tech2 News StaffAug 25, 2016 17:08:58 IST
Zurich will be hosting 30 international startups for Kickstart Accelerator, which is an initiative of DigitalZurich2025. The startups selected will be meeting the programme’s 25 corporate partners and mentors including French multinational insurance firm AXA, Swiss multinational financial services companies Credit Suisse, among others.
The startups have been picked from about 850 applicants, and the 11 week program will help them develop their ideas and products. These products are across categories: Fintech, Smart & Connected Machines, Future and Emerging Technologies and Food.
Marco Abele, Head of Digitalisation, Credit Suisse, says, “The Kickstart Accelerator initiative shows that companies across different industries in Switzerland want to join forces to drive forward the digitalisation process. Credit Suisse has a strong tradition of innovation – from when the bank was first established to the more recent launch of a wide variety of new products. We are convinced that the close dialogue and collaboration between the startups and companies participating in Kickstart Accelerator during this three-month programme and beyond will have a positive impact on both sides.”
“When we support corporate clients on their digital transformation, they are often surprised by the complexity and level of integration that they need to consider,” said Marcel Stalder, CEO of EY Switzerland.
The accelerator will be operated by Impact Hub Zurich, a part of the largest international network of entrepreneurship and innovation centres. The official opening is to take place at ewz-Unterwerk Selnau, the old transformer station in the city centre which has been specially renovated for Kickstart.
As part of the accelerator, the participating companies will get the opportunity of ‘Proof of Concept’ trial with one of the corporate partners to test practical application and scalability of their products in a working and demanding corporate environment.
“Partnering with the selected startups for a ‘Proof of Concept’ will be mutually beneficial for the participating startups and corporates; the startups will receive valuable input as they look to finalise their products and will get a sense of the relevance of their offering. The corporates will be able to test new services and alternative processes in real-life situations, in a way similar to parallel prototyping, which is less disruptive than implementing one big transformation,” Stalder continued.
Kickstart aims to bring the best international startups to Switzerland by building bridges between the strong corporate network that Switzerland has to offer and innovative, disruptive startups worldwide, says the press release. Kickstart will not be taking any equity from those startups participating in the programme. In fact, it will be providing up to 25,000 Swiss francs to each startup in grant-funding, a monthly founder stipend, and masterclass sessions with mentors.
Stephan Kuester, Managing Director, DigitalZurich2025 commented, “We believe the Kickstart Accelerator programme can help by making critical connections: providing established organisations with access to the digital talent they desire and start-up pioneers with the access to funding, infrastructure and market access that too often can be out of reach. For us, Kickstart is an important building block as we work towards connecting the old and the new, for innovation, for better business, and for sustainable growth for the Swiss economy and society at large.”
The programme was launched on 22nd August and a ‘mid-term’ Demo Day is on 21 September, and the closing event taking place on 4 November.
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