Kickstart ​Accelerator, ​Zurich-based ​technology ​accelerator ​programme ​ends ​tonight with ​the ​announcement ​of ​numerous ​Proof ​of ​Concepts ​and ​other ​partnerships

Over 30 Proof of Concepts (PoCs) and partnerships have been secured at Kickstart Accelerator, one of Europe’s largest no equity, multi-corporate accelerator programmes that culminates today – most of them with leading corporations. Coop, Credit Suisse, Empa, EY, Helsana, Migros, PwC Switzerland, Raiffeisen, Swisscom as well as UBS have entered into partnerships ​with ​the ​entrepreneurs ​participating ​in ​this ​year’s ​acceleration ​programme. At tonight’s grand Closing Ceremony the established PoCs and other partnerships will be announced in addition to the winners in each vertical, who will receive a 25`000 CHF grant. The accelerator – an initiative of digitalswitzerland and operated by Impact Hub Zurich – saw 29 startups as well as an intrapreneur team from AXA Winterthur and Swisscom working in collaboration for 11 weeks in the specially designed co-working space Kraftwerk. Their goal was to develop, scale and promote their business in the Swiss innovation ecosystem with the guide of industry experts and unparalleled access to internationally recognized corporations. The programme also supported by C4DR and evitive, focused on the fields of FinTech, Food, Smart Cities as well as Robotics & Intelligent Systems, which ​is ​reflective ​of ​Switzerland’s ​heritage ​innovation ​sub ​sectors.

Foto: Philippe Rossier

PoCs ​to ​deliver ​better ​air ​quality, ​blockchain-based ​e-voting-systems ​and ​ways ​to ​avoid ​food ​waste.

In ​the Fintech ​vertical, ​14 ​PoCs ​and ​other ​partnerships ​were ​secured ​with ​Kickstart ​Partners:

Credit Suisse and Swiss-based Startup PriceHubble are exploring a cooperation in the field of mortgage ​business.

Credit Suisse is looking into how to use ​Adjoint’s blockchain technology to improve compliance processes ​in ​their ​FX ​operations.

 Credit Suisse is discussing potential for a cooperation in the field of compliance with Zurich-based Apiax.

Credit Suisse and Blocko are collaborating to explore opportunities in the field of blockchain-based ​e-voting ​systems.

EY ​and Apiax ​are ​going ​to ​intensify ​discussions ​about ​a ​possible ​partnership.

EY is collaborating with US-startup Adjoint to develop a PoC in the field of blockchain for a global insurance ​client.

Helsana insurance and Fjuul are joining forces to further improve functionality and user experience ​of ​the ​new ​Helsana+ ​App.

PwC Switzerland has signed a Letter of Intent with Zurich-based Apiax to intensify the discussion about ​joining ​forces ​to ​work ​on ​digitising ​compliance ​processes ​in ​the ​financial ​industry.

PwC Switzerland and Finnish startup Fjuul have signed a Letter of Intent to further evaluate the option ​of ​jointly ​bringing ​exciting ​digital ​solutions ​to ​insurance ​companies.

Swisscom is planning a PoC to integrate services that PriceHubble offers into their existing banking ​service.

Swisscom ​cooperates ​with Apiax ​as ​well ​as SoBA ​on ​a ​PoC ​to ​work ​in ​the ​field ​of ​Open ​Banking.

UBS and AAAccell, a University of Zurich spin-off working in the field of risk- and asset management, ​will ​start ​a ​PoC ​project ​to ​build ​a ​smart ​risk-based ​engine.

UBS and PriceHubble, a startup offering innovative real estate software-as-a-service solutions, agreed ​on ​a ​common ​PoC ​to ​further ​develop ​UBS`s ​offering ​in ​the ​mortgage ​business.

UBS and CityFALCON have worked closely together to explore different opportunities on how to leverage a potential partnership. Nothing has been agreed yet, however, it can be confirmed, that UBS ​sees ​value ​in ​exploring ​CityFALCON`s ​offering ​in ​a ​potential ​PoC.

