StartUp Challenge 2017 – 201 Startups Have Applied

We are happy to announce that 201 startups have applied for this year’s StartUp Challenge, thank you all so much! While our jury is screening them, we want to provide you with some background information about these startups: 


93% of the startups that have applied are based in Switzerland, only 7% come from the rest of the world. Within Switzerland, we can see a strong focus on the two startup hotspots in Switzerland, Zurich and Lausanne; whereas almost two thirds come from the German speaking part of Switzerland, almost one third are from the French-speaking Switzerland. Only around 4% of the startups that have applied are based in the Italian speaking parts of Switzerland.

Technological sectors

Probably connected to the fact that Swisscom is a big corporate, a substantial amount of startups are focusing on Enterprise Applications. With the increasing need for users to access their data on the go, cloud applications are becoming extremely popular. Many startups are focusing on Fintech, showing that the rise of fintech startups is still going on, among them many that integrate Blockchain technology. Interestingly, many of the startups also focus on Social Networks. Also, since it is getting much easier for businesses to target and access their core audiences, we see an increased demand for online e-commerce tools, which is probably why many of the startups are engaged in that field. Surprisingly few startups focus on AI/VR, IoT or Big Data, all trends that have been predicted to become very popular among startups this year.


And there we go again, an alarming low number of female founders: Only 11% of the startups that have applied consist of at least one female founder. On average, in high-growth technology startups that are venture capital financed, women make up for only 9% of the entrepreneurs. What can be done to change that? We need to actively support female founders and VC’s and to design initiatives like these to be more diverse. That topic has been covered on our ICT blog as well as by a jury member of the StartUp Challenge, Brigitte Baumann. Also, Lea von Bidder, Founder of Ava and winner of the StartUp Challenge 2015, shared some very interesting thoughts on that topic.

And now, what’s next?

Right now, our jury, consisting members of the Swisscom Group Executive Board, Swisscom Ventures, members of our Pirates Hub and external business angels and investors, is screening the 201 applications to come up with a selection of 10 startups that will make it to the final pitch. The 10 finalists will be announced on June 29, whilst the final pitch will take place on August 17. Also, you will have the possibility to vote for your favourite startup and win a prize in the beginning of August. We will keep you posted!