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This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: Zürcher Kantonalbank, Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC) and Venture Kick.
Project no: GRS-059/19
Amount of funding: CHF 150'000
Duration: 01.2020 - 10.2020
Area of activity:
Clusterförderung, seit 2018
Urs Stender, Managing Director
8005 Zürich (Schweiz)
- urs.stender@bluelion. ch
Compared to other countries, Switzerland has an excellently developed start-up support system in the university environment. However, Switzerland cannot compete with other countries (e.g. USA, Israel, etc.) when it comes to support for professionals looking to embark on a startup journey. Bluelion would like to change this by providing a pre-seed startup program, tailor-made for professionals who want to start a tech-business. By connecting potential co-founders, supporting the team-building process, and coaching the teams during their problem/solution stage, Bluelion aims to contribute with a program, that can be seamlessly integrated into the existing ecosystem (e.g. venture Kick). The goal of the program is to validate both the potential of an idea, and a team constellation, at the lowest possible opportunity costs.
What is special about the project?
The program pursues a new approach of start-up promotion in Switzerland in two different ways: Firstly, the program has a strong focus on team matching and team building. Based on the internationally successful talent-investor approach, the program aims to identify and accelerate the capabilities of each participant, rather than focusing on a specific idea. Secondly, the program is designed for professionals and can be completed on a part-time basis. With only one fixed day per week, participants will receive maximum freedom to meet their milestones.
The project started by creating a community of likeminded people who are looking for a co-founder or a startup opportunity. By creating and spreading content (e.g. interviews with startup founders, relevant studies, blog-articles by and with experts) related to the topic of co-founding, we got around 30'000 unique visits on Linkedin, the Bluelion Website and our Newsletter. With the attention created, we started to promote on-site LikeMinded events, where startups in search of a co-founder got the opportunity to pitch in front of potential co-founders. By carefully pre-selecting the applicants of the event towards the needs of each other, we made potential matches more likely. So far we conducted five LikeMinded events (two of them online) with a total number of 149 participants. Based on various exchanges with single founders as well as our learnings from the event-series, we fine-tuned the concept of the LikeMinded acceleration program and started the call for application in Mai. By mid of July, a total of 56 single founders and pre-seed startups applied for the program, all of them looking for at least one more co-founder. Through an online assessment as well as personal interviews, we selected eight startups
to participate in the first batch of the LikeMinded acceleration program. The program will start on September 16th and ends with a pitch in front of potential investors on December 4th. In addition to the program, we will continue to build up the LikeMinded community and conduct LikeMinded events. Right now, we are working on streamlining the different formats into a well-managed process (LikeMinded Online Community (connect) > On-Site LikeMinded Event (match) > LikeMinded Acceleration Program (validate)).
Key-Learnings so far:
- The market need and therefore the potential of the team-first approach is higher than expected
- The quality of the submitted projects by professionals is high and comparable with university spinoffs
- Getting the attention of the target group turned out the be challenging. In the future, we will focus more on collaborating with network-partners
- The LikeMinded events create real value for the participants, the amount of preparation that comes with it is very high though. We are looking for a more scalable format.
The acceleration program will be validated in Q3 & Q4.
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 19.10.2020