Have you ever noticed how time flies when you are having fun? The Kickstart Accelerator EdTech programme has drawn to a close after eleven weeks full of interesting events, developments and challenges. The diverse group of ten startups had a wealth of exchanges between themselves, with other startups and the ecosystem in general. For the startups, it was intense and hard work and all said that it helped their business tremendously.
We set out to kick start the businesses and you can be sure we did! The result is there to be seen: 5 proof of concepts (including the one in which Swisscom is involved), 14 pilot projects, 9 beta tests, 3 strategic partnerships, 12 trial launches and much more. In addition to working hard and pitching many times to many different audiences, the startups visited companies, built their own cloud chamber for fun at CERN, were coached by their mentors and challenged by the venturelab team and by me. Indeed, before the final pitch session I spent two days asking them tough questions and challenging them on their assumptions so that they were ready for the final pitch.
The final pitch was a competitive pitch to win a total of CHF 100’000 in cash prizes. A jury of ten education experts, investors, and business people were asked to attribute five CHF 10’000 prizes and two CHF 25’000 prizes to seven of the ten startups. As you can imagine, the discussion was animated. In the end the two startups who won the large prizes were: Mathrix, a startup co-founded by Filipi Cabalzar and Julien Schneider, dedicated to helping high school students boost their maths and physics grades (and soon other subjects) through YouTube and Instagram; and UbiSim, co-founded by Gauthier Dubruel and Florian Brutsche, focused on virtual reality training for nurses. The five who won the other prizes are: Dual academy, InTeach, Mal Math, The Experience Accelerator and Teachy.
Including the initial stipends to enable the startups to attend the accelerator, a grand total of CHF 180’000 therefore went directly into the pockets of the startups. UbiSim has already recruited their first Swiss employee.
Each experience is a learning experience. For me the accelerator taught me no matter how many years of experience one might have, new ideas come from where you least expect it. They should be challenged, nurtured, challenged, nurtured, …. well, you get the drift. For the ENT Academy I gained at least 5 great ideas through the various interactions with the startups that we already could implement. Numerous valuable contacts were established, for example with EPFL and IMD. I also gained a great insight in the EdTech startup scene and it left me hungry for more. If opportunity in 2018 arises again to coach EdTech startups, I’m definitely in!