The Food ​vertical ​saw ​four ​PoCs ​resulting ​from ​the ​programme:

Coop has announced a collaboration with Swiss company KITRO. The two firms plan to test KITRO’s ​solution ​to ​prevent ​food ​waste ​at ​several Coop ​restaurants ​within ​a ​PoC ​next ​year.

Raiffeisen Bank has acquired a Living Farming tree by the Italian Food startup Hexagro Urban Farming ​as ​the ​first ​step ​of ​a ​PoC ​and ​will ​validate ​a ​potential ​use ​in ​Raiffeisen ​offices.

Coop and Migros have both agreed on individual PoCs with FlavorWiki. Their technology allows food producers, retailers and others to collect detailed data about consumer taste preferences. Coop ​and ​Migros ​will ​both ​test ​this ​technology ​internally.

The Smart ​Cities ​vertical ​resulted ​in ​seven ​PoCs ​and ​other ​collaborations:

Swisscom Broadcast will work together with Zurich-based startup Antavi on a PoC to develop a smart ​tracking ​solution ​for ​public ​safety.

Swisscom has signed a PoC with uHoo. The ICT-provider will integrate the indoor air quality device ​by ​the ​Singapore-based ​company ​in ​the ​Swisscom TestLab ​in ​Biel.

Swisscom and Hawa Dawa have signed a PoC to develop a real-time data model of air quality in Zurich. The German startup is leveraging open data from the city of Zurich and is using big data analytics ​and ​machine ​learning ​algorithms ​to ​model ​the ​air ​quality ​in ​the ​whole ​city.

– The city of Bern provides Hawa Dawa in a PoC with data to establish a profound data model and to ​calibrate ​their ​instruments.

Swisscom starts a partnership with BikeLook: The Irish startup will use Swisscom’s Low Power Network ​to ​have ​an ​improved ​battery ​lifetime.

Empa will be launching a PoC with Zurich-startup Parquery that is working in the field of smart parking ​management.

– The cities of Zurich, Bern and St. Gallen, are discussing further collaboration and sharing of knowledge ​with ​different ​startups, ​e.g. ​with BikeLook ​from ​Dublin.

The Robotics ​& ​Intelligent ​Systems ​vertical ​saw ​one ​confirmed ​partnership:

Coop has defined a PoC with Indian startup iFuture Robotics to test the startup’s autonomous robots ​to ​automate ​certain ​processes ​within ​Coop’s ​retail ​warehouses.

In addition to the cooperation between the startups and corporate partners, some of the startups have also started to cooperate with each other. For example, the intrapreneur team Rent’n’Share has partnered with the UK/Switzerland based startup Spark Horizon to offer a sustainable mobility solution. The FinTech startups AAAccell, Blocko and Coincube confirmed partnerships to work on two individual blockchain pilots. Zurich-based Apiax is going to work with South African startup Libryo in the field of legal and insurance solutions. Meanwhile, CoinCube and CityFALCON will be working together on AI/blockchain solutions and London-based startup Nivaura, that took part in the 2016 programme, is starting a joint project with Adjoint from this year’s batch focusing on blockchain solutions.

“It is great to see the number of partnerships between the startups and the corporates has increased significantly compared to last year,” said Patricia Schlenter, Programme Manager at Kickstart Accelerator. “This shows that Kickstart Accelerator has the potential to truly support international startups ​to ​gain ​access ​to ​the ​Swiss ​innovation ​ecosystem.”

International ​tech ​companies ​anchor ​in ​Switzerland

Several of the participating startups have already or are planning to bring units of their businesses to Switzerland. For example, the Ghana-based food tech startup Farmerline is planning to base their third office in Zurich and US-startup RADiCAL is opening the first office outside New York in Zurich to attract talent in the areas of AI and autonomous systems, with the Zurich office expected to serve as the company’s research and development lab. In addition, US-startup COINCUBE is incorporating in Switzerland ​to ​implement ​projects ​in ​the ​digital ​asset ​space. ​More ​incorporations ​are ​being ​planned.

