TwingTec and CALCISCO win the CHF 130’000 final kick08.04.2014 08:45
Four high-potential Swiss startups competed last Wednesday in a highly competitive final round in Lausanne. The jury awarded Twingtec and CALCISCO, each of them winning CHF 130’000, the maximum funding granted by venture kick. TwingTec, an EMPA spin-off, develops and markets a new wind energy technology. CALCISCO, based at the University Hospital Bern, develops and commercializes the first diagnostic blood test available for the early detection of calcification propensity in patient blood.
Find renewable energy is a main preoccupation for politics and citizens. One of the issues in this field is that the production costs of clean energy are still too high. Rolf Luchsinger, co-founder of TwingTec, thought about an affordable alternative to current wind energy solutions.
Revolutionary kites producing electricity
The higher you go, the stronger the wind is. With this in mind, TwingTec, developed a fully autonomous kite linked to a ground station that goes higher than traditional wind turbines. The ultra-lightweight kite flying figure eights over 100m is able to produce electricity for 45 Swiss households. Contrary to wind turbines, the installation of TwingTec doesn’t need a tower and foundation. This technology includes also a disruptive solution to make the kite launch and land autonomously when the wind isn’t blowing anymore. Rolf Luchsinger comments: “venture kick brought us the customer and investor perspective we needed to go further. The three venture kick stages pushed us to improve our case. It is different than other business plan competitions, it brings you to the next level thanks to the guidance of highly inspiring and dedicated people!” TwingTec is currently testing and optimizing their demonstrator. The venture kick funding will be used to design the first pilot system planned for next year.
New hope for kidney patients
Chronic kidney disease affects 5-10% of the population in developed countries. Vascular and soft tissue calcification leading to cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death of renal patients worldwide and is therefore a major challenge for health-care systems.
CALCISCO develops and commercializes the first and only diagnostic blood test available to determine the calcification propensity in blood, which will help to better treat these patients and improve their survival. This offers exciting new opportunities for the early detection of patients with an elevated risk of calcification, and for the direction and monitoring of their treatment. The novel blood test already showed a direct correlation with all-cause mortality in a clinical study over six years in 180 patients with chronic kidney disease. The Bernese biotech startup, founded by Matthias Meier and Andreas Pasch, plans to offer the test at Inselspital Bern already by the end of this year for clinical use. “venture kick was extremely helpful and inspiring to make the very best of our business idea. This, along with the most welcome financial support, continuously motivated us to move on and bring our venture on the right way”, adds Matthias Meier.
More about venture kick
Since the launch of venture kick on September 26, 2007, 310 project teams have benefited from CHF 11.98 million. It contributed to the creation of more than 2400 newly created jobs and a financing volume about CHF 464 million. These results show that this approach offers a great return for the Swiss economy and its enterprises. Thanks to venture kick, startups learned how to win customers and convince investors more rapidly. The program is open to all young talents with innovative ideas, which have not yet founded their company and are enrolled or employed at a Swiss University: students, postgraduates, researchers and professors.