Berne, 19 August 2014
More than 100 startups from the fields of ICT, media and cleantech entered this year's Startup Challenge. Ten qualified for the final and presented their decisive pitch before an expert jury made up of Swisscom managers and specialists from venturelab. Five startups succeeded in winning over the jury with their business model: ScanTrust (Lausanne), eSMART (Ecublens), Geosatis (Lausanne), Hoosh (Lugano) and CashSentinel (Yverdon-les-Bains) are the winners of this year's Challenge award. The five startups will travel to California's Silicon Valley in October, where they will attend a Swisscom-tailored mentoring programme. "Behind these companies are motivated young entrepreneurs who are prepared to take the world’s markets by storm. The Swisscom StartUp Challenge will open up important doors for them in Silicon Valley," says Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, initiator of the Challenge award and Head of Swisscom's SME division.
The five startups will begin the one-week mentoring programme in Silicon Valley – the world's leading site of the IT and high-tech industry – on 12 October 2014. There the young entrepreneurs will foster contacts with international partners and experienced investors and perfect their own business models in collaboration with mentors. "We will use the programme in Silicon Valley to put the final touches to our business idea. We have our sights on the American market and are looking to establish our own branch in San Francisco," says Reshad Moussa, Chief Business Development Officer at the winning startup Geosatis.
Four of the five winners come from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. This reflects developments in the national startup scene, where Lausanne is fast becoming a second hotspot for young entrepreneurs. All of the winners are active in future-oriented sectors such as the energy market, cashless payment or machine-to-machine communication. These business fields offer scope for innovation, making them especially interesting for startups. Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler sums it up: "Since Switzerland lacks its own natural resources, knowledge is our most important resource. We can proudly say we are one of the world's most innovative countries. Startups like our Challenger winners are key contributors to this."
CashSentinel is an escrow service aimed at improving security for people buying and selling used cars. Large sums of money can be transferred securely via mobile phone. Buyers and sellers approve the transaction simultaneously, thereby eliminating the risks associated with making advance payments or carrying large amounts of cash in your pocket.
The goal of Geosatis is that by using electronic, GPS-based monitoring the social reintegration of non-violent criminals can be made easier, more humane and cheaper. The company provides all the products needed for this: from the electronic tag to the monitoring software to the app. The offender can remain in his familiar living environment, thus saving on prison costs.
Which keyword targeting should the company use with Google? Has the company's online ranking improved? How can more traffic be generated on the website? These and similar questions are answered by the online marketing intelligence provider Hoosh. Hoosh helps companies boost the performance of their online business.
The ScanTrust solution protects brand owners and authors from counterfeiting. It is based on a QR code which is integrated into the packaging or directly into the product. The code guarantees authenticity of the item. The customer scans the code using a smartphone app and by doing so simultaneously calls up further information about the item. The generated customer information is forwarded to the manufacturer, which can then use the data to optimise its products.
Reducing energy consumption lies at the heart of eSMART. The service allows electricity, water and heating consumption to be analysed at a glance. The connected devices can be managed via smartphone or tablet. This way customers can keep tabs on their energy consumption and costs.
Impressions and statements on the Swisscom StartUp Challenge in a short video