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Getting a foothold in the Swiss Health Valley: a Vanguard-alumni perspective

In July 2022, PeriVision was selected for Biopôle’s six-month Vanguard Accelerator, a  programme that boosts a company’s innovation and business strategy. The digital health start-up, which helps eye doctors save vision using artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality and the cloud, was offered the full programme package. Having completed the accelerator experience in early 2023, we asked Patrick Kessel, CEO and Co-Founder of PeriVision, to share what the company has accomplished in recent months and how the Vanguard Accelerator has helped.

Vanguard Accelerator_Patrick Kessel, CEO and Co-Founder, and Dr. Serife Kucur Ergunay, CTO and Co-Founder of PeriVision, stand with Pierre.-Jean Wipff, Director of Innovation and Partnerships_Biopole Lausanne 2023
Pierre-Jean Wipff, Director of Innovation and Partnerships hands over the Vanguard Accelerator Certificate to Patrick Kessel, CEO and Co-Founder, and Dr. Serife Kucur Ergunay, CTO and Co-Founder of PeriVision.

What stage is PeriVision at now?

PeriVision’s first target market is perimetry, or visual field testing, in glaucoma patient diagnosis and monitoring. Our solution addresses the large unmet need for higher workflow efficiency in practices and hospitals, while offering deeper clinical insight to better manage eye disease. We expect to launch our first product – commercial VR headsets that incorporate our algorithms to perform fast and reliable visual field tests – in Q1 2024.

How has the Vanguard Accelerator programme helped PeriVision? 

The Vanguard support included expert coaching. We worked closely with Pierre-Jean Wipff, Innovation and Partnerships Director at Biopôle SA, having monthly catch-up calls. He was excellent at leveraging his network and providing an overview of the Lausanne innovation ecosystem, connecting us with many exciting start-ups and experts in eye care. We learned a lot from these exchanges.

One such connection was Daniel Céfaï, an Innovation Project Manager and member of the Operational Management Team at H4 Innovation Hub (H4VD), which is part of Institute La Source. Daniel collaborated with us to develop our product, helping us to conduct tests and interviews with eye doctors and glaucoma patients at L’Hôpital ophtalmique Jules Gonin and H4VD. His insights greatly improved the structure of our questions for these user tests and interviews. He also offered us valuable business knowledge. Through the user testing with Jules Gonin, we received great feedback on the usability of our product, as well as ideas for new features to incorporate.

Another area that Vanguard really assisted us with was fundraising. We were introduced to various investors and venture capitalists. Pierre-Jean contributed here too, helping us to optimise our pitch deck to make the most of these opportunities.

The programme also included personalised follow-up from a Vanguard expert about specific business strategy topics. In our case, we had several calls with Sasha Cahill, a digital health and digital therapeutics expert, who offered us her serial-entrepreneur perspective. We were also introduced to other ophthalmology start-ups in the region. We were able to learn from these new connections and increase our understanding of the market.

We were able to learn from these new connections and increase our understanding of the market.

Patrick Kessel, Co-founder and CEO

How was your experience of the Biopôle campus and community?

As part of the programme, we were assigned a desk at the Digital Health Hub co-working space. We didn’t actually use it as we have our own office on site already, but we did attend webinars, workshops and have coffees with our neighbour Thierry Weber from Vivactis Switzerland – it’s good to be part of bigger community.

The holistic approach that Biopôle is fostering is extremely valuable. We’ve benefited from having great premises here, in a Swiss centre for innovation. For example, our position here helped us to develop collaborations with the renowned Jules Gonin eye hospital as mentioned above, and with EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), which helped us launch two R&D projects to improve our platform. We’ve also had access to additional capital through the Biopôle Start-up Fund, which we received at the end of 2022. Finally, the network of companies in the healthcare industry here allows for exciting peer-to-peer exchanges. We can definitely see ourselves growing and expanding our team here in the long term.

What is the next big challenge for your company?

In 2024, we’ll be ramping up commercialisation of our first product in the US and Europe and working on launching our second product, AI-based diagnostic and patient management software. One challenge will be fundraising – finding the right investors to finance our R&D and the planned commercialisation. We will also need to build traction for our product through collaborations with key opinion leaders and distribution partners in the field – something that the Vanguard Accelerator has prepared us well for.

Are you the next start-up to join the Vanguard Accelerator?
PeriVision is one of several start-ups that have been selected for the Vanguard Accelerator. Other supported companies include biped.ai, Gabi SmartCare, Impli, Resilient AI, Sensemodi, XANA, Consulto, Pneumoscope and PhenomX Health. If you’d like to apply, fill in the application form here.

The next deadline is 30th August 2023.

Apply now
Patrick Kessel
Co-Founder and CEO of Perivision
Patrick Kessel holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen (HSG), including an exchange semester at Singapore Management University (SMU), and a MSc. in Political Science (Distinction) from the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). He is also a certified Scrum Master. Prior to joining PeriVision, he advised medtech, biopharma and insurance clients on business development, go-to-market strategy, digitization and operations optimization at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). While at BCG, he initiated the firm’s tech startup support program “BCG Startup Unlock” to provide pro-bono strategy consulting to Swiss technology startups.
Vanguard Accelerator
The Vanguard Accelerator is a free six-month programme, run by Biopôle SA and its partners, to help promising digital health-oriented projects supercharge their innovation and take their business strategy to the next level.

This immersive programme gives early-stage start-ups the opportunity to work with diverse and experienced digital health experts, who can advise on business plans and strategies. They include clinicians, nurses and pharmacists, alongside regulators, investors and IT specialists, all ready to offer their expertise. Start-ups selected for the accelerator programme benefit from exclusive real-world insights for business hypothesis testing and networking support to bring their digital health innovation to life.

Learn more


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