In January 2016, the Swiss city of Zurich witnessed the creation of Kickstart Accelerator, the largest and most ambitious international startup program ever launched in the Switzerland.
Combining strengths from different sources, like academia, globally competitive corporations, and many successful local startup initiatives, this accelerator has a three-month long program that is now open to applications from startups all over the world.
One of the key aspects placing Kickstart Accelerator apart from other accelerator programs is that it provide 25,000 Swiss Francs (almost equivalent in US dollars) in seed-funding, while not taking any equity share from the startups enrolling in the program.
It focuses on areas in which Switzerland has a strong competitive advantage. It looks, in particular, for early-stage startups from these areas:
- FinTech with a focus on wealth management, digital identity and blockchain;
- Smart and connected machines with a focus on robotics, IoT (Internet of Things) and sensors;
- Food with a focus on logistics, processing and food waste solution;
- Future and emerging tech with a focus on the next big thing.
Kickstart Accelerator's program will happen this Summer, from July through September of 2016, and will take the teams from the selected startups to live and work in Zurich. There, they will have access to seed investment, mentoring, office spaces and privileged channels for an easy and fast contact with relevant industry partners.
The program will culminate on Demo Day, where each startup will have the chance to present their company and their product(s) to venture capitalists from Switzerland, corporate leaders, and journalists.
In addition to the aforementioned 25,000 Swiss Francs (in seed funding), the program also supports 1,500 Swiss Francs per month for each founder, to support living costs. They will also have access to dedicated mentors, top corporates, academic partners, and investors.
Ruedi Noser, Council of State of Zurich, gave his insights on the project:
“Switzerland is bursting with incredible resources for young startups. Zurich has countless established, high-level organizations that are interested in assisting young startups both financially and via mentorships. This is a really exciting opportunity for international startups to experience all of the incredible expertise that Zurich has to offer.”