We’re delighted to announce the collaborations between the #kickstarters18 startups and established organizations. More than 35 PoCs and partnership projects have resulted from the program.
Kickstart, a program of Impact Hub Zurich, launched in 2015 by digitalswitzerland, bridges the gap between later-stage startups, corporations, cities, universities, and institutions to accelerate deep tech innovations with positive impact. For the third edition, 30 Swiss and international tech startups had moved into the collaboration space Kraftwerk in Zurich, where they met with leading corporations and organizations aiming at launching joint projects. More than 70 such partnership projects have emerged from the programme since its inception.
Here is the overview of the 2018 pilot projects and partnerships:
(Details in the Media Release)
The EdTech & Learning Vertical saw 10 collaborations:
- ETH Zurich and Differ (Norway) collaborate to build digital learning communities for (ETH) students by testing Differ’s software in a pilot project with one ETH bachelor course engaging more than 500 students.
- ETH Zurich and Potential.ly (UK) explore a collaboration to support (ETH) students’ professional development paths and career-readiness in the scope of a pilot with selected students doing company internships.
- Mercator Foundation Switzerland is executing a joint pilot project with WriteReader (Denmark), a platform that helps children to learn reading and writing by creating their own books at school, as well as Jacobs Foundation and Dybuster (CH) with different schools.
- Migros Club School will start a PoC with Labster (Denmark) aiming at evaluating a new method for creating digital language learning content in 3D Virtual Reality environments and the impact of such content on client engagement.
- Swisscom and TEACHY (CH) are collaborating in a PoC to explore opportunities in the field of 1on1 personal learning between Swisscom experts and Swisscom employees.
- The University of Zurich will cooperate with Labster (Denmark) to explore laboratory simulations and virtual reality in university science instruction.
- The Career Services of the University of Zurich is developing application opportunities with Potential.ly (UK) to use the platform to increase career readiness of students at UZH.
- The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Zurich will work with Differ (Norway) to increase collaboration amongst students and teaching assistants by using the platform.
- The Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Zurich will collaborate with Potential.ly (UK) in a pilot project to promote digital skills training of its employees.
- ZHAW is planning a PoC with the Bernese educational startup TEACHY (CH) in the field of student tutoring to promote the educational careers of its students.
In the Fintech & Crypto Vertical, 10 collaborations with Kickstart partners were agreed on:
- Credit Suisse and the Switzerland-based company Altoo AG, offering solutions for wealthy individuals, stated their intention to work together in the area of future private banking platform solutions.
- Credit Suisse and Asteria (Sweden) intend to test opportunities in cash flow advisory for small & medium-sized corporate clients.
- Credit Suisse and Gauss Algorithmic (Czech Republic) intend to work together in the area of data analytics.
- Credit Suisse and Reportix (Germany) are exploring the potential for digitization and automated processing of documents and forms using non-proprietary Ricardian Contracts (human and machine-readable contracts).
- Credit Suisse and YUKKA Lab AG (Germany) intend to collaborate with regards to Yukka’s value proposition to use augmented language and machine learning to analyze global financial news from trusted sources.
- Swisscom is exploring the opportunities of “Open Banking” for the Swiss financial industry with the Fintech companies Altoo AG (CH) and YUKKA Lab AG (Germany).
- Swisscom is launching a PoC with the Norwegian startup Fintechdb (Norway) to better map the Swiss FinTech ecosystem.
- AXA is collaborating with Reportix to explore opportunities for new insurance products providing trust, transparency and automation created by blockchain-based platforms.
- PwC Switzerland and YUKKA Lab AG (Germany) signed a Letter of Intent to progress the development of joint business cases in the field of Augmented Language Intelligence for the financial industry.
- C4DR and Trakti (Italy) have agreed to test the Trakti Smart Contract platform with C4DR’s Blockchain-powered Supply Chain Finance Business and Security Token Factory.
The Food & Retail Tech Vertical saw 9 collaborative projects resulting from the programme:
- Coop and Alver (CH) are looking into integrating Alver branded products into the Coop assortment as well as into using their innovative vegan protein for product development.
- Coop and LuckaBox (CH) are running two Proofs of Concepts to explore potential benefits of a new ultra-local urban distribution model as well as using LuckaBox’ cloud-based technology for effective last mile deliveries.
- Coop and microPow (CH) are collaborating with the goal to bring enhanced, shelf-stable, natural microPow aromas into a variety of food products.
- Migros will start two PoCs with LuckaBox (CH). The Migros Cooperative Zurich launches a pilot project with the startup and thereby expands its range of services. From November 2019, customers of Migros City will be able to have their purchases delivered directly to their home.
- M-Industry will start a PoC with Besso (Germany) aiming at testing Besso tea pads in the Swiss market.
- Mondelēz International and Alver (CH) are exploring the application of a new sustainable plant-based protein source in different snack forms.
- Mondelēz International and microPow (CH) are looking at opportunities to better preserve high-value ingredients in snacks to make their benefits fully available to consumers.
The Smart Cities & Infrastructure Vertical Vertical resulted in 6 cooperations:
- Empa is collaborating with BlockDox (UK) to implement their IoT and AI-driven sensor analytics solution at the NEST research and innovation building.
