Kickstart’s Drive for Innovation: 53 Scaleups & Intra-Team Finalists will Develop Innovative Collaborations

Suki Dusanj-Lenz
July 27 2021
Fostering entrepreneurial partnerships for a tech-led future.

Kickstart will advance the innovation ecosystem with 53 high growth startups and intrapreneurship teams selected for the 2021 core program from 20 countries including Switzerland. From powering predictive health to connectivity and risk prevention as well as reinvention of event gatherings in the era of social distancing, Kickstart is enabling innovation decision makers to elevate their solutions with scaleups from around the world to tackle some of the most complex and critical issues of today.

Zurich, 27th July 2021 - In its 6th year Kickstart is one of the largest European Innovation Platforms, bridging the gap between startups, corporations, cities, foundations and universities to accelerate partnerships and deep tech innovation. Since 2015, Kickstart has supported over 200 startups and facilitated over 170 deals in the form of collaborations in over 40 countries, raising more than CHF 850 million in investments so far.

Kickstart supports partners in identifying key topics and opportunities for open innovation. A select number of the best national and international startups and scaleups are chosen each year to participate in a 10 week program to facilitate collaborative innovation partnerships and commercial deals 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,  la Mobilière, ETH Zürich, City of Zurich, PostFinance, Credit Suisse, Sanitas, Canton de Vaud, MAVA Foundation and others, reports Katka Letzing, Co-Founder and CEO, Kickstart Innovation. “Innovation without silos remains an important aspect in collaboration between scaleups and organizations to create meaningful commercial deals. This year we have engaged over 70 global hubs to nominate scaleups that can market in Switzerland and beyond. Our finalists are coming with a background of over CHF 400 million of funding, which is great for the Swiss and European innovation ecosystem.” This year, Kickstart also welcomes new partners, including Sanitas, CSS Insurance, Switzerland Global Enterprise and more. In addition, Kickstart is growing its presence in the Romandy region together with Impact Hub Lausanne and Impact Hub Geneva.

Participants go through a stringent shortlisting process that includes alignment workshops, a partner safari and pitches with corporate and ecosystem experts. This year, over 200 judges selected the participants for the final stage of the program with Circular Economy, sustainability and digitalization at the forefront of their focus areas including EdTech & New Work, FinTech & InsurTech, Food & Retail Tech, HealthTech, Smart City & Technology, as well as Intrapreneurship.

Scaleups leading the way for a more circular economy trailblazing in their field include Food & Retail Tech startup Kern Tec a B2B producer and processor of fruit seeds from cherry, apricot, plum and many more. These raw materials are carefully upcycled into high-quality products such as new baking ingredients to sustainable cosmetic oils. Shaping the future of seafood is Aqua Cultured Foods, a fungi-based seafood alternative. 

With the world becoming more urbanized it is cited that 65% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. Capturing timely, relevant and actionable data about the urban environment is crucial for cities to keep functioning. In Smart City & Technology, building a more autonomous future includes startups Univrses and RUNWITHIT Synthetics, applying synthetic intelligence to improve the way the world experiences technology, calculating interconnecting futures with cutting edge technology. 

While the global digital world of work has drastically changed, in order to stay competitive and tackle global challenges, like the climate crisis or the Corona pandemic, companies need to transform to new organisational forms that are more agile. EdTech & New Work startup Mentessa is a solution to innovative mentoring and talent development. HealthTech startup Huma creates insights that lead to tangible improvements in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The team works alongside scientists, healthcare organizations, pharma professionals, and governments to help provide better care and better research by gathering real-time health data. 

“Every year, Kickstart attracts scaleups that are leaders in their field. La Mobilière has for several years been a partner of the program, which gives us the opportunity to efficiently identify and test potential solutions for business challenges in a proof-of-concept stage. We are delighted to collaborate with innovation experts such as Kickstart to support our internal innovation activities,” says Christoph Hunziker, Head of Innovation at La Mobilière.

