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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)
Project no: GRS-059/19
Amount of funding: CHF 150000
Duration: 01.2020 - 02.2021
Area of activity:
Clusterförderung, seit 2018
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. 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 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 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.
Over a period of 10 weeks, the 8 participants were trained by proven experts on the most important pre-seed topics in the form of half-day training sessions. The sessions were complemented by various events, during which the participants met successful entrepreneurs, investors and potential co-founders.
At the end of the program, the teams were given the opportunity to present themselves and their idea in front of a panel of investors. The virtual demo day was attended by representatives of the ZKB (funding partner), the presidents and members of the two largest Swiss business angel clubs SICTIC & Business Angel Switzerland, as well as other investors and partners (Start Angel Network, Schwyzer Kantonalbank, EIT Health Innovation, Wirtschaftsförderung Stadt Zürich).
One of the participating startups was already able to secure a seed investment during the program, another startup was successfully transferred to an applied research project at the University of Zurich with significant resource contingent. A lot of discussions between the participating startups and potential co-founders and as well as investors are still ongoing, therefore the impact of the program can only be determined in a couple of months from now. That being said, the feedback of all involved parties (startups, experts, investors and potential customers) were exceptionally good and we will therefore continue with the LikeMinded event series as well as the program.
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 05.08.2021