Kickstart is an ecosystem innovation platform that bridges the gap between startups, corporates, cities, foundations and universities to accelerate deep tech innovation. Science and engineering-driven technologies have the potential to solve humanity’s biggest challenges. They require unprecedented collaboration between powerful established organisations and the most audacious entrepreneurs out there. Each year, Kickstart brings around 100 such entrepreneurs to Switzerland to collaborate with key players for Proofs of Concept (PoC), pilot projects and other innovation partnerships. The program is free of charge (no fees, no equity) for selected growth ventures and it provides exceptional access to the executives and decision-makers of Kickstart’s partners.
Kickstart is a spin-off of Impact Hub Zürich and was initiated in 2015 by digitalswitzerland. What has started as a startup accelerator for early-stage startups has developed into a B2B program fostering innovation through collaboration between later-stage startups and established corporations and organisations. In 2020, Kickstart runs five verticals (EdTech & New Work, FinTech & InsurTech, Food & Retail Tech and Smart City & Technology, HealthTech) and the Circular Economy initiative, together with leading partner organizations: AXA, Coop, Migros and Swisscom as well as Credit Suisse, City of Zurich, ETH Zürich, Gebert Rüf Stiftung, Mercator Foundation Switzerland and University of Zurich.
The Advisory Board provides strategic advice to the Kickstart team. Board members combine multiple experiences from the innovation ecosystem and they are leaders within major Swiss companies and foundations.