EdTech & New Work  #Kickstarters21     

Braindate/e180 (Canada) is the leading solution for peer learning and companies who want to provide more than traditional networking for their people. Employees and event attendees use Braindate to book one-one-one, group and fishbowl meetings, from a crowd-sourced topic market, and meet live or in-person.

Cognician (U.S.A.) enables large organizations to activate behavior change at scale by creating personalized, data-driven digital experiences that are grounded in action, follow-through, reflection, and social engagement. With our multi-day challenges, you can drive measurable change in 30 days or less.

Cord (United Kingdom) adds collaboration everywhere. It turns any SaaS product, internal tool or webpage into multi-player, so you can see your colleagues, leave comments, annotations, tasks, collateral and more in context. Teams using Cord stay on the same page. They're in flow state, at their peak effectiveness.

Evrlearn (Switzerland) is the community to get matched with curated re- and upskilling opportunities to build future-proof skills and to present the skills to get the jobs you love.

Games for Business (Hungary) is an award-winning gamified digital learning platform. They help companies transfer knowledge in an employee-centric and engaging way while improving learning performance at the same time. In order to support sustainability, they will plant 1 real tree for each user license we sell.

gigl (United Kingdom) is a recruitment / HR tech platform for companies who rely on hiring engaged, customer-facing staff. gigl is the mobile and video first job platform and is quickly becoming the gen Z route to finding work.

Scribe (U.S.A.) helps organizations understand, document, and optimize how work gets done.  Simply by watching a user work, Scribe automatically generates step-by-step, written process guides.

Mentessa (Germany) drives know-how exchange & connection in the new world of work. They build a deep-tech matching for skill-based matching that connects your community for mentoring, diversity & know-how exchange, as well as through individual consulting projects.

 FinTech & InsurTech #Kickstarters21     

acodis (Switzerland) can convert any document in any language into valuable structured information in just a few seconds, thus reducing manual copy/pasting tasks.

canveo (United Kingdom) is driven by the belief that legal and contracts shouldn't hold businesses back. Through their SaaS platform, they enable businesses to get contracts done faster, without friction, and with the confidence of making sound legal decisions, every time.

CYSEC (Switzerland) provides ARCA Trusted OS, a software-based solution for protecting containerized platforms, applications and workloads. This solution protects highly sensitive data on premise, in the cloud or in embedded platforms. Their solution is being used to secure Finance, IoT and Space applications.

Digital Insurance Group (Holland) an insurtech partner to some of the biggest insurance groups globally (e.g. Zurich) and their distribution partners (banks or Telco’s). They help them grow their business by adding new sales channels or launch new service propositions e.g. on wellbeing or mobility.

Floodlight (U.S.A.) are a data platform for investment professionals seeking to align money with impact. They groom and present unbiased ESG+ data to enable professionals to easily meet client demands, make better decisions, and win/retain more relationships.

Helvengo  (Switzerland) Their mission is nothing less than being the most suitable and convenient insurance product provider for SMEs in Europe. Their modular products cover what's recommended in their AI-based risk assessment, tailor-made for each startup, SME and can be closed fully digitally & in real-time.

myEGO (Germany) is a digital, blockchain-based platform for self-sovereign identity (SSI) management - the user can control the ownership of his personal data and determine with whom and what information he wants to share with third parties.

Nect (Germany) is an IT company based in Hamburg. Founded in 2017 by Benny and Carlo, Nect is known for developing state-of-the-art trust services based on its AI-based and patent-pending Robo-Ident technology, with it's core product Selfie-Ident a fully automated identity verification technology.

