Developing a business idea is always challenging and common knowledge says more than 90% of startups fail. But there are ways to improve your odds: studies of business incubator show the survival rate of a business that goes through an accelerator program can be as high as three times that of companies who don’t. What’s more, research shows companies that completed an accelerator grew faster than companies who didn’t. Though every founder should ask questions before joining an accelerator, it's clear that first time entrepreneurs need support, and at some point, funding. Though thousands of accelerators exist worldwide, here's why the Swiss Kickstart Accelerator could be what you're looking for.
Switzerland, Innovating on More than Chocolate
Switzerland is no stranger to innovation. Einstein published some of his most influential and revolutionary works at the University of Zurich. The country is also home to the Large Hadron Collider, located in Geneva, and the world’s first webserver was Tim Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer at CERN, on which he also wrote the first Web browser.
The Kickstart Accelerator program is a fast-track gateway for entrepreneurs from around the world to access the Swiss innovation ecosystem. By focusing on industries in which Switzerland is already strong and leveraging connections to various corporate partners, the Kickstart Accelerator can offer startups an opportunity that no one else can.
Never before has Switzerland or Europe had a multi-corporate and equity-free accelerator program welcoming founders from around the world. Backed by academia, corporates and the local startup ecosystem, it aims to put Switzerland on the map by bringing some of the most promising early-stage startups from different fields to Switzerland for three months, and doing everything in its power to make them succeed.
More than ever before, the key to wealth lies within the successful execution of ideas. And that’s the gap that accelerators bridge: the gap between the 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration that it takes to go from idea to business.
So What is a Startup Accelerator?
At an accelerator, founders learn what it takes to convince potential investors that their business idea and plan are solid. Most entrepreneurs find that simply being exposed to insightful mentors makes the experience worth it, although there are many more benefits to participating in an accelerator. You might come away with new friends, potential partnerships, and possible investors, all of which will benefit your startup.
Finding investors through an accelerator is easier, too. Kickstart Accelerator and other accelerators like Y Combinator or TechStars the like are usually very well connected with the local investor’s scene. They have already established relationships with venture capitalists, and the results speak for themselves. Fundraising would be harder without the right connections and markets grasp.
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.
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.
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.”
Why Should I Come to Switzerland to Build My Business?
In describing the motivation behind opening a no equity accelerator Sunnie Groeneveld, who handles partner relationships and fundraising at Kickstart Accelerator, said that, “This isn’t a program started by investors but by a set of corporates that are motivated to interact with more startups. For them it is a chance to learn about the most exciting ways to collaborate with new ideas.”
Groeneveld hopes that through their cooperation with the Kick Foundation that they will be able to strengthen the ecosystem as a whole. She says that Switzerland has a lot to offer startups in terms of well established financial and scientific institutions, heavily concentrated in a very small space.
The program is open to the best international startups with a promising business idea within the following 4 verticals: FinTech, Smart & Connected Machines, Future & Emerging Technologies and Food. Founding teams can apply provided they have a minimum viable product or working type, the commitment to build a business and the desire to scale and learn.
You think you have what it takes? You and your team are committed to building a business? You have a minimum viable product or working prototype? Are you eager to scale and learn?
Then apply now: www.kickstart-accelerator.com/apply.
...and I head they have an unlimited supply of chocolate!!