Head of Marketing & Communications, Member of the Management Board
Tel. +41 61 295 50 21julia. meyer@baselarea. swiss
Kickstart Accelerator – one of Europe’s largest multi-corporate, zero-equity technology accelerators, an initiative of digitalswitzerland and operated by Impact Hub Zurich – has today announced its shortlist of 30 startups for its second cohort in the four verticals in Zurich. The startups were carefully selected from over 1,500 applications from all over the world. The top 60 were invited to participate in the final part of the selection process – a two day bootcamp in Zurich. At this stage, they had a chance to pitch their ideas to an experienced jury, comprised of industry professionals, investors and corporate representatives. In the end, 30 startups, two percent of all those that applied, were chosen to take part in an eleven-week program taking place from 4 September to 17 November 2017. Kickstart Accelerator will be based in Kraftwerk, an old transformer station which has been converted into a unique collaboration and innovation space in the heart of Zurich.
15 countries and almost half female co-founders
This year, startups from a total of 15 countries, including South Korea, South Africa, Finland, Ukraine and Singapore have made it into the program. Almost two thirds of the startups come from Europe, whereas five startups will travel to Zurich from the US, three from Asia, two from Africa and one from Australia. "It’s great to see applications from so many countries, wanting to build, challenge and scale their businesses here in the Swiss innovation ecosystem", said Patricia Schlenter, Program Manager at Kickstart Accelerator. "What I am particularly excited about is that 13 out of 30 startups at the Kickstart Accelerator have at least one woman as founder."
From Pollution Control to Blockchain-as-a-Service
The selected startups work on a variety of innovative ideas, with aspirations to either disrupt traditional industries or capitalise on new technologies. In the Smart Cities vertical, for example, there is a lot of interest around tracking and controlling pollution. Two of the selected startups, uHoo and Hawa Dawa, are working on products that help to measure air pollution both outdoors and indoors. Meanwhile, South Korean startup Blocko aims to deliver blockchain-as-a-service that would provide the environment with development tools and building kits for application developers who are not familiar with blockchain.
Find the full list of selected startups.
Interest from top-tier corporates grows
Kickstart Accelerator offers startup-friendly benefits packages. Unlike other leading programs, it takes no equity, provides no strings attached funding and gives access to some of the best known corporates locally and internationally. Having such strong corporate backing is one of Kickstart’s most significant differentiators and allows startups to benefit greatly from partnering with well established market players. Corporates on the other side, have strong interest too. For example AXA Winterthur and Swisscom formed a team and will join the program as intrapreneurs. Global consulting firm PwC returns this year as one of Kickstart Accelerator`s corporate partners.
Expansion to Lausanne and Basel
Alongside the four Zurich verticals, this year Kickstart Accelerator offers two additional verticals based in Lausanne and Basel. In cooperation with École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, Kickstart Accelerator has launched a new EdTech vertical for 10 international startups, who will be announced end of August. Furthermore, in recognition of Switzerland’s strong medical and research environment, Kickstart Accelerator has entered into a partnership with BaseLaunch to offer also a healthcare-specific vertical in Basel, which will announce participating startups in late summer.
About Kickstart Accelerator
Kickstart Accelerator invests in solutions that work for problems that matter. The program, an initiative of digitalswitzerland and operated by Impact Hub Zurich, is one of Europe's largest zero equity, multi-corporate accelerators with the aim of putting the Swiss innovation ecosystem on the global map of entrepreneurship. For 11 weeks, 50 startups come to Switzerland where they are provided with coworking space, seed funding as well as direct access to leading corporate partners, investors, mentors and experts. The program is open to the best international startups within the following six verticals: FinTech, Food, Smart Cities, Robotics & Intelligent Systems, EdTech and Healthcare. EdTech vertical is in partnership with EPFL and operated by venturelab. To offer the healthcare-specific vertical, Kickstart Accelerator has entered into a partnership with BaseLaunch, operated by BaselArea.swiss.
Kickstart Accelerator's corporate partners are AXA Winterthur, Coop, Credit Suisse, EY, Gebert-Rüf-Stiftung, Migros, PwC Switzerland, Raiffeisen Switzerland, Swisscom and UBS. The program is also supported by ABB, Accenture, Empa, ETH, Global Fintech Association, Helsana, Hilti, Maxon Motor, Metall Zug, Stäubli, Swiss Life as well as the city of Zurich, city of Bern and city of St. Gallen.