Innovation Blog

Meet the First Class of the MassChallenge Switzerland Entrepreneurs in Residence Program


And we’re off: we’ve started the 4th MassChallenge Switzerland acceleration cycle with a boom!

It all began on January 23rd when we opened the 2019 call for applications for the MassChallenge Switzerland Acceleration Program and the EIT-Food Accelerator Network.

What followed was an intensive road show of 30+ presentations and events: from on-site Open-House events to Viva Technology in Paris, we had it all covered.  6 weeks later, the call for applications for the 4th Masschallenge Switzerland Acceleration Program and the 2nd EIT- Food Accelerator Network, brought over 1000 application from across industries and geographies.

Three months and two judging rounds later, on June 27th we finally welcomed the top 8% of applicants accepted into the 2019 MassChallenge Switzerland and into the Swiss cohort of the EIT-FAN Accelerator programs: 90 high-impact startups, our most competitive cohort to date.

As part of the 2019 swiss cohorts, these 90 startups will have unrivalled access to top corporate partners, world class mentoring from industry experts, tailored programming and a curriculum, to which some of our alumni have referred to as a real “4-month startup MBA”. To top this off, they will also have the chance to be rewarded with up to CHF 1M in zero-equity prize money, and several other in-kind prizes.


In addition, 2019 marks yet another development in our Accelerator: the Entrepreneurs in Residence Program.

The three Entrepreneurs in Residence, each with a proven track record in their fields,  have already walked the path our startups are walking on, and have the expertise, knowledge and wisdom needed to help our startups find their own unique way to success. Additionally, they complement each other across Health and Life Science, IT & Digital, and Agri/Food Tech.

They will play a crucial role in helping our startups capitalize on their strength, while maneuvering through obstacles and challenges, as well as making important introductions based on a lifetime of relationship building and networking.

“We are exceptionally pleased to welcome 3 super strong Entrepreneurs-in-Residence to our team”, said Matt Lashmar, Managing Director of MassChallenge Switzerland. “They are 3 accomplished individuals who have run their own businesses and overcome the challenges of making a venture a success. Additionally they complement each other across Health and Life Science, IT & Digital, and Agri/Food Tech. They will be able to make a massive difference to our 2019 cohort of startups, and enable them to bring their ideas to market, and add value to society.”

Let the acceleration begin!

Meet the MCCH Entrepreneurs in Residence

Didier Cowling

Didier co-founded Kuros Biosurgery AG in early 2002 and served as its Chief Executive Officer until 2017. In 2016 Kuros Biosurgery AG merged with Cytos Biotechnology and was renamed Kuros Biosciences AG becoming public on the Swiss Exchange. Prior to that, Didier was in business development and investment analysis of pharmaceutical, biotech and medtech companies and markets. With over 30 years of broad experience in the field, Didier is now helping and collaborating with start-ups and emerging life science companies.

Vincent Bieri

Co-founder of Nexthink, Vincent has been supporting the growth of this high-tech software company from scratch to 500 employees today, raising a total of $160mio investments, serving over 1000 large enterprises across the globe. He is also active in various roles to support innovation and startups: Member of the Forbes Technology Council, Innosuisse coach, and Chairman of SimplicityBio recently acquired by the Bioinformatic leader Precision for Medicine.

Given his considerable experience/track record in building and growing high-tech businesses, Vincent will be supporting IT & Digital startups with their product and technology roadmap, sales executions, go to market strategies, marketing and communication, investment & financial planning.

Peter Böhni

Peter combines the know-how from two worlds. 17 academic years in life sciences in Europe and USA combined with 29 years in global industries developing new businesses in the European, Asian and African markets. In March 2015, he established for the Bühler Group a new Innovation Satellite at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Lausanne. Since 2003 he has been teaching business strategy and development in the Swiss Advanced Management Program. He will support the MassChallenge 2019 cohort with his broad know-how in food, agriculture and international business development.


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