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Kickstart pushes innovation engine in Switzerland even in the crisis with 48 new partnerships

Announcement of 48 Proofs of Concepts at the official Closing Ceremony
COVID-19 drives companies to accelerate the transition to digital

Zurich, 9 November, 2020 - Kickstart Innovation, one of Europe's leading innovation platforms, announced the initiation of 48 Proofs of Concepts (PoCs) and other partnerships between start-ups, scale-ups and established companies and institutions. Since 2015, a total of over 170 such collaborations have been initiated in the fields of Circular Economy, EdTech & New Work, FinTech & InsurTech, Food & RetailTech, HealthTech, Smart City & Technology and others, with great success. "This year many companies were challenged to change their operating processes and digitalize applications in a very short time. The partnerships established this year indicate that transforming processes early on using digital and other innovative solutions is a competitive advantage. For this purpose, large companies are increasingly interested in collaborating with high-growth start-ups," explains Katka Letzing, Co-Founder and CEO of Kickstart Innovation. These collaborations have gained even more importance if Switzerland is to maintain its innovation engagement on local and global levels.

Over the past ten weeks, well-known Swiss companies and institutions such as AXA, Coop, Migros, Swisscom, die Mobiliar, Stiftung Mercator Schweiz, the City of Zurich, PostFinance, Holcim Switzerland, Energie 360°, Credit Suisse and other partner organizations have formed valuable partnerships with scaleups from more than 11 countries. The partnerships were announced during the Online Ceremony yesterday.

A new Kickstart partnership is confirmed with Sanitas, one of the largest health insurance companies in Switzerland. "We are excited to collaborate with Kickstart in 2021! Based on the two test POCs performed earlier this year, I am confident that we are able to develop new and innovative offers for our clients in collaboration with start-ups in the Kickstart environment. Furthermore, our corporate values to make things simple, drive innovation and act in an open collaborative way build a strong foundation for successful POCs," says Andreas Schönenberger, CEO of Sanitas.

The Partnerships 2020 at a glance:

(Details on the Kickstart Website)

Partnerships in the EdTech & New Work Vertical:

  • PostFinance and Innential are happy to announce a joint proof-of-concept of the 360° feedback feature developed by the Berlin-based startup.

  • The City of Zurich is verifying the technical and data protection requirements in order to use Coorpacademy's learning solution in a PoC project for the further training of municipal employees.

  • Coop and Sharpist are collaborating to bring digital employee development to the next level.

  • The Human Resources department of Coop and Gravity Global AG are joining forces to test the value of an in-app performance support solution.

  • Klubschule Migros and SkillGym will partner up to empower soft skill development in the context of leadership trainings, using Digital Role Play methodology.

  • Swisscom and Gravity Global will pilot an innovative learning solution that allows embedding tips, tricks and important news into any application.

  • Swisscom is piloting Sharpist’s coach & learn proposition to foster personalized and digital employee development.

  • Swisscom and alumni Area9 Lyceum scaled their pilot engaging 250 sales representatives with focus on their skills. The collaboration with Area9 Lyceum out of the Kickstart program led to a pre-learning self-assessment and algorithm-driven adaptive learning that created self-awareness and maximized every minute spent learning in a blended learning approach with impact on all ends. The project also has boosted the upskilling of Swisscom’s L&D function and has won multiple prestigious and international Learning Awards.

Partnerships in the FinTech & InsurTech Vertical:

  • Swisscom and decentriq are partnering to build “Confidential Insights”, a web application for running probably anonymous surveys and peer group analyses.

  • The City of Zurich and decentriq are exploring specific use cases in order to realize the potential of anonymized data analytics for the city administration.

  • During a proof-of concept with Yova, PostFinance will test their client’s interest in sustainable investment solutions offered on the Yova impact investing platform.

  • Mobiliar, PostFinance and decentriq will work towards a prototype of a Swiss Data Ecosystem, leveraging the latest advancements of confidential computing.

  • Credit Suisse together with decentriq will explore the advantages of confidential computing around open banking, Machine Learning models and data ecosystems.

