The «First Ventures» program finances four projects

13.07.2018 14:24

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The Gebert Rüf Foundation has approved the first four project proposals from students of universities of applied sciences for the «First Ventures» program. Each project leader will receive CHF 150,000 in funding to establish a spin-off.

Twice a year, Gebert Rüf Stiftung supports students and graduates of universities of applied sciences UAS who are developing an innovative business idea as their thesis topic. First Ventures offers a tailored coaching program and capital of up to CHF 150’000 to allow teams to establish their companies. The jury has now selected the first four projects.

“The winning projects show that with First Ventures the Gebert Rüf Stiftung addresses a funding gap. I am convinced that the programme will make a significant contribution to strengthening science entrepreneurship at universities of applied sciences that still has untapped potential. All candidates were very well prepared and impressed the jury with their professional appearance. The jury chose four promising projects from a wide variety of business areas”, comments Marco Vencato, program manager and deputy director of Gebert Rüf Stiftung.

Winning projects include:

1. Marius Disler with the project mikafi (Berne University of Applied Sciences)
Mikafi is a system consisting of a digital platform and a home-roasting machine. With the roasting machine users can roast coffee fresh and individually at home. The platform enables coffee lovers to easily order green coffee beans directly from the farmer and to share roasting profiles and finished coffee roasts with friends. The project is still in the early phase and has a clickable prototype of the digital service. The obtained funds will be used to complete the first proof of concept, to develop prototypes of the platform as well as of the roasting machine and to test it with customers.

2. Frank Rouiller with the project Box up (HEIG-VD)
Box Up is an autonomous locker that allows individuals to rent outdoor sports and leisure objects on public spaces. The concept brings to the population a maximum of relevant activities without having to buy, store or carry the material. Using their mobile phones, users can locate places with Box Up, get information on the availability of the objects that the lockers propose, rent materials and lock the compartment containing their belongings. Users also get rewards on their profile each time they use the platform. As a first step, Box Up targets public and semi-private spaces to work in partnership with local municipalities, as well as universities like the EPFL, which is interested in testing the concept on their campus as soon as the product is available.

3. Remo Waser with the project ColTES (Lucerne University of applied Science and Arts) 
Within the project 'ColTES', thermal energy storage devices for cooling applications will be developed. The technology offers an up to factor four higher energy density than existing storage solutions. Due to the high energy density and ability to produce and store cold when it is most efficient, the solution potentially leads to high efficiencies and low costs, which have not been reached by state-of-the-art systems. The proposed storage is based on phase change material capsules, arranged in a packed bed, which leads to a high scalability, modularity and flexibility. With the new funds, a prototype of the system will be developed and tested.

4. Kevin Tippenhauer PGCDSS (Berne University of Applied Sciences) 
This project targets to offer healthcare providers a holistic pharmacogenetic decision support service that can be integrated into the existing prescription systems. The service analyses individual genetic data in order to avoid severe adverse drug reactions in patients with certain genetic predispositions. When a physician makes a drug prescription that could be associated with a severe adverse reaction, the processing of the service results in an actionable alert. The service analyses individual genetic data and acts between the gene sequencing laboratories and the point of care. It transforms the complex analysis results to a user friendly and actionable warning message for authenticated and authorized users. With the financing, the team will develop a release candidate of the pharmacogenetic clinical decision support service.

The winners speak about their projects in a video by the Gebert Rüf Stiftung. Background information about First Ventures can be found in our interview with Marco Vencato.  

The second round of applications is now open until 15 November. More information and registration on the website of the program

(RAN / SK)

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