Kickstart 2023: more than 40 new success stories

Kickstart Innovation selected 46 startups and intrapreneurship teams out of over 1,000 applications from 62 countries for its 8th Kickstart innovation programme, an 11-week initiative in collaboration with organisations, cities, foundations, and universities.

The new partnerships enabling the launch of innovations in Switzerland were officially announced.

“We connect established players and emerging entrepreneurs. Since the Kickstart’s inception in 2016, we’ve successfully initiated more than 310 innovation deals and our alumni raised over 2.5 billion Swiss Francs of investments,” reports Katka Letzing, Co-Founder and CEO of Kickstart Innovation. Swiss companies and institutions such as AXA, Coop, Swisscom, La Mobilière, PostFinance, Sanitas, the City of Zurich, the Canton of Vaud, MSD are seeking innovative solutions through Kickstart to further advance their business models.

“Startups encourage us to question our own approaches and to experiment with new ideas,” explains Luca Sigrist, Open Innovation Lead at PostFinance. “Of course, as a large corporation, we can search for new solutions ourselves, but it simply takes more time and ultimately costs more money.”

Topics shaping the future

The core idea of the Kickstart programme is to harness the innovation potential of startups and to combine it with the professionalism and market knowledge of established companies since market conditions are often complex. This year’s solutions are diverse, spanning from digital workforce over renewable energy in underground spaces to quantum-resilient cybersecurity solutions. In total, more than 40 deals have been concluded in the areas of New Work & Learning, Finance & Insurance, Food & Retail, Smart Cities, Health & Wellbeing, and Intrapreneurship.

Selected Synopsis of 2023 public partnerships:

Partnerships in the Finance & Insurance Vertical:

  • Coop and Atlas Metrics will jointly conduct a double materiality analysis for the entire Coop Cooperative, thereby supporting Coop’s journey towards full compliance with key EU-regulation such as the CSRD
  • Pelt8 and la Mobilière are collaborating to make efficient & simple sustainability reporting accessible for Swiss SMEs
  • Cyber threats are not only digital but also real. La Mobilière and LECS by Cyber Evolution are joining forces to explore the potential of an innovative prevention service against cyber-attacks, helping to prevent data loss and business downtime for SMEs, while maintaining portfolio profitability in the face of cyber risks
  • Atlas Metrics, Pelt8 and Swisscom are collaborating on a whitepaper outlining an ESG data utility for Switzerland
  • Calvin Risk and Swisscom are exploring options to add AI Risk Management to the AI & ML offerings of Swisscom
  • QuSecure and Swisscom will do a PoC (Proof of Concept) to demonstrate post-quantum encrypted communications and to collaborate on quantum-resilient encryption for enterprise customers
  • DynamoFL and Yuh are working to bring the power of privacy-preserving Generative AI to personal finance applications
  • Swisscom B2B 3rd Party Services Program, in collaboration with individual B2B business units, announces partnerships with Kickstart Alumni Veezoo, Boomerang Ideas, Typewise, Fjuul Vision, and Canveo. Together with our expert consultation, we offer a range of advanced solutions tailored to the customer's needs: from Veezoo's virtual assistant technology and Boomerang Ideas' innovative market feedback tools to Typewise's AI writing solution, Fjuul Vision's engagement platform for insurers, and Canveo's efficient contract management system – all aimed at improving decision-making, efficiency, and growth for Swisscom customers

Partnerships in the Health & Wellbeing Vertical:

  • Sanitas and QuantActions will collaborate to test how subliminal tracking of mental constitution can be used for early detection of mental diseases in an insurance setting and how Sanitas customers are willing to share their data with either party
  • MSD and NALU will partner up to jointly explore employee benefit offerings around women’s health
  • MSD and alumni Health Yourself will evaluate market applications for HPV testing from home and collaborate on defining and validating an employee benefit offering around women’s health
  • MSD, in collaboration with patient organisations, clinical stakeholders and alumni OneDoc, initiated a nation-wide awareness campaign for HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). As part of this campaign, OneDoc will help patients book an appointment to discover more about HPV and how they can protect themselves, including getting vaccinated
  • City of Zurich is discussing a POC with MiiCare for next year, to support the 65+ to live healthily and independently at home.
  • In collaboration with startup from our selection, Deep Care, la Mobilière wants to improve the culture of health in the workplace by integrating AI-supported health coaching, with the focus on promoting ergonomics, movement and vitality in the workplace through personalised digital coaching and innovative 3D sensor technology to prevent illnesses