Neuroprofiler (France) helps financial institutions assess their clients' investment profiles (ESG, Risk...) through behavioural finance and gamification to boost their sales, in line with LSFin/MIFIDII regulations.

riskine (Austria) develops customer centric digital solutions for the insurance and financial advice, based on the latest AI and graph- technologies. The solutions focus on the risks, wishes and dreams of the end customers & are individually customizable and multichannel usable.

riskwolf (Switzerland) enables insurers to create simple, reliable products quickly to insure the emerging risks in the digital economy.

unsupervised (U.S.A.)  is the leader in data capitalization management (DCM). Their platform automatically analyzes data and discovers your biggest problems and opportunities to unlock the strategic value of your data.

Food & Retail Tech #Kickstarters21     

AquaCultured Foods (U.S.A.)  has developed the first whole-muscle cut seafood alternative created through the process of microbial fermentation.

BRüSLi GmbH (Austria) is the first crunchy cereal out of bread which combines the unique taste of bread with spices, nuts and berries to a new breakfast experience. It not only tastes delicious, but is also good for the environment, as every kilo of eaten BRüSLi saves as much as 1k of bread and 1410l water.

Invaio Sciences (U.S.A.) is a multi-platform technology company that unlocks the potential of our planets interdependent natural systems to solve pressing agriculture, nutrition & environmental challenges. Their purpose is to make agriculture more sustainable by solving performance and delivery challenges

Kern Tec (Austria) In Europe, over half a million tons of apricot, plum and cherry stones go to waste. With their technologies Kern Tec transform this waste into new nuts in the F&B industry. These very tasty, upcycled resources are the base for the non-dairy sector, plant-based proteins, nougats, oils and many more.

Oscillum (Spain) designs biosensors capable of monitoring the state of food in real time. SmartLabel is biodegradable labels capable of visually alerting the quality, freshness and safety of food, for meat and fish. Technology is functional both in a closed container and when the consumer has opened it. 

Plant Jammer (Denmark) Creates smart recipe experiences based on a gastronomical AI start inspires home cooks to cook more sustainably, reducing food waste and meat consumption. With tools/widgets that can be used by food brands, retailers, veggie boxes, they want to reach 1 billion home cooks.

Tide Ocean SA (Switzerland) is a Swiss company collecting 100% ocean-bound plastic and turning it into a valuable raw material. The award-winning upcycling method has been developed in collaboration with the Swiss University of Applied Sciences. #tide does not process virgin plastics.

Tsenso (Germany)  a B2B hardware-AI solution that assesses the true quality, safety and shelf-life of food from farm to fork. It turns existing data sets of quality assurance and supply chain monitoring into valuable information for brand differentiation, to reduce losses and to improve profitability.

Yoordi (Switzerland) enables guests to order and pay in house and on your website for delivery, take away and much more. With Yoordi, you are available for your guests at any time. Thanks to self-ordering and payment, they reduce the hassle for your service team and maximize guest satisfaction.

HealthTech #Kickstarters21     

Clever.Care (Switzerland) Clients and their relatives can communicate and coordinate with their Spitex easily, directly and securely.

Fjuul Vision (Finland) turns data into engaging insurance, health service, and corporate wellbeing offerings that deliver measurable results and create lasting impact.

Happitech BV (Netherlands) Medical grade monitoring without the medical cost. Cost-effective, convenient and accurate solution to problems faced by telehealth organisations.

Huma Therapeutics (United Kingdom) is transforming healthcare and research globally. Their digital ‘hospital at home’ and decentralized clinical trial platform use real-time health data from smartphones to help patients, clinicians, researchers, and healthcare systems

Oto (United Kingdom) a science-based therapy programme created by experts to take control of your tinnitus.

Regimen (USA) is a science-first health program that empowers you to take care of your erection – naturally

Remente (Sweden) is a mental wellbeing app for individuals and businesses. They help you build mental resilience, improve productivity and maintain motivation with their psychology based tools for individuals and the workplace.

VAY AG (Switzerland) measure the velocity of specific human body parts to analyze movement speed and count repetitions.

