ABA Newsletter (9 Nov 2016)

Date: Nov 2016

New Economic Package: Relief for SMEs, Research-Based Companies and International Professionals

Vienna, October 25, 2016 – After implementing a startup package in the summer designed to significantly facilitate the founding of national and international startups in Austria, the Austrian Federal Government presented a new “economic package” today to provide important impetus to strengthen Austria as a business location.

The objective of the package of measures, comprising a total volume of about EUR 400 million in public and private investments, is to mobilize communal and private investment activity and strengthen Austria as a business location in addition to fighting unemployment. The core elements of the initiative consisting of twelve individual measures include the following:

1. SME investment allowance

An investment growth bonus of 15% or 10% respectively will be granted for expansion investments made by small firms (up to 49 employees) and medium-sized enterprises (up to 250 employees). The incentive will be staggered according to the size of the company. This will provide EUR 175 million in direct funding to support about 10,000 firms in the years 2017 and 2018.

2. Further development of the Red-White-Red Card

Similarly, the “Red-White-Red Card” will be upgraded. This card facilitates the immigration to Austria of specialized and highly qualified employees from non-EU countries. The residence permit will be expanded in the future to encompass bachelor students and doctoral candidates. After completing their education or study visits in Austria, the graduates will be given a period of twelve months in the future (instead of six) to find a job in Austria.

3. Strengthening of R&D investments

If the new economic package is granted a positive assessment, it is likely that an increase will once again take place starting in the year 2018. The aim is to further improve the good business environment prevailing in Austria as a business and research location, and further stimulate R&D investments on the part of both domestic and international companies. Federal Chancellor Christian Kern (Social Democratic Party) and Vice-Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner (Austrian People’s Party) already announced additional measures which will be made public before the end of the year. The further measures will focus on the issues of deregulation, reducing bureaucratic hurdles and providing financial relief.

Miracor: Successful round of financing

The latest round of financing was led by Peppermint VenturePartners (Peppermint), which invested a total of EUR 7 million via its Peppermint CBF-1 fund (Berlin, Germany) together with existing investors (aws Founder Fund, BioMed, Earlybird, Delta and SHS).

"These additional investments will enable us to accelerate the realization of our plans and initiate our first clinical activities in the USA", explained Werner Braun, Chairman of the Board of Miracor.

Miracor Medical Systems based in Vienna is a medical technology company developing innovative solutions to treat serious heart diseases in order to improve short-term and long-term clinical results and reduce related costs. Miracor markets its Pressure-controlled Intermittent Coronary Sinus Occlusion (PiCSO®) Impulse System, the first and only coronary sinus intervention method developed to reduce the size of heart attacks and prevent the development of cardiac failure after an acute myocardial infarction.

3D printer produces individually tailored magnet fields

The production of permanent magnets, for example for magnet sensors whose magnetic fields have to feature specific pre-determined shapes, has been considered to be a highly complex matter up until now.

However, the Christian-Doppler (CD) Laboratory "Advanced Magnetic Sensing and Materials" at the Vienna University of Technology has now successed in producing complexly formed magnets using a 3D printer.

The magnets are designed on a computer and optimized until the magnetic field fulfills all desired requirements. If the magnets are made via an injection molding process, this requires the creation of a special mold which is very time-consuming and expensive for the production of small quantities. The researchers in Vienna have developed a magnet printer. They utilize a conventional, low-priced 3D printer and specially produced filaments of magnetic micro granulate held together by a polymer binding material. The material is heated in the printer and applied point by point in the desired locations using a nozzle. In this way a three-dimensional object is created composed of about 90% magnetic material and 10% plastic. The magnet designs created on the computer can be implemented by the 3D printer with an accuracy of well under one millimeter.

Parachutes for multicopters

In the future aerial vehicles will increasingly hover over our heads. Markus Manninger and Andreas Ploier, two students from Graz, Austria, are convinced of this. If a drone crashes to the ground, 15 kilograms of material come plummeting down.

ViraTherapeutics, based in Tyrol, will be responsible for the preclinical and clinical testing of the main product up until the conclusion of Phase 1 trials. Subsequently, Boehringer Ingelheim has the right to acquire ViraTherapeutics. On balance, according to both companies, the deal has a possible transaction volume of up to EUR 210 million. EUR 20 million will be invested in the cooperation in the first phase.

For this reason the students developed a rescue system for drones which are in danger of crashing. The system is designed to automatically identify a crash, and release a parachute. The drone will become slower and thus be brought safely to the ground, minimizing injuries and material damage.

At the European Satellite Navigation Competition organized by the European Space Agency ESA, the entry by the two young entrepreneurs recently won a prize on behalf of Austria.

The two inventors were supported by the academic startup center Science Park Graz. The prototype of the product for which a patent application has already been submitted is expected to be finished by the end of 2016. An “intensive phase test flights” is schedule for the coming year. The search is still underway for investors and cooperation partners.

The world’s very first hemp milk bar opened in Vienna

A company from the French-speaking region of Switzerland recently opened the first hemp milk bar in the world in Vienna with the support of ABA.

The store offers frozen desserts made of hemp milk as well as smoothies and snacks.

Why did the business people decide for Vienna?

“Vienna with its parks and gardens is known to be one of the greenest cities in the world. People here take care of themselves and their environment. And one should not forget that Vienna has inherited the coffee house culture with its long tradition of desserts & confectionary art”, the KONOI store operators say.

Europe’s most modern test bench system for fuel cells

Energy research has placed high hopes in hydrogen, which can be used to generate electricity in fuel cells and as the power drive in combustion engines, and for the most part emits no pollutants. However, there are quite a few technical challenges to be overcome before such a process becomes marketable.

A highly dynamic test bench system has now been set up at HyCentA at the Graz University of Technology, in which fuel cell systems are integrated in a virtual holistic system. The researchers can virtually test energy management concepts relating to fuel cells, and combine so-called “hardware in the loop” models on the test benches with real time data from batteries, e-motors and powertrains.

The main research issues are application-oriented, and range from energy and thermal management and vehicle integration to the investigation of dynamic behavior, cold starts and aging behavior of fuel cell systems.

Mikme seeks international investors

Mikme, a startup from Austria which developed an innovative microphone prototype also called Mikme, already created a furor last year, for example at the Pioneers Fetival. The first finished products will be delivered in the near future.

Mikme features a battery-powered high performance microphone with an integrated audio recorder which can be used via a person’s mobile phone, and which costs much less than comparable professional products. The idea developed by Philipp Sonnleitner, the founder of the Austrian startup, inspired more than 1,500 musicians, journalists and bloggers.

Mikme is a microphone which records in sound studio quality, and is very easy to use. The cube with the same size as a coffee cup has only one button for switching the device on and off. A patented Bluetooth transmission process enables data to be sent to the smart phone after recording (the device functions wirelessly), which can then be processed by a special App.

Sonnleitner has years of experience as a software and product developer for the former Austrian manufacturer AKG. His product has aroused interest on the part of media groups such as BBC and ProSieben.

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