Partnerships in the Smart Cities Vertical:

  • AXA and Preflet are exploring a potential Proof of Concept by offering their customers an all in one platform to monitor and change energy usage in their homes
  • AXA and viboo are exploring a potential Proof of Concept by offering their customers a smart thermostat solution to reduce heating costs in their homes
  • To prepare for a larger roll-out, Swisscom and viboo have teamed up to equip the entire site in Winterthur with viboo's self-learning predictive control algorithms and smart thermostats, reducing heat consumption while improving employee comfort
  • A PoC (Proof of Concept) has been agreed upon between Swisscom Broadcast and Uzufly in order to assess the 3D modeling of Swisscom Broadcast Towers using drone technology for inspection and BIM purposes
  • City of Zurich and Uzufly will join forces to explore the usage of digital twins in construction projects
  • Coop and roofSec are entering into a partnership and testing the construction and renovation of flat roofs with roofSec's predictive maintenance system. The aim is to prevent damage and save costs by extending the service life of the roofs
  • enerdrape and Empa NEST partner to explore research collaborations and test new product features and configurations
  • La Mobilière, together with German insurer Gothaer and Eurapco is aiming to run a POC with the German startup, from our final selection, Lumoview on building digitisation

Partnerships in the Food & Retail Vertical:

  • Halba and NuKoKo are teaming up to improve planetary health by exploring the development of cocoa-free chocolate products using NuKoKo's ground-breaking ingredients
  • Betty Bossi and NuKoKo are partnering up to unlock opportunities in product categories, where cocoa is used as an ingredient, i.e., pastries, baked goods, dairy products etc. and understand how NuKoKo can add value to the delicious world of such products
  • Coop and Cognitiwe are partnering to revolutionise the retail landscape. Their collaboration begins with a Proof of Concept to bring artificial intelligence to Coop stores, with a focus on enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of fresh produce management. Get ready for smarter, more sustainable shopping experiences!
  • Coop and Meala Foodtech will partner to develop a clean label version of the Green Mountain vegan sausage using Meala’s protein. Meala Functional proteins serve as building blocks for better & cleaner Plant-based products, improving taste, texture & nutritional values
  • Coop has collaborated with alumni Tide Ocean to introduce sustainable shopping baskets made from recycled ocean-bound plastic. The proof of concept involved transforming plastic waste collected by small-scale fishermen on the coast of Southeast Asia into a high-quality raw material, highlighting the power of partnerships in driving sustainable innovation. The collaborative effort ensured the baskets meet stringent requirements for weight-bearing capacity and durability, proving that Tide Ocean's rPP is a reliable and sustainable alternative to virgin plastic

Partnerships in the New Work & Learning Vertical:

  • Coop and Savvi will partner to upskill Coop’s store and office employees on future-critical (soft) skills with app-based, gamified learning nuggets
  • PostFinance and Atwork are launching a PoC in which the atwork Suite is being tested to measure the level of self-organisation at PostFinance and to receive scientific and AI-based recommendations for action
  • Swisscom and Ada Growth will collaborate to provide the Ada App to female Swisscom talents to gain insights into how it benefits Swisscom's talent class in anticipation of creating a positive impact across the whole organisation
  • Swisscom and Aixa partner up to evaluate the power of the human face to make conversation AI/chatbots more accessible and empathetic to customers interested in our products and services
  • Swisscom and weThink will initiate a stage 1 discovery PoC in Q1/2024 which aims to provide experiential insights into the weThink Calibrate process, to assess its viability within the Swisscom ecosystem and to explore potential implementation pathways within Swisscom
  • weThink and BrainE4 collaborate to enhance decision-making capabilities for United States Air Force leaders using swarm intelligence, a synergy set to revolutionise feedback mechanisms in high-stakes environments
  • weThink and MuchSkills announce a collaboration to integrate advanced AI and dynamic design to elevate team management is, and talent skills pathways to redefine team development and performance

In addition, Pelt8, in collaboration with approximately 20 organisations, including key Kickstart partners like la Mobilière, is leading the Supplier Sustainability Reporting Standard Initiative. This innovative project aims to streamline and enhance sustainability reporting for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Switzerland. While similar to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), our standard is specifically tailored to meet the simplified reporting needs of SMEs, bridging the gap between real-economy supply chains and the requirements of the financial services industry.