Background - 16.02.2022 - 00:00 

Countdown for the Vigier Award – two HSG start-ups among the hopefuls

On 17 February, 50 start-ups will make a pitch for the W.A. de Vigier Award, one of the most prestigious prizes for start-ups at the national level. Two Eastern Swiss start-ups with an HSG background are among the competitors: perseedU from St.Gallen and ConcentrAid from the Canton of Thurgau. The former was co-founded by HSG graduate Terence La, the latter was set up by the two doctoral students Elisabeth Essbaumer and Caroline Obolensky of the University of St.Gallen (HSG).

16 February 2022. Tomorrow, 17 February, 50 start-ups want to win the W.A. de Vigier Award. With an annual sum of CHF 500,000, the W.A. de Vigier advancement award is among Switzerland’s most highly endowed prizes. The start-ups, which have been selected from among approx. 200 applications and divided up into seven sectoral clusters, will present their business ideas in pitches. Thanks to a live streaming of the pitches, the general public will also be able to experience the event of the W.A. de Vigier Foundation. Eastern Switzerland will be present with two representatives of the ICT industry. We’ll keep our fingers firmly crossed for our two HSG start-ups perseedU and ConcentrAid.

Together for more flow

With ConcentrAid, the HSG’s doctoral students Elisabeth Essbaumer and Caroline Obolensky want to help students and professionals to boost their productivity. Particularly when there is no motivation, when deadlines are approaching or when someone likes to WFH but has lost the “flow”, a co-working environment may have a positive effect. In such a situation, people can book digital co-working sessions through the platform specially developed by Elisabeth Essbaumer and Caroline Obolensky. On a voluntary basis, platform users are brought together with people from the university or professional environment in fixed time slots. In this way, ConcentrAid does not only promise a productive experience, but also a happy and socially interlinked one. With the advancement prize of W.A. de Vigier, the team hopes to enhance its growth.  

Promoting talents thanks to crypto tokens

The perseedU start-up was founded by HSG graduate Terence La. Another co-founder is an HSG undergraduate, Marius Conzen. perseedU is a Web3 platform, a market for crypto tokens. A crypto token is a digital good which purchasers can buy with crypto currencies. Young talents can market their own branded crypto tokens in order to have their ambitions funded by supporters. Half of the purchase price is directly transferred to the talent. The other half is converted into a token, which the supporter can then keep to redeem rewards or sell. In contrast to shares, tokens do not entitle purchasers to a share in the company or project, but dividends may be paid on tokens. It is precisely this gap that the start-up perseedU wants to close.

Former participants in the HSG Entrepreneurial Talents programme

Both start-ups participated in the HSG Entrepreneurial Talents programme of the University of St.Gallen, perseedU founder and CEO Terence La a year ago, in Spring Semester 2021, while Elisabeth Essbaumer and Caroline Obolensky of ConcentrAid participated in the programme in the last autumn semester. “Naturally, such success by HSG start-ups on the national start-up stage always pleases us greatly and shows that our HSG Entrepreneurial Talents programme provides early-stage entrepreneurial projects at the HSG with expedient support,” says Diego Probst, Head of Startup@HSG.

HSG start-ups can still apply for the Talents programme in the coming spring semester at until 27 Februar.

Image: AdobeStock / Anton Gvozdikov

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