The application phase for the fourth Kickstart program in Zurich has started today. Kickstart fosters innovation through partnerships between successful startups and established companies and organizations. The Swiss acceleration program is now accepting applications from national and international tech companies. Kickstart’s focus is on deep technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Big Data across different verticals: EdTech & Learning, FinTech & Digital Assets, Food & Retail Tech and Smart City & Technology as well as, for the first time, Cybersecurity and HealthTech. In the program, the selected startups will meet and work together with leading corporations and organizations with the purpose of launching innovation partnerships and pilot projects.
Building bridges in order to make innovation happen
The Kickstart program aims to initiate successful partnerships and pilot projects between later-stage startups and corporations and organizations such as AXA, Coop, Migros, Swisscom, Mobiliar, Credit Suisse, ETH Zürich, Gebert Rüf Foundation, Mercator Foundation Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE, the cities of Zurich as well as St.Gallen and others. During the first three programs, more than 75 business partnerships were established. “Deep technologies have a great potential, which can only be fully exploited through the cooperation between different partners”, says Kickstart Co-Lead Katka Letzing. “These new technologies can contribute to solving some of the biggest challenges of our time. Established players are increasingly looking to work with tech startups. Successful innovation doesn’t happen in isolation – it needs cooperation. That’s what Kickstart stands for.”
Swiss retailer Migros has been supporting Kickstart’s Food & Retail Tech Vertical as a partner since the first edition and has launched a variety of partnerships with startups: “With our development fund Engagement Migros, we have been one of the very first partners of Kickstart and thus Migros group also has been benefitting from the beginning. Three years have passed and the platform has developed into what we consider a key element linking our own innovation initiatives and the ecosystem,” says Stefan Schöbi, Head of Engagement Migros. “We are building on this success story, now bringing it to a newly established HealthTech Vertical, launched together with Swiss Healthcare Startups SHS and other partners.” Additionally, Kickstart is launching a new Cybersecurity Vertical in partnership with SATW, Mobiliar, and other organizations.
Entrepreneurial and independent
Meanwhile, Kickstart is developing further: The initiative, which was launched as Kickstart Accelerator by digitalswitzerland in 2015 and has since successfully been operated three times by the Impact Hub Zurich team, will become an independent company this April. As a spin-off of Impact Hub Zurich, Kickstart benefits from its network in Switzerland and worldwide, while digitalswitzerland remains on board as an important founding partner.
Deep tech companies wanted
Tech startups from Switzerland and all around the world may apply for Kickstart 2019 until May 17. Up to 50 startups will be accepted in the program. In addition, intrapreneurship teams (innovation teams from companies, cities or universities) can register for the program. Participants will get direct access to key decision-makers of Kickstart’s partner corporations and organizations, support in cooperation with these partners and access to a broad network of experts. Kickstart covers up to CHF 10,000 of business development expenses during the program and grants access to a dedicated partnering fund. As in previous years, the program will take place at the innovation space Kraftwerk in Zurich.