One of the largest multi-corporate accelerators in Europe.
A fast-track gateway for entrepreneurs to access the Swiss innovation ecosystem.


Kickstart Accelerator 2017


Kickstart Accelerator is one of the Europe’s largest multi-corporate, zero equity accelerators with the goal of placing the Swiss innovation ecosystem on the global map of entrepreneurship. For 11 weeks it brings 30 of the most promising international startups and intrapreneurial teams to Zurich, where they are provided with coworking space, direct access to over 15 leading corporate partners, top-level mentors and experts and a chance to win prize money. In its first edition in 2016, 6 proof-of-concepts were successfully initiated, over 4 million CHF raised by the participating startups and +120 publications covered the program, including Financial Times, Bloomberg and Forbes.

Kickstart Accelerator is an initiative by digitalswitzerland, a cross-industry association, which aims at making Switzerland a leading digital innovation hub in Europe. The program is operated by Impact Hub Zürich, which is part of the largest network of entrepreneurship and innovation centers across the globe.

What's included?

Entrepreneurial Support for each Team

Mentors are at the heart of Kickstart Accelerator. We think of mentoring as building a relationship with someone who accompanies and inspires you along your journey. Being entrepreneurs themselves and having a proven track record of building their own company, they are familiar with the challenges startups are facing. The mentor’s role is to have open ears for startup, leverage their networks and share relevant learnings from their own experience. To ensure full commitment, mentors are financially compensated for their work and we do hope that long-lasting relationships will be established between startups and mentors.

Content Providers & Topic-specific Support

In addition to their mentor, startups have access to a wide network of industry experts for bookable 1:1 sessions on relevant topics: Fundraising, Product Development, Admin, Marketing & Sales, Business Development and many more.

Proof of Concept (PoC) facilitation

Global partners offer a chance to do a Proof of Concept (PoC) with the startups in the program. That is, together with the mentors and Corporate Partners representatives, you can evaluate if and what kind of pilot activity has the most potential for working together with the corporates. PoCs may already start during the 11-week program or they are planned for after the program.

Industry Leaders & Ecosystem Angels

In addition to our mentors and experts Kickstart works with leading executives in the field of our verticals. These top executives made up of business leaders and researchers are working with vertical cohorts and startups.

Final Demo Day

The 11 weeks acceleration program will prepare you for the final demo day where you’ll have the opportunity to present your business to a wide audience of investors, executives and other key players of the Swiss startup ecosystem.

Key Dates & Events

Feb 1 // Applications open
Apr 30 //Applications close / Deadline
Jun 22 – 23 // Bootcamp
Jun 30 // Startups selected
Sep 4 // Accelerator Program Kick-off
Sep 6 // Partner Fair & Presentations
Sep 7 // Opening ceremony
Sep 27 // CEO & Founders dinner
Nov 17 // Final Demo Day

5 Verticals on 2 Campuses

In 2017 Kickstart Accelerator will focus on innovation areas that Switzerland has a competitive advantage in. We are looking for startups that are working on future and emerging technologies in and around the areas of FinTech, Food, Robotics & Intelligent Systems, Smart Cities and Healthcare. All verticals will be running at the same time from the beginning of September until the middle of November 2017 in two campuses – Zurich and Basel. Healthcare vertical startups will be working in Basel campus leveraging great infrastructure offered by our partners. Startups from other verticals will be working under one roof in Zurich enabling them to benefit from interdisciplinary exchanges going beyond their vertical.

Requirements & Application Process

Applications are welcome from startups based anywhere in the world or within Switzerland, provided they meet these requirements:

  • Aspiration to become a leader in your sector/industry
  • Minimum viable product or working prototype
  • Strong core team
  • International mindset
  • Desire to scale and learn
  • Have not previously won our sister initiative Venture Kick or are currently in this program

As well as a promising business idea in one of the following sectors:

  • FinTech
  • Food
  • Robotics & Intelligent Systems
  • Smart Cities
  • Healthcare

Apply here


Kickstart Accelerator Fintech

With Zurich as a global financial center, Switzerland is well positioned to play an important role within the worldwide FinTech ecosystem. The Kickstart Accelerator will focus specifically on applications of distributed ledger & smart contracts technology, innovations in everyday banking & wealth management, innovations in digital identity, privacy & security and insurtech.



Kickstart Accelerator Food

Kickstart Accelerator is looking for disruptive business models in the food tech space. With Switzerland being the domicile of some of the world’s leading food companies we are interested in radical food innovation in markets with a high growth potential. Kickstart is inviting startups from the whole range of the food tech space to apply: CPG, Food production & processing, services, supply chain innovation, food waste, sustainability or SaaS to mention a few.


Smart Cities

Kickstart Accelerator Smart Cities

The Smart Cities vertical focuses on building smarter, safer and more resilient cities by improving civil services and infrastructure in cities. Switzerland’s cities rank highly for their standards of living, Kickstart Accelerator’s aim is to stimulate innovation to help cities sustain the quality of life of their citizens by providing a platform where start-ups transition new ideas into viable growing businesses that deliver high-impact solutions for progressive city needs.

We are looking for innovative companies with know-how and ideas for future solutions in areas such as: mobility, healthy living, building, energy, etc. and that contribute to the attractiveness of the city, make it more environmental friendly, lead to efficiency increases or higher social inclusiveness.


Robotics & Intelligent Systems

Kickstart Accelerator Robotics & Intelligent Systems

Are you working on a game-changing venture in the field of machine learning? Does your drone startup need validation and feedback, both on a technical as well as on the business level? Get access to research labs in robotics and machine learning at Switzerland’s top-notch universities and meet industry leading corporations with crucial R&D activities in and around Zurich.

From big data to robotics, from artificial intelligence to machine learning – we are looking for disruptive technologies and applications solving environmental challenges as well as improving the way machines and humans interact with each other.



Kickstart Accelerator Healthcare

In order to tap into unexplored innovation potential, Kickstart Accelerator has entered into a partnership with BaseLaunch (initiated and operated by to offer a healthcare-specific vertical. BaseLaunch strives to create the next generation of ground-breaking healthcare companies in the life sciences hotspot Basel.



Participating teams need to be willing to send at least one founder to Switzerland to participate during the whole time of the program. The selection of participating startups will be based on three main criteria:

Team: Business & technological knowledge, diverse & innovative and with strong entrepreneurial mindset.
Traction: Minimum viable product or working prototype with first test users. Having revenue is an advantage.
Potential: Promising and innovative ideas with potential to disrupt industries and sectors.

The selection funnel consists of two stages:

Screening of all applications incl. online Q&A and selection for bootcamp participation
Bootcamp in Switzerland and selection for Kickstart Accelerator 2017 participation

We ❤ our partners

Global Partners

Fellow Partners
City Partners
Media Partners
Outreach supported by

Media Information

If you represent a magazine, newspaper or another kind of media entity, and you want to contact us or if you have any other media related inquiries, please get in touch:

Simone Bächler

General Media Information (PDF)

Press Coverage & Releases

Press Releases

La Suisse invite les startup internationales à perturber les industries clés

La Suisse invite les startup internationales à perturber les industries clés

Internationale Startups sollen die Schweizer Wirtschaft aufmischen

Internationale Startups sollen die Schweizer Wirtschaft aufmischen

Switzerland invites international startups to disrupt key industries

Switzerland invites international startups to disrupt key industries