Kickstart Accelerator, one of Europe’s largest multi-corporate, zero-equity technology accelerators, has today announced its shortlist of 30 startups for its second cohort. The startups will take part in an 11-week programme, from 4 September to 17 November 2017, and will be divided into the four verticals based in Zurich – FinTech (10), Food (6), Smart Cities and Robotics (9) & Intelligent Systems (5).

Bengaluru-based iFuture Robotics is among these 30 shortlisted startups (in Robotics vertical) which made it through and is only Indian startup for this programme of 2017.

Founded in 2016 by Rajesh Manpat, iFuture Robotics (formerly Ark Robots) is working on autonomous mobile robots for large warehouses to make the logistics smarter and more efficient. Notably, the startup had earlier won the first prize in QPrize- Make in India contest organized by Qualcomm and govt of India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

For Kickstart accelerator programme, the startups were carefully selected from over 1,500 applications, after the top 60 were invited to participate in the final part of the selection process - a two day bootcamp in Zurich. At this stage, they had a chance to pitch their ideas to an experienced jury, comprised of industry professionals, investors and corporate representatives. In the end, 30 startups, 2% of all those that applied, were chosen to take part in an 11-week programme taking place from 4 September to 17 November 2017.

Kickstart Accelerator offers startup-friendly benefits packages. Unlike other leading programmes, it takes no equity, provides no strings attached funding and gives access to some of the best known corporates locally and internationally. Having such strong corporate backing is one of Kickstart’s most significant differentiators and allows startups to benefit greatly from partnering with well established market players. Corporates, on the other side, have shown a lot of interest in the programme as well. For example AXA Winterthur and Swisscom formed a team and will join the programme as intrapreneurs.

Global consulting firm PwC returns this year as one of Kickstart Accelerator`s corporate partners. Commenting on the programme, Dr. Christian B. Westermann, Leader Data & Analytics and Partner at PwC Switzerland, said: “Artificial intelligence and the further development of robotics will lead to long-lasting changes in our world, at a speed never seen before”, We are very pleased to leverage our global network to support the most promising startups and give them the opportunity to actively shape these exciting market developments.”

Andreas Kubli, Head of Multichannel Management & Digitisation at corporate partner UBS Switzerland said: "The fintech industry is experiencing fast growth and will continue to contribute to the future of the financial sector around the world. I am really looking forward to collaborating closely with the promising fintech startups in this year`s cohort. I am convinced that we can support young entrepreneurs with our expertise but also benefit from mutual exchange."

From Pollution control to Blockchain-as-a-service

The selected startups work on a variety of innovative ideas, with aspirations to either disrupt traditional industries or capitalise on new technologies. In the Smart Cities vertical, for example, there is a lot of interest around tracking and controlling pollution and two of the selected startups, uHoo and Hawa Dawa, are working on products that help to measure air pollution both outdoors and indoors. Meanwhile, South Korean startup Blocko aims to deliver Blockchain-as-a-service that would provide the environment with development tools and building kits for application developers who are not familiar with Blockchain.

A more detailed overview of all 30 selected startups can be found here.

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