Smart City & Technology #Kickstarters21     

Builtrix (Portugal) helps companies uncover energy-saving opportunities in their properties using data analytics and digital twins. They predict the energy consumption and production (from renewable sources) and provide actionable recommendations to save on operation & energy costs and reduce the Co2 footprint. (Germany) brings IoT, AI and Data Science to natural ecosystems for biodiversity and climate remediation. They apply sensing technology in close-to-nature forestry, regenerative agriculture as well as in green cities applications for a better management, a greater transparency and risk management.

Labtrino (Sweden) develop an intelligent platform for smart water management, including monitoring of water consumption and leakage detection. They seamlessly integrate their patented non-invasive design with their machine-learning algorithms to extract relevant and valuable insights for any stakeholder.

RUNWITHIT Synthetics  (Canada)  creates synthetic digital models of complex systems to support strategic decision makers facing disrupted futures in mobility, energy and resilience, bringing to life hyperlocalized scenarios for cities and regions, their people, traffic, infrastructure, policies, technologies, even disasters.

Soobr (Switzerland) offers optimized and demand-oriented planning and execution of cleaning tours based on data and artificial intelligence.

Univrses (Sweden) automate the process of data collection, using smartphones as sensors. Cities, municipalities and fleets have very little data about traffic signs and road conditions. Data collection is often manual, time consuming and economically inefficient.

Intrapreneurship Nurtures Sustainable Cultural Change in Established Corporations

Intrapreneurship can help accelerate both growth and innovation in organizations, recognizing talent and the bid for a big idea as a worthwhile investment. It’s an ideal way to build a sustainable ecosystem that stands the test of time, allowing entrepreneurs to retain freedom while getting paid all while bettering the organization they’re associated with. 

From the first selection, eight intrapreneurship teams will also be part of the 2021 cohort representing Swisscom, la Mobilière, Migros and PostFinance this year with possible additions from the second selection deadline of applications by the end of August.

INFRABOX, Swisscom (Smart City & Technology)

Life Sensor, Swisscom (HealthTech)

Miira, PostFinance (FinTech & InsurTech)

MI-Share, Migros (Food & Retail Tech)

MITA, Migros (EdTech & New Work)

Swiss Climate Challenge, PostFinance & Swisscom (Smart City & Technology)

TWINTECH, Mobiliar (Smart City & Technology)

XR Meeting, Swisscom (EdTech & New Work)

Download English version press release here: Kickstarters21

Download the German version of the press release here: Kickstarters21_DE

For more information, please contact: 

Suki Dusanj-Lenz, Global Senior Communication Manager

+41 77 529 63 26


About Kickstart

Kickstart is one of Europe's largest zero equity, multi-corporate ecosystem innovation platforms that runs a scale-up program for high-growth startups with the goal to accelerate deep tech innovation in Switzerland. 

Kickstart is a spin-off from Impact Hub Zurich and was launched in 2015 by digitalswitzerland. Kickstart's locations and program this year are the innovation space ​Kraftwerk in Zurich and Impact Hub Lausanne together with Impact Hub Geneva hosting hybrid events. Kickstart runs five focus areas, EdTech & New Work, FinTech & InsurTech, Food & Retail Tech, HealthTech, Smart City & Technology, plus Intrapreneurship and Circular Economy being multi focused together with partner organizations across industries: AXA, Coop, Migros, Swisscom, la Mobilière, PostFinance, ETH Zürich, City of Zürich, Amt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit, MAVA Foundation, Credit Suisse, CSEM, Diabetes Center Bern, Empa NEST, Sanitas, Universitätsspital Zürich, Axpo, Panter, SATW, Impact Hub Switzerland, Canton de Vaud, Santenext, Swiss Healthcare Startups, Growpal, Ringier, Wenger & Vieli AG, Google for Startups, Nespresso, MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep AG, South Pole, evitive, WECOCO, Magnolia, Day8, HealthTech Cluster Switzerland, CSS Insurance, GFM, Switzerland Global Enterprise and more.