International ​and ​local ​funding ​floods ​in: ​More ​than ​8 ​million ​CHF ​raised ​in ​5 ​months

Furthermore, since the start of the programme in July this year, the Kickstart Accelerator startups all together have raised more than 8 million CHF funding from international and Swiss investors.

“At the beginning of the programme, we set ambitious goals – and we are overwhelmed to even have exceeded them. Besides the promising cooperation agreements, several of the startups are also hiring Swiss employees or even plan to open a new office here,” Programme Manager Patricia Schlenter said. “In addition, the quality of this year’s startups was exceptionally high – as for example shown by the investor funds raised since the programme started. We are convinced that Kickstart Accelerator 2017 has ​once ​again ​contributed ​to ​strengthening ​the ​Swiss ​innovation ​ecosystem.”

Kickstart Accelerator 2017 ends tonight with the official Closing Ceremony. It will be live streamed on Kickstart ​Accelerator’s Facebook ​page ​today ​from ​4:15 ​PM ​to ​7:15 ​PM ​CET.

Read the official press release for more information about the PoCs ​and ​partnerships ​in ​detail.

 

Collaboration between startups and corporations often is a win-win situation. Why can such cooperations be this fruitful? We spoke to Veronica Lange and Andreas Kubli from UBS and wanted to know about the value of building strong partnerships and the uniqueness of Kickstart Accelerator.

[Deutsche Version]

Why is UBS interested in startups?

Andreas Kubli (AK): We realized very early on that fintech startups can help us accelerate digital transformation at the bank, and in the meantime collaborations have become a tradition for us. We don’t have to do everything that we offer our customers ourselves. If a startup has a great solution, particularly in an area that is not part of our core competencies, we are happy to discuss a potential collaboration.

Veronica Lange (VL): Owing to their organizational structure, startups are often a lot more agile than a major corporate group, such as UBS. This enables them to significantly reduce the time-to-market for new innovations. They also often have specific technical know-how, which can be applied to very good effect in the financial sector.

What can UBS offer startups?

VL: Collaborations offer a typical win-win situation. Startups benefit from an established platform with a large customer base and the security of a trustworthy major bank. We also bring a great deal of expertise to the table: banking experience, sound advice, extensive professional knowledge, personal contact, long-standing relationships and excellent financial products.

AK: In addition, we have gained a lot of experience in collaborating with startups over the past few years. That is very important, because when a startup collaborates with a corporate group there is always the danger that it will be “crushed” by the complex structures and processes. However, we have found very good ways of preventing that from happening and have launched successful collaborations—for instance with bexio, DSwiss and SumUp.

VL: Access to capital is certainly also a decisive factor for startups. We can help startups, such as the participants in Kickstart Accelerator, with their pitch for capital to investors.

Why should I, with my startup in Switzerland, approach Kickstart Accelerator rather than look to London, Singapore or New York?

AK: Kickstart Accelerator is one-of-a-kind globally, and one of the largest multi-corporate startup support programs in Europe. It is unique because it is supported by more than 15 major corporate partners, which all pull together to promote the Swiss innovation ecosystem. From last year’s program, we were able to make a proof-of-concept with both Notakey and Zoa, which we are currently still working on.

VL: Arguments in favor of Switzerland are its expertise as a financial center and a strong educational system combined with excellent technical universities, gifted talents, a very high level of education and a large number of potential investors in the country. Global investors also rate Switzerland highly. Many of them traveled to Zurich in January to attend the Investor Summit, where they met with Swiss startups.

AK: I haven’t come across the aforementioned collaborative aspect as much in other markets. Switzerland, however, is ideal for collaboration because of its manageable size.

What was your best/most surprising moment when the Kickstart Accelerator program was run for the first time last year?