  • MotionsCloud and LAMIE Direkt are in partnership to implement an AI computer vision driven automated pre-inspection of used smartphone insurance in the online purchasing process to evaluate the pre-existing conditions and improve the quality of the policies as well as else dispute at the point of claims.

  • Health insurer Helsana and digital platform provider alumni, Fjuul,entered a commercial partnership to support the Helsana+ loyalty and bonus program.

  • Swisscom and alumni Fintechdb entered a commercial partnership, following participation in the Kickstart innovation program in 2018. The goal has been to bring Swisscom's "Swiss FinTech Startup Map", that was launched six years ago, to the next level, using Fintechdb's unique expertise in data digitization and visualization. The fruit of the collaboration can be seen on The Swiss Fintech Startup Map is published on a monthly basis and is recognized today as a valued tool in the Swiss Fintech community. This technology can now be used by other industries to build and publish maps of their ecosystems. A Female Founders Map is one example that will be published in the near future by Impact Hub Zurich and ZHAW that have joined forces for an Innosuisse mandate. Fintechdb and Swisscom are proud to support this initiative, along with new maps that will be published in the near- to mid-future.

  • Alumni Veezoo, a Zurich-based ETH spin-off, developed an artificial intelligence based conversational solution, which can analyze large amounts of data, by using the myAnalytics platform, in seconds. In 2016 Veezoo entered a partnership with AXA to develop a sales intelligence solution. This year AXA rolled out Veezoo over 1800 agents all over Switzerland. By September 2020 Veezoo had over 15'000 queries from AXA employees.

Partnerships in the Food & Retail Tech Vertical:

  • The City of Zurich and Prognolite consider to collaborate in a joint PoC to reduce food waste at the City Hospital Triemli (location Triemli).

  • Coop and the Singapore-based startup Ai Palette are collaborating to predict trends for the Convenience Food Category.

  • Coop and Greendeck will work together to help Coop improve their pricing and promotions.

  • Coop and Boost Biomes, alongside Knup, are working on a research project to test how long Boost's biofungicide product can extend the shelf-life of strawberries.

  • Coop and Alpengummi have scoped a pre-proof of concept to conduct an expert tasting in order to assess the market potential of natural chewing gums.

  • In the scope of a pilot project, Coop and Prognolite intend to join forces to reduce food waste and optimize staff planning in the Coop restaurants.

  • Vyv and Migros-Industry are evaluating the efficacy of antimicrobial lighting on food production premises.

  • Migros-Industry, the farmer’s organization IP Suisse and Boost Biomes are testing a new and innovative biological active ingredient - as a replacement for chemical-synthetic fungicides - in potato cultivation.

  • livealytics and the Genossenschaft Migros Zürich are partnering to learn more about shopper behaviour by testing how display set up influences shopping behaviour and experience in a non-food application.

  • Migros-Industry is collaborating with iSense, using their flavor mapping capabilities to provide transparency and comparability between flavors used in Migros-Industry.

Partnerships in the HealthTech Vertical:

  • iMpuls and Klubschule Migros join forces with mementor to assess the readiness of Switzerland’s self-pay market for digital health solutions, aiming to improve sleep and wellbeing in life.

  • By combining iMpuls’ comprehensive expertise in preventive health offerings and’s AI-platform for clinical-quality health programs, together they will provide highly specific nutrition strategies and digital health coaching.

  • The City of Zurich and HelloBetter are examining a possible collaboration focusing on stress management as part of the employee health care program.

  • AXA and the mental health start-up, Klenico, are launching a pilot project with the aim of helping those suffering to overcome mental illness so they can return to work.

  • Coop will execute a partnership for personal data portability requests with, a privacy,

consent and personal data lifecycle management software which helps organizations to manage

customer data from creation to use, sharing and disposal.

  • Three Panter customers plan to integrate Pryv into their services to enable clients in the healthcare, insurance and banking sectors to integrate leading "must-have consent" and auditing tools into their digital services to comply with existing and future privacy regulations.

