Start Summit: Digital Summit for Entrepreneurship in St.Gallen

HSG students invite to the innovation conference for startups and technology

Founders, investors, students, researchers, large-scale entrepreneurs and coding fans will meet at the “START Summit x Hack” from March 19 to 27, 2021. Europe’s largest student-organized startup conference brings together the European startup and tech scene every year. Participants can negotiate the next round of funding, snag internships or fine-tune their programming skills during the “Hackathon”.

The START Summit x Hack 2021 will be hosting influential personalities from the startup ecosystem; among many others, Michael Seibel, Managing Director of Y Combinator, Verena Pausder from ada, Chairman of the Board of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Ola Källenius or mRNA pioneer Ingmar Hoerr. The largest student-organized conference for technology and entrepreneurship in Europe, put together by a team of over 70 students from the University of St.Gallen, will be held completely online for the first time ever this year. The team decided this early on in order to ensure that the summit can be held safely in March 2021. 

The challenge of an online platform 

Julian Shergill, Head of Online Event Management at START Summit x Hack, and his team quickly developed an interactive online platform that enables a novel conference experience. Formats such as pitching competitions, START Summiteer, investor speed dating and keynotes now offer participants even more opportunities online than offline. Visitors can also get in touch with the exhibiting startups and partners in an uncomplicated way at the virtual booths – a video call with the executives is just a few clicks away. Thus, the spontaneous and personal interaction that has characterized the START Summit x Hack in the past can also take place in the virtual space. 

Proven leaders share their insights 

The Corona crisis or the online format of this year’s conference do not harm the enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and innovation. Numerous established exponents from business and the startup ecosystem have confirmed their participation. Personalities such as Michael Seibel, Managing Director of Y Combinator and founder of the streaming platform Twitch, Verena Pausder, founder of ada and author of “A New Country”, Ola Källenius, HSG alumnus and Chairman of the Board of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, or Ingmar Hoerr, mRNA pioneer and CureVac founder, will share their extensive experience; they are helping to shape a new generation of entrepreneurs. The perspectives of science and politics are also represented. For example, guests will include Prof. Dr. Lars Feld, former chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts, and economics professor Prof. Dr. Dr. Ann-Kristin Achleitner.

Founder spirit enlarges network 

With each START Summit x Hack event, the network of the START Global initiative grows: Companies from the U.S. Silicon Valley are represented, as well as companies from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Israel and China. START Global is also internationally established as a student initiative: It is represented throughout Europe with nine branch offices, for example in Lausanne, Helsinki, Munich, Berlin, Warsaw and, since last year, also in Stuttgart. START Global was founded 25 years ago by HSG students. Today, START Global is Europe’s leading student initiative for entrepreneurship and technology, based at the University of St.Gallen. It has been connecting startups, investors, companies and entrepreneurial talents since 1996 to create the next generation of founders

Intensive cooperation with the HSG Learning Center

The START Summit x Hack has always been closely linked to the University of St.Gallen. The first edition 25 years ago, as well as many others, took place on the HSG campus. For reasons of space, the ever-growing event had to be moved to the Olma Halls. Now, in 2021, START Summit x Hack returns to the University of St.Gallen campus. “When the idea came up to hold the START Summit in the shell of the newly constructed Learning Center, we were immediately excited. Holding a prototypical conference in the ‘startup’ of our alma mater is an incredible fit,” says Dan Meier, project manager of START Summit x Hack. He is excited to now enter the “new territory of online conferencing” at the HSG Learning Center in March 2021. 

To better balance the event with work activities and thus take advantage of one of the greatest strengths of the online format, the 2021 conference will take place mainly in the afternoons and evenings. 

The detailed conference program including presentations, panel discussions and all other formats can be found through the following links: and

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