The Merkle Kickstart Accelerator goes into the third round

Every year Start Ups get the chance for important coaching - read more

The Kickstart Accelerator, which is located in the Zurich Kraftwerk, enables around 30 start-ups (international and Swiss) per year to accelerate the development of their business. Without selling shares - to do this, the start-ups have to go through a tough, multi-stage selection process.


The success record after two years of implementation is impressive. Following its foundation by Digital Switzerland this year, the initiative has been fully fledged and handed over to the management of the Impact Hub, which is experienced with start-ups, under the leadership of Katka Lenzing and Christoph Birkholz.

The main purpose of the Kickstart Accelerator is to give participating startups direct access to Swiss companies, cities, foundations and universities. The aim is to carry out joint pilot projects and get to know their managers personally. In addition, the start-ups are supervised by mentors selected by themselves and I have been one of them since the first implementation. The selection process between startup and mentor also takes place in the form of a pitch with one-minute videos, on the basis of which everyone creates a ranking list with their preferences. Last year I was allowed to work with Libryo and Fjuul.


The participants for 2018 have already qualified and divided into the following four areas:

  • EdTech & Learning
  • FinTech & Crypto
  • Food & Retail Tech
  • Smart Cities & Infrastructure.

And what does this have to do with Merkle?

For Merkle as an organisation and also for our own services on the market, start-ups, their processes and methods are essential as learning objects (not only in the context of Kickstart Accelerator).

We also see Kickstart Accelerator as a source of inspiration for employee development at Merkle. We want to attract employees who enjoy coming to work every day with colleagues, activities and customers, and people who bring a creative approach to innovation and an entrepreneurial drive as people. In other words, just like a start-up.

And finally, commitment is also important in order to keep our finger on the pulse. For example, our "Digital Product and Service Design" division is comprehensively oriented towards process models that help startups to develop innovative products and services and test them on the market.

In the next post I will report on the process of acceleration and my role as a mentor.