AK: With Eric van der Kleij, we were able to bring on board a recognized expert to help develop an accelerator program. I was really impressed by how we were able to set up one of the largest European programs in such a short time. The interaction between a wide range of partners with a common goal created a unique dynamic.

VL: I was impressed by the quality of the applicants from all over the world. I also sensed a great interest and a huge commitment internally on the part of the employees to support the accelerator program and the startups.

What are your expectations for this year’s accelerator program and from what areas would you like to see startups come?

AK: Last year’s program exceeded expectations in terms of scope, attracting attention and project studies. I hope that even more startups will sign up this year and that we will see even more PoCs. We also want to keep spreading Switzerland’s good reputation around the world. In a best-case scenario, we may convince foreign startups to come to Switzerland. I wouldn’t like to specify any particular areas, but if a startup demonstrates a collaborative spirit, I look forward to the exchange.

VL: I can go along with that. A project study in the areas of distributed ledger, smart contracts or wealthtech would be great. But I am also very open to other topics, and I would really like to wait and see what new ideas startups from all around the world approach us with.

 

Wenn Startups und Grossunternehmen zusammenarbeiten, dann ist das oft eine Win-Win-Situation. Was ist es, das solche Kooperationen derart fruchtbar macht? Wir haben mit Veronica Lange und Andreas Kubli von UBS über den Wert von starken Partnerschaften und die Einzigartigkeit von Kickstart Accelerator gesprochen.

[English Version]

Wieso interessiert sich UBS für Startups?

Andreas Kubli (AK): Uns wurde sehr früh bewusst, dass uns Fintech-Startups helfen können, den digitalen Wandel in der Bank zu beschleunigen und inzwischen haben Kooperationen für uns Tradition. Wir müssen nicht alles, was wir unseren Kunden anbieten, selber machen. Wenn ein Startup eine tolle Lösung hat, insbesondere in einem Bereich, welcher nicht zu unseren Kernkompetenzen gehört, sprechen wir gerne über eine mögliche Kooperation.

Veronica Lange (VL): Startups sind durch ihre Organisationsstrukturen häufig sehr viel agiler als ein grosser Konzern wie UBS. Dadurch können sie die Time-to-Market für neue Innovationen extrem reduzieren. Zudem haben sie oft spezifisches, technisches Know-how, welches für die Anwendung im Finanzsektor sehr interessant ist.

Was kann UBS Startups bieten?

VL: Kooperationen bieten eine typische Win-Win-Situation. Startups profitieren von einer etablierten Plattform mit einem grossen Kundenstamm und der Sicherheit einer vertrauenswürdigen Grossbank. Ausserdem bringen wir sehr viel Know-How mit: Bankerfahrung, kompetente Beratung, umfangreiches Fachwissen, persönlicher Kontakt, langjährige Beziehungen und exzellente Finanzprodukte.

AK: Zudem haben wir in den letzten Jahren viel Erfahrung in der Zusammenarbeit mit Startups gesammelt. Das ist sehr wichtig, denn wenn ein Startup mit einem Konzern zusammenarbeitet, besteht immer die Gefahr, dass es von den komplexen Strukturen und Prozessen “erdrückt” wird. Wir haben aber sehr gute Wege gefunden, damit das nicht passiert und so erfolgreiche Kooperationen, beispielsweise mit bexio, DSwiss oder SumUp lanciert.

VL: Entscheidend für Startups ist sicherlich auch der Zugang zu Kapital. Hier können wir Start-ups, beispielsweise den Teilnehmern des Kickstart Accelerator, beim “Pitch” für Kapital bei Investoren unterstützen.

Wieso soll ich mit meinem Startup in die Schweiz an den Kickstart Accelerator kommen und nicht nach London, Singapur oder New York gehen?

