Kickstart Accelerator Winner

After had already received CHF 20,000 in support from Kickstart Accelerator for development, the start-up founded by Marc Degen and Malik El Bay has now won the main prize in the Future & Emerging Technologies vertical with help from the Communication Systems Research Group (CSG) of the University of Zurich. This article is the first of a short series of articles about the four Kickstart Accelerator winners.

Around 850 start-ups from 40 countries competed for the coveted funding programmes in the ewz Selnau substation in Zurich., which is developing a temperature tracking system for medicinal products based on blockchain technology, has now won total prize money worth CHF 45,000.

According to Marc Degen, first place in the Future & Emerging Technologies vertical is confirmation that has chosen the right technology. Together with CEO Malik El Bay and the CSG of the University of Zurich, the 39-year-old began working on the system at the beginning of the year. Their blockchain-based system leads to massive savings in the dispatch of medicinal products.

The big advantage of the tracking system is that it allows regulatory requirements to be checked instantly, while still offering great flexibility. “The stringent regulatory requirements for the dispatch of medicinal products are reviewed directly and automatically by a smart contract, and the sender and receiver are informed of the status. The data are thus permanently saved and can’t be manipulated afterwards,” explained El Bay. Data integrity is the phrase of the hour – and is currently the only system that complies with all the relevant EU guidelines which also apply in Switzerland. The Zurich start-up is thus one of the first to deploy blockchain technology not in fintech applications, but rather in the supply chain, which results in direct cost savings and information transparency.

Automated dispatch of medicinal products The technology was developed in collaboration with the research team of Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller and Dr. Thomas Bocek, with the assistance of master’s and bachelor’s degree students of the CSG at the Department of Informatics at the University of Zurich. “The collaboration went well beyond the expected,” said Degen. is currently applying for research grants to clarify questions regarding the decentralised system architecture and scaling of the Ethereum blockchain with the University of Zurich.


Kickstart Accelerator was created in 2015 by the Digital Switzerland initiative. The start-up support programme aims to transform Switzerland into a digital hotspot and offers the most promising young companies an 11-week course of intensive mentoring. Around 850 start-ups from 40 countries have applied for this; 30 of them will be supported. “Without the support of the Kickstart Accelerator programme, the further development of wouldn’t have been possible. This makes us even happier to win the award in our vertical,” said El Bay. The prize is also seen as confirmation that the Zurich region is on the way to becoming a blockchain hub.

To protect their development from imitators, will file a patent this year. A funding round is then planned at the beginning of 2017 so that the product can be made ready for the market the same year.