Three ETH start-ups win de Vigier Award

Three out of five awards for young entrepreneurs issued by the W.A. de Vigier Foundation have gone to ETH start-ups. The awards come with prize money of CHF 100,000 each.
Etienne Jeoffroy – FenX AG, Gnanli Landrou – Oxara AG, Alessandro Ofner – Microcaps AG (Bilder: W.A. De Vigier Stiftung)

From 192 submitted projects, the jury of the W.A. de Vigier Foundation picked their five winners, who were each awarded a prize of CHF 100,000. Three of them were established at ETH Zurich.

Sustainable construction

Oxara developed a chemical mixture that turns excavation waste into eco-friendly building material. This saves the building industry millions in landfill costs and provides it with enough sustainable material for construction.

FenX is also pursuing the idea of recycling waste: the company transforms industrial waste into insulation panels that are lightweight, non-flammable and also reusable.

Precise microcapsules

Microcaps, the third ETH start-up to receive a prize, developed technology with a wide range of applications that allows microcapsules to be produced in industrial quantities with high precision. Because all the capsules are the same size, they all behave in exactly the same way. The capsules make it possible to guarantee, for example, that drugs are released at precisely the right place in the body and at a particular rate.

Virtual awards ceremony

The jurors evaluated the companies according to criteria including the degree of innovation, social relevance, technical viability and the potential for job creation. Due to Covid-19, the awards ceremony took place via live stream from the studios of CNN Money Switzerland, and not in Solothurn as usual.

About the de Vigier Award

The W.A. de Vigier Award is the oldest prize for young entrepreneurs in Switzerland and – with annual prize money of CHF 500,000 (five equal prizes of CHF 100,000 each) – it ranks among the most financially significant awards in Switzerland. Over the past 31 years, the foundation has distributed over CHF 11 million in seed money across all sectors. This has resulted in around 90 successful start-ups, multiple IPOs, lucrative company sales and, above all, many new jobs.