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Drive for Innovation: 51 Scaleups & Intra-Team Finalists will Develop Innovative Collaborations

Fostering entrepreneurial partnerships for a tech-led future.

Kickstart will advance the innovation ecosystem with 51 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.
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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.

Scaleups engaging this year: 43

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.

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.


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