The Talent Kick program went live last November to help masters and PhD students across ETH Zürich, EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), University of Zurich, University of St.Gallen, University of Lausanne - UNIL) and other leading Swiss Universities to build interdisciplinary co-founder teams that are less homogenous than the usual founder teams. The inititiative of the Kick Foundation provides participants hands-on, tailored support for 1-2 years through experts and helps them to set foot in the Swiss startup and support ecosystem. The program runs in two cohorts, a central/east cohort and a Romandie cohort, with some program components being digital and others in-person at different innovation hotspots in Switzerland, such as Lausanne, Zürich, Geneva, St. Gallen, Bern and Basel.
Following the first edition’s call, 215 candidates from 10 universities submitted their applications. Around 40 students joined the program. During the first semester, they formed 22 teams that worked on diverse projects. While many projects are still early-stage, EthonAI has grown into a startup. The startup raised CHF 1.2 million this year to bring AI-powered quality management to manufacturing.
Fifteen teams that achieved their milestones and convinced the jury of their solution’s potential have each received a cash prize of CHF 5000 in the Spark Kick Award to validate their ideas during the remaining semesters. Some of the most advanced projects include Synature from EPFL with an ongoing crowdfunding campaign, Inkvivo, ConcentrAid and Openversum.
The 15 winners are:
Concentraid –is developing a digital co-working platform to foster productivity. The app is currently in beta.
InkVivo – develops a drug delivery system for controlled and prolonged dosage of a broad range of active ingredients.
Neuralworks – uses advanced technologies to develop a symbiotic human-machine environment where it integrates brain communication with intelligent devices.
Openversum –engineered an all-in-one water filter based on a membrane technology that allows for a high rate removal of pathogens. The team also operates a microfranchising ecosystem to support local production and entrepreneurs.
Peer2Panel – allows investors to securely invest in blockchain tokens backed by physical solar panels gaining competitive returns and high liquidity through its token marketplace.
Synature – is running a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for its smart solution for monitoring wild animals such as wolves.
Humangraph.ai –uses AI/ML to build a social well-being platform to predict and warn against potential burn-outs.
CF (Capture Foot) – online platform that allows companies to collect, analyse and monitor data according to ISO standards in order to help them reduce their carbon footprint.
Lumia – Enables recruiters to see, understand and improve biases in the hiring process through anonymization and statistics with AI and NLP systems
Mantra – A high-quality digital marketplace for unused materials in the plastics industry.
NeuraDAO – a community-governed and web3-based, decentralized funding ecosystem that offers circular fast funding for neurotech researchers
Pathy – a Saas Platform of AI-Powered Pathology solutions designed to radically simplify workflows in both diagnosis and R&D using AI by offering one multi-solution platform to automate most routine pathology slide analyses.
Syncus – developed a platform that manages virtual meetings with seamless documentation functionalities, useful content overviews, and AI-generated summaries.
Etec – a preventive health solution using MRI scans for early disease detection. Its technology uses AI-assisted screening for high efficiency to maximize patients' survivability chance.
Verriv – is developing an AI-driven solution for quantifying product-level emissions and reporting on supplier performance to help companies reduce their value chain emissions (scope3).
The application window for the Spring edition 2023 is still open until 15 October.