HSG Founder of the Year 2021

 

 

The Founder of the Year 2021 – Dr. Dorina Thiess, Co-Founder of Piavita

 

Dorina holds a Ph.D. from the University of St. Gallen, during which she focused on Entrepreneurship. Besides conducting relevant research, she did not only coach the university’s nascent founders but was also the Managing Director of the "Center for Entrepreneurship". As such, she shaped "Startup@HSG", which is the first point of contact for startups, innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of St. Gallen.

The same year as she finished her Ph.D., she co-founded Piavita in 2016 (together with her partner Sascha Bührle). Since then, Piavita has been transforming the veterinary industry with the help of its digital remote health monitoring solution that targets the $300 billion equine health industry.

With a non-invasive, sensor-enabled hardware device and sophisticated software platform, the Piavet Solution automates and digitizes repetitive, manual tasks to help vets save time and improve patient outcomes. Today, Piavita is operating in Switzerland, Germany and in the US.

It is a true achievement to successfully start one’s own business, but it takes extraordinary capabilities to place a unique and break-through technology in an international market.

On behalf of the entire HSG Entrepreneurship Community, we would like to take this moment to once again express our gratitude for the cooperation and support of the Dr. Werner Jackstädt Foundation over the past decade. Only with the help of the Foundation could the eleven outstanding Founders of the Year been honored, who are a great inspiration for many (HSG) students today.

 

 


Neuer CAS-HSG: «Entrepreneurial Excellence»

Wir freuen uns sehr, euch ein kurzes Update zu unseren Weiterbildungs-Aktivitäten zu geben: Für den Sommer dieses Jahres planen wir an unserem Institut mit Prof. Dietmar Grichnik, Prof. Manuel Heß und weiteren hochkarätigen Professoren und Experten unter dem Titel «Entrepreneurial Excellence» ein neues deutschsprachiges Weiterbildungsprogramm (CAS) zu lancieren. Der neu konzipierte Zertifikatskurs basiert auf dem von uns entwickelten St.Galler Startup Navigator und berücksichtigt zugleich die Erfahrungen, welche wir im Rahmen langjähriger Kooperationen mit der Praxis an der Schnittstelle zwischen Corporates und Startups machen durften. Der Navigator bietet dabei einen systematischen Ansatz zum Aufbau neuer Unternehmen und eignet sich gleichzeitig ideal, Transformationsprozesse bei sowie unternehmerische Initiativen in bestehenden Organisationen zu unterstützen. Der Einbezug von Pionieren, Innovationsvorreitern und hochkarätigen Fachspezialisten ergibt ein einzigartiges Kursformat mit hoher Relevanz für die Praxis.

Weitere Informationen folgen in Kürze - Stay tuned.

 


In der Krise: Unternehmen sind bereit für die Veränderung – Interview mit Prof. Dietmar Grichnik

Die Wirtschaft hat unter der Corona-Krise bereits stark und nachhaltig gelitten. Wie stark hat es junge Unternehmen und Start-ups erwischt?

Wie schafft man es da noch seinen agilen Gründergeist zu bewahren?

Diese und weitere aktuelle Fragen beantwortet Professor Dietmar Grichnik im Interview mit der Deutsche Bank.

Hier geht's zum Interview.


Food-Forschung an der HSG – Ernährung im digitalen Zeitalter

Bei FoodTech geht es um die Anknüpfung an die Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) und damit einhergehend auf die Problematiken von Hunger, Gesundheit und Wohlbefinden mit möglichen Technologien zu wirken.

Lernen Sie mehr darüber in diesem kurzen Film über die Food-Forschung an der HSG.

 


Food-Forschung an der HSG

Die Forschung im Bereich von Food hat eine hohe Relevanz, weil es unter anderem um Ernährungssicherheit, um die Qualität der Lebensmittel sowie deren Verarbeitung und die Versorgung als solche geht. Dies sind grosse Herausforderungen in der heutigen Zeit.

In diesem kurzen Video erfahren Sie mehr, warum und woran wir – unter andren mit Prof. Dr. Dietmar Grichnik und Eduard Müller – an der Universität St.Gallen im Bereich Food forschen.

 

 


Bauchgefühl gegen Computer - was ist erfolgreicher?

