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8th Kickstart innovation program launched with a continued focus on sustainability and CE

8th Kickstart innovation program launched with a continued focus on sustainability and circular economy with over 40 public and private players in Switzerland

Press Release

  • Over 100 innovation challenges were identified by corporates and public institutions

  • Renowned companies invest in the future with a focus on the circular economy

  • The application phase for startups begins today

Zurich, 4th April, 2023 – “We have been a Global Partner of Kickstart since its founding in 2016. Together with our in-house experts, Kickstart defines relevant topics and looks for promising startups. We are able to promote open innovation, connect with startups, and enable new trends in the marketplace and contribute to Deeptech Nation as well as sustainability-driven solutions." explains Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer at Swisscom. Also participating in Kickstart's 8th innovation program with the aim of developing sustainable and innovative solutions within society are AXA, Canton de Vaud, City of Zurich, Coop, la Mobilière, PostFinance, Sanitas, CSEM and MSD. Over the past years, Kickstart has been able to attract some of the world's best startups, including well-known names such as Planted, Neustark, Unsupervised and AAAcell. Since 2016, Kickstart has supported over 400 startups from more than 80 countries, facilitating over 270 deals in the form of collaborations. To date, investments of more than CHF 2 billion have been raised in the process.

"The program continues to grow in importance not only from an innovation perspective, but also in sustainability and circular economy," explains Katka Letzing, Co-Founder and CEO of Kickstart Innovation, one of the largest open innovation platforms in Europe. "The challenges for companies and organizations are becoming more complex and the competitive pressure is increasing. With us not working in silos and resulting in proofs-of-concept, both sides have the opportunity to progress significantly faster in their respective fields." The goal of the Kickstart program is to enable pilot projects or commercial collaborations between later-stage startups and established institutions. The aim is to bring new products and services to market on a larger scale, develop new revenue streams and invest in pioneering models and processes. Last year, over 50 deals were announced to collaborate on cutting-edge solutions for Switzerland and beyond. The ideas were diverse and ranged from a software platform for decarbonizing supply chains, to sustainable insulation packaging made from recycled waste paper, to solar thermal and photovoltaic collectors that achieve one of the world's highest energy densities.

Five focus areas are being explored to identify the topics of the future: New Work & Learning, Health & Wellbeing, Finance & Insurance, Food & Retail and Smart Cities. Each vertical focuses on specific innovative trends and the needs of individual partners with acceleration in technology, sustainability and investments.

Further information and a guide on how to apply can be found here.

For more information, please contact:

Alanna Murphy, Communications Manager (

About Kickstart

Kickstart is one of Europe's largest zero equity, open innovation platforms. Our mission is to build innovation ecosystems with purpose, by fast forwarding innovation. We bring together public and private organizations, startups, investors and experts, with the shared ambition to deliver next-generation products and services and have a meaningful impact at scale. Each year, Kickstart engages 100 entrepreneurs to collaborate with key players for proofs of concept, pilot and commercial projects and other innovation partnerships. Additionally, through the intrapreneurship program Kickstart helps established organizations to promote and accelerate internal innovation.

Kickstart is a spin-off of Impact Hub Zurich and was launched in 2015 by digitalswitzerland. In 2023, Kickstart runs five verticals: New Work & Learning, Finance & Insurance, Food & Retail, Health & Wellbeing and Smart Cities together with partner organizations across industries: AXA, Coop, Swisscom, La Mobilière, PostFinance, ETH Zürich,CSEM, City of Zurich,Empa NEST, Sanitas, University Hospital Zurich,Panter, SATW, Impact Hub Switzerland, Canton de Vaud, Santenext, Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE, Swiss Healthcare Startups, Growpal, Switzerland Global Enterprise, Ringier,Google for Startups, MLL, South Pole, WECOCO, Day8, HealthTech Cluster Switzerland, DealStation, MAVA, SwissLEAP, EPFL,IMD, gfm, START Global and more.


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