Kickstart 2022 Cohort Announced: 43 Scaleup Finalists Set to Develop Innovative
and Sustainable Cutting-Edge Collaborations
Kickstart catapults innovation with 43 high growth startups selected for the 2022 core program from 16 countries this year (30% Switzerland, 70% international).
Solutions range from a software platform for decarbonising supply chains, to sustainable insulation packaging made from recycled waste paper, as well as solar thermal and photovoltaic collectors producing one of the world’s highest energy density solar products.
Kickstart is enabling innovation decision makers to elevate their solutions with top startups from around the world to tackle some of the most complex and critical issues of today.
Zurich, 27th July 2022 - In its 7th 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 400 startups and facilitated over 200 deals in the form of pilots and commercial projects coming from over 80 countries, raising more than CHF 2 billion in investments so far including Planted, Huma, Labster and others.
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, Swisscom, La Mobilière, PostFinance, Sanitas, The City of Zurich, Canton de Vaud, Credit Suisse, Galenica, CSS Insurance and others.
Later-stage startups in the Finance and Insurance vertical that are paving the way to a more sustainable future for corporates and SMEs alike include Doconomy from Sweden, a world-leading provider of applied environmental impact solutions who empower individuals and corporations to take responsibility for their environmental footprint, as well as German scaleup The Climate Choice; a software platform for decarbonising supply chains. To tackle the underleveraged market potential of €7.8B due to women saving instead of investing, Finmarie from Germany is joining the program this year to improve the lives of millions of women across Europe and help them get on the path to financial independence.
It is cited that 50% of the world's population lives in cities today, which is predicted to increase to 68% by 2050. This results in over usage of infrastructure, leading to sustainability issues and major challenges ahead. Out of 10 startups joining Kickstart’s Smart Cities cohort this year, 9 are working towards a more circular economy. These include LEDCity, a Swiss cleantech startup developing an intelligent plug-and-play lighting system which can reduce 90% of the energy consumption compared to conventional systems, as well as UK-based Naked Energy who are innovating in the field of solar collectors to produce a solar energy technology with one of the world's highest energy densities installed.
With an estimated 1 billion people needing to be retrained by 2030 due to the increase in automated tasks and creation of upwards of 133 million new roles, we are looking forward to introducing startups such as US-based SkyHive and Austrian-born Leadbacker to our New Work and Learning vertical. SkyHive uses real-time data and skill-based analysis to help people see beyond a traditional job title, and Leadbacker is one of the leading AI-powered people development platforms.
All 6 startups joining the Food & Retail vertical this year are working towards a more circular economy. A big trend this year is on sustainable packaging; both in terms of material and supply chain, which is promising due to the food industry being the largest manufacturing industry in the EU. PlasticFri, a GreenTech company from Sweden is using breakthrough technology to turn agricultural waste to eco-friendly products for replacing plastics, whereas Austrian-born Supaso produces sustainable insulation packaging made from recycled waste paper for the shipping of temperature-sensitive goods. Kickstart is also welcoming Swiss vegan creamery New Roots, who is developing, producing and selling ethical, sustainable and healthy alternatives to cheese and other dairy products based on 100% plant-based, organic ingredients.
The digitization of health is mandatory to provide access to personalized and connected care. Startups joining the Health & Wellbeing vertical this year include medicalmotion, a German deep-tech startup that provides the world’s most personalized and cause-oriented AI-driven multimodal platform to finally combat body pain at its core, as well as TOM, the first fully anonymous therapy solution from Switzerland providing valuable features for tracking medication and empowering patients to improve their medication competence.
“For us as a company, it is an unique opportunity to participate in the innovative power of startups. It was great to be part of the Kickstart selection process to learn about many different startups and as this is our first year, we are looking forward to potential collaborations and advancements for our organization.” shared by Dr. Fabian Sommerrock, Head of Business Development and Cooperations at Galenica.
"We are pleased that more and more startups have sustainability clearly at the core of their developments," adds Katka Letzing, CEO and co-founder of Kickstart Innovation. "We received applications from 58 countries this year with not only strong focus on potential proof of concepts and commercial deals, but also on strategic investment opportunities which increased significantly from last year, which is all supporting innovation strength in Switzerland and Austria."
Participants go through a stringent shortlisting process that includes alignment workshops, a partner safari and pitch invitation with the corporates and ecosystem experts in the jury. This year, over 170 judges were involved in the final selection of this cohort, with circular Economy and sustainability at the forefront of the decision-making process. This was evident from the 40% of final pitches involved in circular economy, compared to 30% in 2021. The top 5 SDGs addressed by the pitching companies included Climate Action, Good Health & Wellbeing, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities and Responsible Consumption & Production. These SDGs are particularly relevant in ensuring sustainability solutions of all of our verticals, which include New Work & Learning, Finance & Insurance, Food & Retail, Smart Cities and Health & Wellbeing. In addition, Intrapreneurship Teams representing various public and private organizations will be announced in August.
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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 2022, Kickstart runs six verticals: New Work & Learning, Finance & Insurance, Food & Retail, Health & Wellbeing, Smart Cities; and an Intrapreneurship Verticals together with partner organizations across industries: AXA, Coop, Swisscom, La Mobilière, PostFinance, ETH Zürich, CSS, Galenica, City of Zurich, Credit Suisse, CSEM, Empa NEST, Sanitas, University Hospital Zurich, Axpo, Panter, SATW, Impact Hub Switzerland, Canton de Vaud, Santenext, Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE, Swiss Healthcare Startups, Growpal, Switzerland Global Enterprise, Ringier, Wenger & Vieli AG, Google for Startups, Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd., South Pole, WECOCO, Day8, HealthTech Cluster Switzerland, Pepicon, Climate Lab, Atos Austria, Wien Energie, MAVA, SwissLEAP, EPFL, gfm and more.