CHF 100,000. In addition, Sylke Hoehnel, CEO SUN bioscience, won the audience award. In his keynote Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, emphasized the importance of startups for the Swiss economy. They help Switzerland to maintain its position among the world's most successful economies, by developing innovative products and services and by forcing established companies to do the same. 

These Are the Five Winners

AUDATIC GmbH, Zurich - Better Performance of Hearing Aids in Noisy Environments
Hearing aids often let their wearers down in noisy situations. AUDATIC uses the latest artificial intelligence methods to filter out background noise and significantly enhance the listening experience. Whether in a restaurant, on the road or at a business meeting - thanks to AUDATIC’s technology, hearing-aid users can once again participate in conversations with more joy and self-confidence.

inVoli, Renens - Safe Integration of Drones Into Our Skies
Collisions between drones and aircrafts are becoming increasingly dangerous. InVoli provides the infrastructure for secure integration of unmanned aerial vehicles into existing air traffic. The technology of inVoli will make air traffic data openly accessible and can equip participants as well as the flying objects with the necessary instruments to make the sky safer and more efficient.

MyoSwiss AG, Zurich - Wearable Muscles for People with Mobility Impairments
The startup develops the Myosuit: A clothing layer of wearable muscles that supports daily life activity. The solution combines robotics and functional textiles in a convenient product that weighs less than five kilograms. Novel algorithms coupled with sensing and actuating technology control the assistive forces applied throughout the user’s movements.

nanoleq GmbH Zurich - A New Generation of Cables
Cables are vulnerable. This a problem, especially with medical devices or factory robots. nanoleq has developed a fundamentally new kind of cable technology. Under mechanical stress, the Zurich Startup's FlexOne cable has up to a hundred times longer service life than a standard cable while retaining its high flexibility. Nanoleq's target markets are in med tech, high-end audio applications and robotics.

SUN bioscience, Lausanne - 3D Cell Cultures For More Effective Treatment Decisions
The biotech startup launches a platform for standardized organoid 3D cell cultures that allows patient-specific testing for the direct efficacy of treatments. Today's methods based on biomarkers are often insufficiently reliable. SUN bioscience’s solution optimizes medication decisions and thus avoids ineffective therapies. This leads to billions of dollars in healthcare savings.

220 applications
From over 220 submitted projects for the Vigier award, the jury picked their Top 16 for further assessment. The 16 startups presented their ideas to the Foundation Board, who then chose the Top 10. In addition to groundbreaking products, the personality of the CEO played an important role in the run for the W.A. de Vigier Award. 

"These young entrepreneurs give me hope for the future. They find solutions for environmental problems, therapies for diseases, alternative energy sources and drive us forward as a society. Startup promotion means spreading hope and making money doing it", says Regula Buob, Managing Director of W.A. de Vigier Foundation.

The press release in French and German are in the atachment.

(Press release/ran)