  • A project has been initiated by growpal, in which Roche, Domo Safety and SMA Schweiz (patient association) will collaborate in order to develop and test an e-health service for people with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), combining wearable devices and ambient sensors.

  • and HelloBetter partner to offer integrated direct digital diagnosis and therapy solutions for people at risk of burnout in collaboration with a major Swiss health insurance company to significantly improve access to care.

  • AXA started a first pilot project with Selfapy in the end of 2019 for B2B customers, offering online therapy for employees of SMEs. The successful trial phase convinced AXA of the programs’ positive effects on mental health. The current situation with COVID-19 reinforced our decision to set up a new pilot offering together with Selfapy, which will be launched soon – this time also addressing B2C customers and AXA employees.

  • Health insurer Sanitas launched a pilot in cooperation with alumni Selfapy to make access to healthcare as simple as possible, by offering its customers online therapies from Selfapy free of charge.

  • It is important to have mental health programs that offer straightforward and anonymous help, and that is what alumi Sanitas will provide its customers through a partnership with alumni Braive – a provider of online psychological therapies.

Partnerships in the Smart City Vertical:

  • In cooperation with Faaren, AXA is piloting the establishment of Swiss car dealers as car subscription providers; that will enable car dealers to offer their own fleet of vehicles as a car subscription.

  • The City of Zurich plans to cooperate with Mobbot and to test Mobbot's 3D printing with sprayed concrete in selected civil engineering projects before the end of 2020.

  • Holcim Switzerland and HeatNeutral are partnering up to advance the decarbonisation of production plants by using clean tech combustion as a heating alternative.

  • Holcim Switzerland and Neustark share the vision of carbon neutral and circular concrete production - the companies move one step closer towards this goal by engaging in a joint material test program.

  • Holcim Switzerland and Mobbot are jointly working on the integration of recycled building materials into 3D printing technology.

  • Energie 360° and HeatNeutral are evaluating a collaboration to test the start-up's innovative burner and fuel technology that replaces fuel oil heaters, delivers CO2-neutral heat and can potentially offer customers another option for CO2-neutral peak load coverage in district heating networks during winter months.

  • In addition, Kickstart’s technology partner, CSEM, is proud to support participating startups with the Deep Tech Journey Award, this year the prize goes to Mobbot focusing on a unique approach to 3D concrete printing.

  • Cognizant and alumni Oxygen at Work further expanded their partnership following the successful projects in Switzerland and Germany. Using Oxygen at Work's holistic indoor air quality solution they are planning the further roll out across various European locations, supporting the provision of healthy and sustainable work environments, also in regards to COVID-19.

Partnerships and projects in the Intrapreneurship Vertical:

  • Swisscom and a leading Swiss bank have entered a PoC with The Ginius Way to explore the potential of giving people a helping hand with their daily chores and therefore giving them back time.

  • AXA Mobility Services AG (AMS) started as an internal start-up project of AXA Switzerland with a digital mobility platform and the two products "UPTO – the fleet management" and "UPTO – the car subscription" at Kickstart. With UPTO's fleet management and car subscription, AMS offers entrepreneurs and private individuals new mobility services that help to reduce costs in the long term and save valuable time. Since then, AMS has successfully scaled and positioned both products on the B2B and B2C market. It currently manages hundreds of cars, effectively and sustainably reducing the mobility costs of its customers. The company, which started as a project with ten employees, has 25 employees now, who successfully pursue their goals and actively shape the future of mobility.

For more information, please contact:

Alexandra (Sasha) Steinmann

Communications 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. Science and engineering-driven technologies have the potential to solve humanity’s biggest challenges. They require unprecedented collaboration between established organizations and the most audacious entrepreneurs out there. Kickstart is committed to build bridges and bring various organizations such as startups, corporates, cities, foundations and universities together. Each year, Kickstart brings up to 100 entrepreneurs to Switzerland to collaborate with key players for proofs of concept, pilot projects and other innovation partnerships. Additionally, through the intrapreneurship program Kickstart helps established organisations accelerate internal innovation.


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