- Empa and Fleco Power (CH) collaborate to assess the potential and technical implementation for using the electricity consumption flexibility of Empa NEST demonstrator to help stabilize the local electricity grid in Dübendorf.
- ewz is collaborating with BlockDox (UK) to implement their patented IoT and AI-driven sensor analytics solution at the collaboration space Kraftwerk in Zurich Selnau.
- ewz and Fleco Power (CH) are performing a pilot project to test a control unit in a charging station for electric vehicles operated by ewz.
- ewz is collaborating with Hivemind (CH) to set up different IoT/LoRaWAN use cases and implement and visualize them on the Hivemind-IoT platform.
- The City of Zurich and Pedius are in final discussions to agree on a collaboration to make calls for selected services accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing. During the process of establishing the project, Impact Hub Zürich will continue to support Pedius.
“It is exciting to see such a great number of collaborations between the startups and the partners that are growing the Kickstart Community,” said Kickstart Co-Lead, Katka Letzing. “This shows that Kickstart has the potential to truly connect technology startups from all over the world with the Swiss innovation ecosystem.”
Next to the cooperation between the startups and the large partners, some of the startups have also initiated partnerships with each other: For example, Sharing Academy (Spain) and TEACHY (CH) agreed on a PoC to combine their forces of business and software development with the purpose of improving education in Switzerland. In the FinTech Vertical, ResonanceX and Altoo AG are teaming up for a joint exploration in providing next-generation post-trade information for structured product investments to wealthy individuals. Kickstart alumni PriceHubble and Altoo explore possibilities on real estate valuation based on machine learning for comprehensive digital wealth management. And YUKKA Lab AG has entered into a partnership with the Kickstart alumni AAAccell.
In addition, Mondays has partnered with Diversify to offer corporates and startups the opportunity to tangibly deliver on their top level diversity goals, by providing women’s essential products in the workplace. In the meantime, Kickstart supported the startup AVUXI from UK in closing a partnership deal with 3 Swiss online travel companies, including Nezasa and Bedfinder. Swiss startup vlot. got support to work on closing two partnership deals in the field of InsurTech.
Furthermore, during the few weeks of Kickstart 2018, the startups have raised 6.5 million CHF funding from international and Swiss investors.
New Cybersecurity Vertical in 2019 in cooperation with SATW
In the coming year, Kickstart aims at tapping into new technology areas: Together with the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW, the program will launch a Cybersecurity Vertical in order to foster innovation in the fields of IT-, information- and data security. Additionally, Kickstart is in advanced conversations for a vertical on health technologies in Zurich.
The program has already agreed on several partnerships for the 2019 edition: Coop, Swisscom, Stiftung Mercator Schweiz, Axpo, Stäubli, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, CSEM, and others have been confirmed as partners for next year’s program.
Fotos by Anja Wurm, Ringier
Many startups have a fixed time horizon within which they need to attract funding. Their own resources may enable them to get quite a long way. To develop a demo, an app, a website, a business plan. All of course informed by a vision, talented team and a customer need to solve for. So isn’t this enough? Simply put the startup in front of an investor, articulate the vision and the startup can then obtain the funds they need to start and to grow?
It is unfortunately not that simple. Investors will demand to see current users and to understand how quickly the startup is growing. If the startup’s answer is “I don’t have a use case or user base, that’s why I need the funding” – the feedback will not normally be positive for the startup. Usually it will be that they are not ready to raise venture funding before the validation of the technology, which often requires investment for development and runway – a vicious Catch 22.
Furthermore, many potential customer companies are conservative by their nature. They often like to see evidence of a direct or indirect peer company having worked with the startup, before they engage / become customers of the startup. This process is time consuming if starting with smaller customer companies and gradually increasing the size of the customer company to achieve any market capture.
So, to kick-start development and market validation, an accelerated path can start with a Proof of Concept (PoC) with an established company, as part of the startup’s journey to developing customers and attracting investment.
Moreover, as Andrea Alunni, Senior Advisor at Oxford University Innovation, states, it will also significantly benefit the startup as they focus and improve their product or service:
“PoC is instrumental to take novel ideas into practice, supporting inventors’ business confidence and releasing drivers to innovation embedded in the tacit knowledge of the inventors. The ultimate outcomes of proof of concept investments depend on the ability of the supported technologies to reach the market and generate returns”.
Link to relevant article:
The PoC should be correctly framed and agreed up front with the partner(s). What’s the agreed specification? How long is the development period? How is it to be funded? What are the conditions around the use of the resulting IP? What are the startup’s rights to publicise the association with the partner company and the resulting developments? How does the longer term engagement get structured after a successful PoC?
At the Kickstart Accelerator, startups benefit from access to many of the largest and most successful companies in Switzerland and beyond. These companies can also benefit by deploying the startups’ ideas and agility onto commercial challenges they are facing. In addition, the programme is also supported by leading, global Management Consultancies who can facilitate access to their numerous clients. And so provide potential win-win-win opportunities for the startups, the consultancies and their selected clients.
Successful PoCs are a key part of a startup’s journey and are also fundamental to their stakeholders. We believe that we will see numerous PoCs progressed from the Kickstart Accelerator programme. A key statement of the progamme’s value and results.