Prof. Grichnik geht im Interview mit SRF auf die Frage ein, was erfolgreicher ist, das Bauchgefühl der Investoren oder der Computer.


Mensch versus Maschine bei Startup-Investments

An der Börse werden die meisten Investitionsentscheidungen bereits durch künstliche Intelligenz (KI) gefällt. Im Bereich der Finanzierung von Startups haben die Algorithmen jedoch noch wenig Einzug gehalten. Dort betreiben die Business Angels ihr Geschäft noch auf herkömmliche Weise: Sie werten selber Unternehmensdaten aus oder treffen Bauchentscheide. Das Center for Entrepreneurship der HSG (CfE-HSG) wollte herausfinden, ob denn KI nicht auch bei Startup-Investments die besseren Entscheide fällen kann als der Mensch.

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Grichnik und Dr. Torben Antretter erklären in einem Video, wie KI dabei helfen kann, Erfolgsaussichten von Startups zu analysieren.

Weitere Informationen zum Thema finden Sie in einem Artikel der Harvard Business Review und auf der Forschungsplattform Alexandria.

 


How ETH Zurich spin-offs strengthen the Swiss economy

Congratulations to Simon Hofer, Luca Fricker, Barbara Schmidt, Dr. Barbara Burkhard and Hanna Brahmefor for publishing their article on the economic impact of ETH spin-offs on the Swiss economy!

Read the whole study here.

 

A short summary:

As well as generating more jobs on average than other Swiss start-​ups, ETH spin-​offs are also acquired more frequently. With around 500 ETH spin-​offs now in existence, these businesses play a key role in the transfer of knowledge to the Swiss economy.

Ninety-​five percent of the spin-​offs are still located in Switzerland, with the majority based in Zurich, thus enabling them to boost the country’s economy and capacity for innovation. The group of 145 ETH spin-​offs analyzed as part of the study was shown to have created around 4,500 full-​time equivalent jobs. Each company provided about 30 positions on average, more than twice the average number for Swiss start-​ups.

The group analyzed – a good third of all ETH Zurich spin-​offs – generated almost CHF 900 million in revenue in 2017. The financial figures therefore clearly show that ETH spin-​offs represent an attractive investment option, with the money multiple at 3.6 on average. The overall equity value of this group is almost CHF 5 billion – extrapolated to all ETH spin-​offs, the value would be closer to CHF 10 billion. ETH spin-​offs are much more likely to make an exit than other Swiss start-​ups.

ETH Zurich built up its support for spin-​offs early on, in part through ETH transfer, e.g. with the technology transfer office founded in 2005. Detlef Günther, Vice President for Research and Corporate Relations, states «We want to keep improving our support services for spin-​offs over the next few years – in close dialogue with the companies».


Startup Navigator Webinar with Prof. Dr. Dietmar Grichnik und Assistent Prof. Dr. Manuel Heß

I'm happy to introduce you to our English version of the Startup Navigator

 

In this webinar, you will ...

... learn about the Startup Navigator model and how it can help new business ventures to succeed.

... get to know the interactive elements of the Navigator App that engage students in any hybrid teaching setting,

... learn how the book and tools help you to build an effectively applied entrepreneurship class from zero to one on any student level.

 


HSG Startups and the coronavirus crisis

Startup@HSG at the University of St. Gallen is the first contact point for young entrepreneurs, soon to be founders, and everyone interested in entrepreneurship.

Since 2017, the University of St.Gallen has been awarding a Spin-off label under the supervision of the Center for Entrepreneurship. Startups awarded by the Spin-off label (official HSG startups) build a strong community and allows one to track business developments within this broad sample group.

From June until August, we started a questionnaire about how the HSG startups coped with the current coronavirus crisis. The below-shown findings are based on a representative survey among these HSG Spin-Offs.

 

About the HSG startups

Spin-offs operate globally with a strong focus on the European area, followed by the USA.

Almost all Startups examined in this survey have their headquarters in Switzerland, Germany, or Austria. Their focus on core operations lies in the DACH region. However, with branches and, subsidiaries they are active on an international level (see images).


