From digital personalized learning and gamified digital therapeutics to authentication enabled by facial recognition as well as reduction of cement usage through CO2 capturing as a Circular Economy solution, Antimicrobial LED light technology and real time reporting in FinTech and Insurtech, Kickstart is engaging on different levels to drive innovation activities in Switzerland. Over 50 high growth startups from 11 countries are participating this year.
Since it was founded five years ago, Kickstart has become one of the largest European innovation platforms and has initiated over 120 pilots and commercial projects between startups, established organizations and companies from various sectors. “Despite COVID-19, Kickstart has received high-quality applications from over 55 countries and overall there has been a significant increase of deeptech ventures with the appetite to scale in Switzerland," explains Katka Letzing, Co-Lead of Kickstart. "From September to November, the startups will have the opportunity to co-create in the form of Proof-of-Concepts, pilots and commercial projects with Kickstart partners, leading organizations and companies such as AXA , Coop , Migros , Swisscom , Mobiliar , ETH Zürich , City of Zurich , PostFinance , Credit Suisse and others. This year Kickstart is excited to bring on new partners, including Mövenpick , New Work SE , Energie 360 ° , Roche , Holcim Switzerland, Nespresso , Canton de Vaud and more. Startups will also have the opportunity to engage newly in the Romandy region next to Greater Zurich Area.
Startups participating in the 2020 program combine a high level of technological innovation with solutions that are intended to foster sustainable development. HealthTech startup Kaia Health , for example, offers digital therapeutics that create accessible, evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders. Food and Retail Tech startup, Vital Vio designs, engineers and manufactures antibacterial LED technology for a growing range of commercial and residential applications. FinTech startup Keyless develops solutions for biometric, simultaneously secure authentication. Insurtech startup MotionsCloud ensures the processing of insurance claims in real time. Smart City startup Neustark is working on the reduction of cement by turning CO2 into carbonated elements in the building industry, and EdTech and New Work startup, Coopacademy , provides personalized digital learning content for professional upskilling.
“Every year, Kickstart attracts startups that are leaders in their field. The program has given us the opportunity to work quickly and effectively with these emerging companies, to accelerate our own business ideas, to learn what this means for Migros and what benefits can be created for our consumers,“ says Eliana Zampogna, CTO of Migros Industry. "The commitment of our organization has increased significantly over the years. Our employees have the opportunity to think about business, innovation and technology in different ways and at different speeds than they do in their day-to-day work. This has strengthened the leadership and collaborative skills of our organization.”
Intrapreneurship Drives Established Companies to Generate New Business Growth and Creates Sustainable Cultural Change In addition to partnerships between startups and established organizations, Kickstart supports the advancement of innovation in companies themselves. Nine intrapreneurship teams, independent within the companies, will also be part of the 2020 cohort. Alongside Swisscom, Mobiliar, Migros, this year, new partners have been engaged with their internal teams, including PostFinance, Holcim Switzerland and Energie360°. “Without innovation there cannot be sustainable growth,” explains Alice Dal Fuoco, Innovation Manager at PostFinance. “To support the growth of our innovation activities we are delighted to collaborate with external innovation leaders such as Kickstart.”
Kickstart is a spin-off of Impact Hub Zurich , a globally connected community of entrepreneurs, techies, and creatives. The ecosystem innovation platform runs programs for startups, intrapreneurs, CEOs and established organizations, including a kickoff week in September and a six-week c ollaboration Sprint from September 30th to November 8th, during which the international teams will engage in Switzerland. Kickstart’s locations this year are the innovation space Kraftwerk in Zurich and Impact Hub Lausanne