Kickstart selects 41 startups for funding program


Zurich – A total of 41 start-ups from 13 countries have made it into Kickstart’s 2023 innovation program. The creators of this major European platform for open innovation observe artificial intelligence (AI) and the circular economy as the strongest trends in the applications.

Kickstart has included 41 startups in its 2023 innovation program. According to a media release, they come from 13 different countries in Europe, Asia and the USA. In total, over 1000 applications were received from 62 countries. Kickstart was founded in 2015 as a spin-off of digitalswitzerland ‘s Impact Hub Zurich and is now one of the largest open innovation platforms in Europe.

The finalists take part in an eleven-week program in Switzerland. They work together with companies, organizations, cities, foundations and universities. For them, it is a matter of becoming aware of trends at an early stage, driving forward their own innovations with targeted partnerships where necessary, and concluding commercial agreements.

“One trend that is clearly emerging is the application of AI and circular economy as a competitive advantage,” CEO and co-founder Katka Letzing is quoted as saying of the applications. As Swiss examples of an important role of AI in the business model, she cites Aixa’s digital account manager and the start-up Calvin Risk from Kloten ZH with the first platform for AI governance, risk management and compliance.

For one of the five focus topics, Food & Retail, a particularly large number of ideas were reportedly received from Israel, Portugal and Estonia. In the further topic of smart cities, energy efficiency is the focus for the start-ups. Lausanne-based Enerdrape, for example, transforms underground spaces such as tunnels and underground garages into renewable energy sources for heating and cooling buildings. Their decarbonization is accelerated by the AI design software Urbio. Other focus topics include New Work & Learning, Finance & Insurance, and Health & Wellbeing. ce/mm