Since its launch in 2015, Kickstart has grown into one of the largest European innovation platforms, implementing open-innovation for later-stage startups with numerous leading Swiss and global companies. This year, it is expanding into Romandy. “We are increasingly expanding our network with our current and new partners across Switzerland to grow the hub for deep technology and sustainability,” says Katka Letzing, Co-Lead of Kickstart Innovation, explaining the move.
The application period for this year’s innovation program is from 6 April. “Sustainable solutions for the challenges of the digital and globalized age cannot be discovered in isolation. Rather, innovation needs different players. Only the fusion of the technological vision of the startups combined with the expertise of successful companies and institutions can move us forward,” Letzing continued. The platform is open to high-growth start-ups from Switzerland and abroad in the fields of Circular Economy, EdTech & New Work, FinTech & InsurTech, Food & Retail Tech, HealthTech, and Smart City & Technology.
Focus: Circular Economy
This year, Circular Economy is a new initiative, tackling new solutions across all verticals. This will be implemented in cooperation with Impact Hub Switzerland, as part of the Circular Economy Transition initiative. “The goal is to support startups working with the organizations in public and private sectors in Switzerland and beyond, to implement more circular models and practices. Innovations based on technologies can significantly accelerate the transition to a circular economy in Switzerland,” according to Holger Schmid, Swiss Director of MAVA Foundation, which supports Kickstart.
Growing number of Partnerships
In the last four years, Kickstart has initiated more than 120 pilots and commercial projects between start-ups and established organizations from various industries such as AXA, Coop, Migros, Mobiliar, Swisscom, City of Zurich, ETH Zürich, PostFinance, Credit Suisse and many more. Mobiliar has been a partner of Kickstart for the second consecutive year with increasing engagement across all verticals. “Kickstart connected us with many interesting startups and we did Proof of Concepts with Statice and Swiss-based advaisor AG last year. We are looking forward to even more projects in the fields of InsurTech and others,” says Christoph Hunziker, Innovation Lead at Mobiliar.
The number of partners has continued to grow from year to year, and to date over 140 partners have been actively involved in the Kickstart program. In addition, more than CHF 200 million have been raised by alumni of Kickstart.
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