As Kickstart Accelerator hosts its Investor and Final Demo Days, it also announces five Proof of Concepts (PoCs) between some of the programme’s corporate partners, including UBS, Credit Suisse, PwC, Swisscom and Raiffeisen Switzerland, and some of the 30 participating start-ups, from the programme’s four verticals; Fintech, Smart & Connected Machines, Future & Emerging Technologies and Food.
Five PoCs Confirmed with Leading European Corporates
Further to the PoCs, Coop and Migros have agreed to pilot tests with Faitron, which is developing a portable HeatsBox that heats up meals on the go and in the workplace. The trials will test the acceptance, performance and convenience of the product. The test results will be shared with Faitron to make further improvements to the device and determine possible commercialisation. Coop has also been working with Essento, a Swiss food production company that uses insects, within the framework of the Coop Sustainability Fund. Coop will indirectly work with EntoCube, the producer of crickets through, EntoCube’s collaboration with Essento in a joint venture.
Patricia Schlenter, Programme Lead at Kickstart Accelerator, said:
“Our ambition has been to give the participating start-ups the opportunity to test their products at scale with some of Europe’s largest corporates. The corporate partners’ willingness to collaborate and share their infrastructure, data and expertise with the start-ups is a win-win for industry innovation and the creation of an ecosystem that lives beyond the programme.
“The international talent in this year's cohort highlights the potential of Switzerland as a recognised digital tech hub on the European stage. We hope to continue building on our strengths in fintech, robotics and food among others and the increasingly supportive business and regulatory environment in Switzerland to enable entrepreneurs and established industry titans to come here to collaborate, innovate and grow their businesses."
20 International Investors descend on Zurich
Kickstart hosted an exclusive Investor Day comprising keynotes from André Borschberg, CEO at Pilot of Solar Impulse which created the first solar-powered airplane to circumnavigate the earth in July 2016, Anna Ukhanova, Technical Programme Manager at Google’s EMEA Research Centre and a roundtable discussion with leading international corporates, high net worth individuals, family offices, institutional investors and venture capital firms.
The 30 participating start-ups will also present their final products to a range of corporate partners and investors including AXA, World Economic Forum, Credit Suisse, Swisscom and UBS at the sold-out Final Demo Day to secure further investment in their businesses. Joachim Schoss, founder of the Scout Group, investor in companies such as ResearchGate and Moneybookers will give a keynote to the 2016 cohort. Representatives from institutional investors and top venture capital firms, including Balderton Capital, E Ventures, Hoxton Ventures, Index Ventures and Mosaic Ventures, will attend both the Investor and Final Demo Days. The Final Demo day will be live streamed on Kickstart Accelerators’ Facebook page today at 9:00 – 20:00 CET.
Rob Moffat, Partner of Balderton Capital, said: "Switzerland has the raw materials to become a leading European hub for both financial and insurance technologies. Zurich and Geneva are long-standing financial centres, but are yet to realise their full fintech potential. It is very positive to see the emergence of collaborative accelerators such as Kickstart, and innovative legislative moves such as the proposed 'fintech licence', as both will add fuel to Switzerland's fire."
2016 Cohort Facts and Figures and Kickstart Accelerator 2017
The 2016 Kickstart Accelerator launched on 22 August, with 30 start-ups comprising 89 entrepreneurs from 19 countries moving into ewz Unterwerk Selnau. In addition to the existing structure, the accelerator used 21 tons of steel, 150m2 of wood and 15,000 screws to turn this old transformer station to a working space for innovators. During the 11- week programme the cohort was mentored by 25 corporate partners to develop their products via 250 mentoring sessions and 80 open office hours. The start-ups received 150 introductions made by the programme to leading corporates and opened its doors to over 300 external visitors, including the US Ambassador to Switzerland and the Mayor of Zurich. The participants also drank an impressive 3,933 cups of coffee throughout the duration of the programme.
From 2017, a life sciences accelerator programme, BaseLaunch, will be offered by BaselArea.swiss in partnership with the Kickstart Accelerator. BaseLaunch will be based in the Basel region and is focused on healthcare start-ups.