Kickstart Accelerator has opened the doors to leading corporations


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 of the Kickstart Accelerator 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. In the Fintech vertical, 14 PoCs and other partnerships were secured with Kickstart Partners, the Food vertical saw four PoCs resulting from the programme, the Smart Cities vertical resulted in seven PoCs and other collaborations, and the Robotics & Intelligent Systems vertical saw one confirmed partnership.

In addition to the cooperation between the startups and corporate partners, some of the startups have also started to cooperate with each other. And several of the participating startups have already or are planning to bring units of their businesses to Switzerland.

“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.” 

The PoCs and Partnerships in detail:


  • 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.
  • Swisscom is planning a PoC to integrate services that PriceHubble offers into their existing banking service.
  • Credit Suisse and Swiss-based Startup PriceHubble are exploring a cooperation in the field of mortgage business.
  • Swisscom cooperates with Apiax as well as SoBA on a PoC to work in the field of Open Banking.
  • 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.
  • Credit Suisse is discussing potential for a cooperation in the field of compliance with Zurich-based Apiax.
  • 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.
  • Credit Suisse is looking into how to use Adjoint `s blockchain technology to improve compliance processes in their FX operations.
  • Credit Suisse and Blocko are collaborating to explore opportunities in the field of blockchain-based e-voting systems.
  • 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.
  • Helsana insurance and Fjuul are joining forces to further improve functionality and user experience of the new Helsana+ App.
  • UBS and CityFALCON have worked closely together to explore different opportunities on how to leverage a potential partnership.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Smart Cities:

  • Swisscom Broadcast will work together with Zurich-based startup Antavi on a PoC to develop a smart tracking solution for public safety.
  • Empa will be launching a PoC with Zurich-startup Parquery that is working in the field of smart parking management.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.


Robotics & Intelligent Systems:

  • 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.

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.

Coorperations between Startups
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. 


Picture: Copyright Philippe Rossier / Kickstart Accelerator