AK: Der Kickstart Accelerator ist einmalig auf der Welt und eines der grössten firmenübergreifenden Startup-Förderprogramme Europas. Einmalig ist er deshalb, weil er von über 15 Grossunternehmen getragen wird und die Partner alle an einem Strick ziehen, um das Schweizer Innovations-Ökosystem zu fördern. Wir konnten aus dem letztjährigen Programm heraus sowohl mit Notakey als auch mit Zoa je einen Proof-of-Concept machen, an denen wir zurzeit noch arbeiten.

VL: Für die Schweiz spricht die hohe Kompetenz als Finanzplatz sowie ein starkes Bildungssystem, gepaart mit hervorragenden technischen Hochschulen, begabte Talente, ein sehr hohes Bildungsniveau und sehr viele potenzielle Investoren im Land. Auch globale Investoren schätzen die Schweiz. Viele von ihnen reisten im Januar an den Investor Summit nach Zürich, wo sie mit Schweizer Startups in Kontakt kamen.

AK: Das bereits angesprochene kooperative Element kenne ich von anderen Märkten weniger. Die Schweiz ist aufgrund der überschaubaren Grösse prädestiniert dafür.

Was war euer bester/überraschendster Moment bei der ersten Durchführung des Kickstart Accelerators im letzten Jahr?

AK: Mit Eric van der Kleij konnten wir einen ausgewiesenen Experten für den Aufbau eines Accelerator-Programms gewinnen. Die Art und Weise, wie es gelungen ist, in kürzester Zeit eines der grössten europäischen Programme zu etablieren, hat mir sehr imponiert. Das Zusammenwirken von verschiedensten Partnern mit einem gemeinsamen Ziel hat eine einzigartige Dynamik hervorgerufen.

VL: Ich war beeindruckt von der Qualität der Bewerber aus aller Welt. Zudem spürte ich intern ein grosses Interesse und riesiges Engagement der Mitarbeitenden den Accelerator und die Startups zu unterstützen.

Was erwartet ihr für den diesjährigen Accelerator und Startups aus welchen Bereichen würdet ihr gerne sehen?

AK: Das letztjährige Programm hat in Sachen Reichweite, Aufmerksamkeit und Projektstudien die Erwartungen übertroffen. Ich hoffe, dass sich dieses Jahr noch mehr Startups anmelden und wir noch mehr PoCs sehen werden. Ausserdem wollen wir den guten Ruf der Schweiz noch weiter in die Welt hinaustragen. Im besten Fall können wir ausländische Startups überzeugen, in der Schweiz ansässig zu werden. Auf bestimmte Bereiche möchte ich mich nicht festlegen, aber wenn ein Startup einen kollaborativen Spirit verfolgt, freue ich mich auf den Austausch.

VL: Dem kann ich mich anschliessen. Toll wäre eine Projektstudie in den Bereichen Distributed Ledger, Smart Contracts oder WealthTech. Aber ich bin auch sehr offen für andere Themen und lasse mich noch sehr gerne überraschen, mit welchen neuen Ideen Startups aus aller Welt zu uns kommen.

Would you like to see your startup grow at a faster pace, get mentorship from industry experts and the chance to attain an initial investment? The Kickstart Accelerator is back, stronger than ever!

Kickstart Accelerator is one of Europe’s largest multi-corporate accelerators with intensive innovation processes for joint Proof-of-Concepts (PoCs) between global corporate partners and selected startups. Backed by experienced entrepreneurs, investors, academia and top companies in Switzerland, Kickstart Accelerator offers a unique opportunity to bring your startup to the next level in just 11 weeks!

Start your company off on the right track: Apply for a chance to be one of the selected startups!

The program will take place between September 4th and November 17th, 2017. We are looking for international startups and intrapreneurial teams operating in the following areas: Food, FinTech, Robotics & Intelligent Systems, Smart Cities (in Zurich) and Healthcare (in Basel).

Did you know that Zurich is one of the fastest-growing startup hubs and one of the world’s leading financial centres? Kickstart your career in Switzerland and live in Zurich or Basel for three months.

Benefits at a glance:

Apply at kickstart-accelerator.com for an opportunity of a lifetime and scale your startup in 11 weeks!

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