ZURICH, 19 July 2017

Kickstart Accelerator, one of Europe’s largest multi-corporate, zero-equity technology accelerators, an initiative of digitalswitzerland and operated by Impact Hub Zurich, has today announced its shortlist of 30 startups for its second cohort in the four verticals in Zurich.

1500 startups tried it - 30 made it

The startups were carefully selected from over 1,500 applications from all over the world, after the top 60 were invited to participate in the final part of the selection process, a two day bootcamp in Zurich. At this stage, they had a chance to pitch their ideas to an experienced jury, comprised of industry professionals, investors and corporate representatives. In the end, 30 startups, 2% of all those that applied, were chosen to take part in an 11-week programme taking place from 4 September to 17 November 2017. Kickstart Accelerator will be based in Kraftwerk, an old transformer station which has been converted into a unique collaboration and innovation space in the heart of Zurich.

15 countries and almost half female co-founders

This year, startups from a total of 15 countries, including South Korea, South Africa, Finland, Ukraine and Singapore have made it into the programme. Almost two thirds of the startups (19) come from Europe, whereas five startups will travel to Zurich from the US, three from Asia, two from Africa and one from Australia. "It’s great to see applications from so many countries, wanting to build, challenge and scale their businesses here in the Swiss innovation ecosystem", said Patricia Schlenter, Programme Manager at Kickstart Accelerator, “what I am particularly excited about is that 13 out of 30 startups at the Kickstart Accelerator have at least one woman as founder."

From Pollution control to Blockchain-as-a-service

The selected startups work on a variety of innovative ideas, with aspirations to either disrupt traditional industries or capitalise on new technologies. In the Smart Cities vertical, for example, there is a lot of interest around tracking and controlling pollution and two of the selected startups, uHoo and Hawa Dawa, are working on products that help to measure air pollution both outdoors and indoors as well. Meanwhile, South Korean startup Blocko aims to deliver Blockchain-as-a-service that would provide the environment with development tools and building kits for application developers who are not familiar with Blockchain. A more detailed overview of all 30 selected startups can be found here and below.

Interest from top-tier corporates grows

Kickstart Accelerator offers startup-friendly benefits packages. Unlike other leading programmes, it takes no equity, provides no strings attached funding and gives access to some of the best known corporates locally and internationally. Having such strong corporate backing is one of Kickstart’s most significant differentiators and allows startups to benefit greatly from partnering with well established market players. Corporates on the other side, have strong interest too. For example AXA Winterthur and Swisscom formed a team and will join the programme as intrapreneurs.

Source: Kickstart Accelerator

Illustration Photo: Kickstart Accelerator 16. For the next three month, thirty startups work out ouf the transformed "ewz-Unterwerk Selnau" in Zurich. (credits: Jürg Stuker / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

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