W. A. de Vigier prize for six startups

The 2021 de Vigier competition has come to an end. Thanks to a donation from the Borer family, an extra prize has been awarded, bringing the total cash prize to CHF 600’000. The six winners are developing solutions ranging from home tests for sexually transmitted diseases to sustainable materials for outdoor clothing and special micro-chips for managing exploding data traffic.

Yesterday at the 2021 award ceremony of the annual W. A de Vigier Award, the jury announced and bestowed its coveted prize to six startups that most impressed the jury. Each startup took home a cash prize of CHF 100’000. 

The six winners are:

cellvie AG from Matzingen (TG) - Leveraging the Therapeutic Potential of Mitochondria
When the blood flow to a part of the body is interrupted, cells get damaged or die, even if blood flow is restored. Such cell injuries manifest themselves, for example, in heart attacks and strokes, killing millions of people every year. Harvard spinoff, cellvie, transplants viable mitochondria – the cell’s powerhouse – into distressed cells. It is like jump-starting a car, allowing the cells to re-establish their energy metabolism and survive. The startup’s mitochondria therapy will first be applied in organ transplant patients.

dimpora AG from Zurich (ZH) – Natural, High Performing Materials for Outdoor Clothing
Current outdoor clothing is chemically harmful to the outdoor environment and unhealthy for the wearer. ETH spinoff dimpora provides outdoor brands with a patented biobased material offering sustainable chemistry, seamless 3D assembly and high functionality, three of the most pressing issues of the clothing market.

LEDCity AG from Zurich (ZH) – Smart LED Lighting Systems to Lower Energy Use
Up to 40% of energy costs in commercial buildings are related to lighting. LEDCity equips light sources with sensors and AI-optimized algorithms to regulate lighting automatically. The startup’s plug and play system runs on a decentralized control unit, meaning no expensive management system is required. LEDCity’s solution drastically lowers energy use, cuts operating costs by up to 90% and reduces environmental impact.

Lumiphase AG from Zurich (ZH) – Optical Communication Chips to Manage the Exploding Data Traffic
The world is becoming increasingly digital, and data traffic is exploding. The infrastructure behind data centers and telecom networks is hitting a wall, and the industry needs a disruptive solution. Lumiphase develops novel optical communication chips that are very inexpensive, super compact and highly efficient. They allow the industry to replace today’s costly and power-hungry connections with a new generation of electro-optical links, ultimately enabling a new paradigm in datacenters‘ architecture and leading to more flexible, efficient and sustainable use of computing resources.

Testmate Health from Chavannes-de-Bogis (VD) – At-Home Test for the Four Most Common STDs 
The waiting time for test results identifying the four most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is three to seven days. Testmate Health is the first rapid at-home self-test that provides results in minutes, in an anonymous, convenient and easy manner. Results are scanned and uploaded to a paired app that guides patients towards appropriate follow-up if necessary. 

Volumina Medical SA from Epalinges (VD) – Minimally Invasive Breast Reconstruction After Cancer
Reconstructive surgery after breast cancer is currently costly, risky, highly invasive. Furthermore, results are either temporary and may look unnatural. EPFL spinoff Volumina Medical created AdiPearl, an injectable implant with the capacity to regenerate damaged tissues for breast reconstruction in a single minimally invasive procedure. AdiPearl will improve the quality of life by bringing breast cancer survivors a safe, effective, quality, and cost-efficient breast reconstruction solution.

Audience award for flowbone

At the event in Solothurn all twelve nominees pitched to audience which voted for the company with the most convincing pitch. This audience award went to Ulrike Kettenberger from flowbone. In addition to the winners, the other six nominees received a cash prize too. This prize was sponsored by former W.A. de Vigier Award winner Zurich Instruments. 

A sixth prize in upcoming years too

Thanks to a donation from our former president Daniel Borer and his family, the W.A. de Vigier Foundation handed out an extra prize this year! It’s one of the foundation’s goals to award more startup companies. The Borer Family will donate an extra W.A. de Vigier Prize in upcoming years. We’re very grateful for their generous commitment to supporting even more young Swiss entrepreneurs“, says Regula Buob, Managing Director of the W.A. de Vigier Foundation.

(Press release/RAN/SK)

Photo L-R: Abel Stefan, Lumiphase; Schueller Alexander, cellvie; Deuss Patrik, LED City; Stucki Mario dimpora; Kioutsoukis, Stéphanie, Testmate Health.