2024/05/16 | Grants & Awards | Biomechanics

Celebrations at the StageUp Final

Success for ARTORG at the Stage Up final on 14 May. One of the two top 5 ARTORG teams, TightValve (CVE) took first place. Initiated by a heart surgeon, the team develops a novel surgical device for aortic valve repair allowing surgeons to measure intraoperatively if a repaired valve is really closing tightly. Another young ARTORG venture, CleanStent (UGE) ranked 4th together with its competitor.

The TightValve team ( Dr. med. Emmanuel Zimmer, Silje Ekroll Jahren and Pascal Buchs - Dominik Obrist missing here) presents the first prize of CHF 10'000. (© Entrepreneurship Center, University of Bern)

The StageUp Bern Business Creation Competition started with 69 handed-in project proposals in fall 2023. With the help of an experienced journey, the most promising 26 and then 11 were selected in various rounds, all proposed ventures profiting from personalized coaching and guidance in the process. The top 5 startup ideas featured two ARTORG teams: TightValve, which has come out of the Cardiovascular Engineering lab, and CleanStent, a venture from the Urogenital Engineering lab. Both ideas propose to use relatively simple engineering solutions to revolutionize the repair of aortic valves (prioritizing this before artificial valves) and improving the life quality of patients with ureteral stents (extending their durability from 4 to 24 months through special stent surfacing and external noninvasive cleaning).

Other finalists included Pathy - a software-as-a-service platform to simplify medical image analysis in histopathology (Institute for Tissue Medicine and Pathology, University of Bern), KIDEMIS - a novel fish and animal feed ingredient based on fermented mycoprotein to improve sustaibaility in fish farming, and painbreaker - an online course for people with chronic pain offering additional support and training.

After excellent pitches from all teams, TightValve managed to convince the jury with a thought-through concept born from an unmet clinical need. Second place was given to Pathy and third to KIDEMIS. All proposed projects showed a very high quality in both the business idea and the steps considered towards market entry as well as an excellent ability to convince the audience of their innovation. 

ARTORG has a very good track record in proposing promising ventures. In 2019, another ARTORG spinoff, PeriVision (AIMI) already ranked first at the StageUp competition and URODEA (UGE) making the second prize (https://www.bernerzeitung.ch/region/bern/die-preistraeger-wollen-im-herbst-ein-unternehmen-gruenden/story/11185906)