Berne, 06 May 2014
“We are inviting the five most promising start-up companies to attend a one-week business acceleration programme in Silicon Valley where they will be able to foster contacts with international partners and experienced investors. The key feature, however, is that while in the US their business models will be put through their paces by renowned mentors,” explains Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, Head of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and the initiator of the Swisscom StartUp Challenge. If they pass the test, the start-ups can look forward to investment and a partnership with Swisscom. The closing date for applications for the Swisscom StartUp Challenge is 3 June 2014.
Before they get to travel to Silicon Valley, however, the start-ups need to impress in the selection process. First of all, Swisscom and its partner Venturelab will invite ten selected start-up companies to pitch to an expert jury for one of five places on the business acceleration programme. Alongside Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, other members of the jury and mentoring board include Dominique Mégret, Head of Swisscom Ventures, and Beat Schillig, founder of IFJ & Business Angel.
Swisscom has been supporting Swiss start-up companies for many years, for example through partnerships with regional funding organisations or the online platform www.swisscom.ch/startup. The Early Stage Fund has CHF 10 million at its disposal to promote innovative start-ups and develop the transfer of knowledge. “Start-ups are the SMEs of tomorrow – SMEs are the backbone of our economy. Because we believe in Swiss entrepreneurship, we support new businesses and help them on the road to success,” says Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler.
• Access to the broad network of Swisscom’s branch office in Silicon Valley
• Participants are coached and challenged by Swisscom Ventures, Venturelab and US serial entrepreneurs
• Meetings with potential customers, partners and investors
• Inspiration and trend scouting at the world’s most important location for the IT and high-tech industry
• Opportunity to exchange ideas with like-minded people
• Evaluation of a partnership with Swisscom
• Evaluation of an investment by Swisscom Ventures