Over 30 Proof of Concepts (PoCs) and partnerships have been secured at Kickstart Accelerator, one of Europe’s largest no equity, multi-corporate accelerator programmes that culminates today – most of them with leading corporations. Coop, Credit Suisse, Empa, EY, Helsana, Migros, PwC Switzerland, Raiffeisen, Swisscom as well as UBS have entered into partnerships with the entrepreneurs participating in this year’s acceleration programme.
At tonight's Closing Ceremony, the established PoCs and other partnerships will be announced in addition to the winners in each vertical, who will receive a 25,000 CHF grant. The accelerator – an initiative of digitalswitzerland and operated by Impact Hub Zurich – saw 29 startups as well as an intrapreneur team from AXA Winterthur andSwisscom working in collaboration for 11 weeks in the specially designed co-working space Kraftwerk . Their goal was to develop, scale and promote their business in the Swiss innovation ecosystem with the guidance of industry experts and unparalleled access to internationally recognized corporations. The programme also supported by C4DR and evitive, focused on the fields of FinTech, Food, Smart Cities as well as Robotics & Intelligent Systems, which is reflective of Switzerland’s heritage innovation sub sectors.
PoCs to deliver better air quality, blockchain-based e-voting-systems and ways to avoid food waste
In the Fintech vertical, 14 PoCs and other partnerships were secured with Kickstart Partners:
The Food vertical saw four PoCs resulting from the programme:
The Smart Cities vertical resulted in seven PoCs and other collaborations:
The Robotics & Intelligent Systems vertical saw one confirmed partnership:
In addition to the cooperation between the startups and corporate partners, some of the startups have also started to cooperate with each other. For example, the intrapreneur team Rent`n`Share has partnered with the UK/Switzerland based startup Spark Horizon to offer a sustainable mobility solution. The FinTech startupsAAAccell , Blocko and Coincube confirmed partnerships to work on two individual blockchain pilots. Zurich-based Apiax is going to work with South African startup Libryo in the field of legal and insurance solutions. Meanwhile, CoinCube and CityFALCON will be working together on AI/blockchain solutions and London-based startup Nivaura , that took part in the 2016 programme, is starting a joint project with Adjoint from this year's batch focusing on blockchain solutions.
“It is great to see the number of partnerships between the startups and the corporates has increased significantly compared to last year,” said Patricia Schlenter, Programme Manager at Kickstart Accelerator. “This shows that Kickstart Accelerator has the potential to truly support international startups to gain access to the Swiss innovation ecosystem.”
International tech companies anchor in Switzerland
Several of the participating startups have already or are planning to bring units of their businesses to Switzerland. For example, the Ghana-based food tech startupFarmerline is planning to base their third office in Zurich and US-startup RADiCAL is opening the first office outside New York in Zurich to attract talent in the areas of AI and autonomous systems, with the Zurich office expected to serve as the company's research and development lab. In addition, US-startup COINCUBE is incorporating in Switzerland to implement projects in the digital asset space. More incorporations are being planned.
International and local funding floods in: More than 8 million CHF raised in 5 months
Furthermore, since the start of the programme in July this year, the Kickstart Accelerator startups all together have raised more than 8 million CHF funding from international and Swiss investors. “At the beginning of the programme, we set ambitious goals - and we are overwhelmed to even have exceeded them. Besides the promising cooperation agreements, several of the startups are also hiring Swiss employees or even plan to open a new office here," Programme Manager Patricia Schlenter said. "In addition, the quality of this year's startups was exceptionally high - as for example shown by the investor funds raised since the programme started. We are convinced that Kickstart Accelerator 2017 has once again contributed to strengthening the Swiss innovation ecosystem.”