Image 1: Geographic location of the sample of HSG Startups

Despite the crisis, HSG startups perform comparatively well: In comparison to 2018, the share of startups with an annual revenue higher than CHF 500.000 has been growing by a total of 6% to 41%.

 

The effects on the startups

Only 12% of startups have not been affected by the current crisis. Among the majority of affected startups, the reaction and respective outcomes differ significantly. Two out of three ventures had to record decreases in revenue, in some cases to an extent threatening their existence. The other cluster of startups emerges from the crisis as winners. They have been managing to identify and leveraging opportunities as well as developing new branches of business. Furthermore, they are a vital element in contributing to crisis response on a societal level. Especially in technologically terms, HSG startups contribute significantly to progress in the fight against the coronavirus, for example, the “GesundZusammen” initiative from the HSG Founder of the Year Julian Teicken.

Similar to the economy as a whole, startups see themselves as highly affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus crisis has affected all areas of life and business. Like almost all types of companies, startups are strongly affected by the short, medium, and long-term effects of the current crisis. Unlike most of the large players, startups have limited access to external financing in the form of short-term bridging loans and have only limited cash reserves internally. This means they very much depend on their investors and detailed and well-planned liquidity planning.

Not only is the limitation of external financing access a challenge but also the changes in customer behavior and the correlating breakdown of demand to which the startups must adopt. Also, new legal restrictions limit entrepreneurial freedom and, as well as the entire economy itself has been affected by the crisis, shortcomings in supply chain management are a real challenge.

 


Image 2: Emerging challenges

 

The majority of startups have been affected - predominantly negative. Only 12 % of startups have not been affected by the crisis at all. The most mentioned effect, 60% of the participating startups said so, was a decrease in sales volume.

In addition to the breakdown of revenues, current and potential investors showed reluctance to invest large volumes of additional funding into startups. Especially finding new investors became very challenging. To a certain extent, existing investors have demonstrated commitment to supporting their startups. It has been shown that lead investors are more committed than non-lead investors. 37% of the participating startups asked their investors actively for support. In total, 10% of investors re-invested in prior investments, 7% of the participating startups lost at least one of their current investors. However, almost three-fourths is currently not running up for funding rounds.

 

Meeting emerging challenges

The key to meet these emerging challenges is for companies to be innovative and agile and use their network for help. In comparison to most large established companies, startups show a high level of intrinsic agility and an affinity for innovation. This enables them to adjust relatively quickly to environmental changes. Whereas established companies in many cases try to overcome the crisis by sitting out, startups show a higher degree of proactivity and active opportunity exploration. Agility, lean organizational structures, and openness to innovation are key to quickly adjust the current business model to overcome emerging challenges. 27% of startups adapted their business model.

The flexibility of the business model helps startups to take advantage of new opportunities.

A large percentage of startups could identify new opportunities during the time of the crisis. Changes in perceived business opportunities are strongly linked to partial flexibility with regard to business model details and internal agility. Our survey showed that startups especially during the current crisis attach great importance to the identification and utilization of new opportunities. 43% identified new sustaining business opportunities during the crisis. 47% identified new opportunities, which, however, will not outlast the crisis.

Startups showed a high level of activity in proactive crisis management. Concepts for overcoming the crisis came mainly from the founders or employees, which shows a high level of commitment among all members of the Startup, especially in challenging times. Therefore, startups show strong action orientation: 80 % of the upcoming ideas have been implemented which is highly effective as 85 % of these ideas are helping the startup to manage the crisis.

Based on the overall crisis strategy, measures differ among startups. Trends for both expansion and restriction focused approaches have been mentioned. However, remote work has been the most common measure to adapt to the crisis, followed by the introduction of short-time work which has been applied by over 40% of the participating startups. More than one-quarter of the startups also adopted their business model.

Even all the different measures have been applied, there are differences in the outcome for the startups. Some startups have been hit extraordinarily hard by the repercussions (f.e. startups with tourism & travel industry focus). But also, some succeeded in maintaining sufficient cash flow, and others could leverage their resources to even capture additional opportunities and safeguard growth. Overall, only 7% of the startups had to dismiss employees, but 20% of the startups were recruiting new employees. In total, 49 employees were recruited by the participating HSG startups during the period in which the survey took place.