MassChallenge Switzerland Awards Equity-Free Cash Prizes to Top 2020 Startups

Renens, Switzerland – MassChallenge, the global network for innovators, tonight awarded CHF 400,000 in equity-free cash prizes to the top 12 startups in its 2020 Swiss early-stage accelerator. The announcement – made during the 2020 MassChallenge Switzerland Virtual Awards Ceremony – caps the non-profit’s first virtual accelerator and the fifth Swiss-based program.

The top 12 prize winning startups were selected following an online pitch, during which the startups demonstrated their growth and impact. The 2020 prize winners reflect MassChallenge Switzerland’s ongoing commitment to diversity: 50% of the top startups have at least one female founder. 

“Wow! 2020’s cohort was fantastic, and it was great to see the <best of the best> getting the accolades and no-strings-attached cash prizes at the Awards. These entrepreneurs have bold game-changing ideas and I’m glad that the MassChallenge Switzerland Community has helped them accelerate innovation that will add value to our economy and improve society. These startups are role models to others – and it’s great to see that seven of our 12 winners had women pitching as co-founders, CEOs or Directors”- said Matt Lashmar, Managing Director of MassChallenge Switzerland.

In June, MassChallenge Switzerland welcomed 89 early-stage startups from 22 countries, spanning more than 4 continents, to its first-ever virtual accelerator.
Over the course of the accelerator, the MassChallenge Switzerland team connected participating startups with the resources, partnerships, and networks that helped them grow. To highlight the impact of the program: the 89 startups participated in 1,081 one-to-one meetings during a Mentor Matching event; 192 meetings during Investors Day; 142 Demo Day and Partner Demo pitches, and 188 active corporate-startup exchanges. 

Held on October 29, 2020, the MassChallenge Switzerland Virtual Awards Ceremony brought together more than 400 viewers from all corners of the world for a hybrid in-person/digital live event. In addition to the CHF 400,000 provided by MassChallenge Switzerland, its partners also awarded in-kind prizes worth more than CHF 200,000 to startups in the 2020 cohort: Mazars will provide one year of accountancy worth CHF 10K to DePoly, Urban Connect and Limula; Reuteler & Cie will provide 12 hours of IP services to Naturbeads, Orange Fiber, Aeropowder, Technocarbon, Neustark and Readily3D; and Kellerhals Carrard will provide 12 hours of legal services to Redily3D, Neustark, DePoly, Urban Connect, Aeropowder, and Technocarbon.

The 2020 MassChallenge Switzerland Virtual Awards Ceremony also celebrated the expert community that helped the cohort launch, grow, and scale their businesses over the course of the accelerator. Mentors Thomas Philipon, Mope Ogunsulire, and Patrick Pestalozzi were acknowledged as the top mentors of the 2020 accelerator, based on their involvement in the program, the number of startups mentored and the success of their mentees.

“2020 taught us that change can literally happen overnight, and we’ve learned to accept and adapt to uncertainty like never before. Our evolution over the course of this year wouldn’t have been possible without the strong foundation of our community,” said Matt Lashmar, Managing Director of MassChallenge Switzerland. “During these challenging times, we are so grateful for our partners, our experts, and our broader community who dedicated their time, skill, and expertise to help our 2020 startups build the next generation of transformational businesses. The call to entrepreneurs is clear – people like you have been helped by the MassChallenge Community, and if you have an idea that will make a big impact then come grow with us in 2021.” 


CHF 150K Diamond Winner

SGMA (Sol-Gel Materials & Applications) (United Kingdom): SGMA barrier coating replaces plastic in potecting fibre & metal packaging. It is 100% plastic free, biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable.

CHF 65K Platinum Winners

DePoly (Switzerland): We close the loop of PET recycling, saving 2,000 gallons of gasoline/ton of plastic and reducing the energy to make new PET bottles by 66%.

Naturbeads (United Kingdom): Replaces fossil-fuel based polluting plastic microbeads with natural and biodegradable cellulose beads.

CHF 20K Gold Winners

Limula (Switzerland): Our automated manufacturing platform enables the production of personalised cell therapy at scale, directly at the patient bedside.

Neustark (Switzerland): Enabling circular and carbon neutral production of concrete by turning CO2 into minerals.

Readily3D (Switzerland): Develops the fastest 3D bioprinters in the world.

CHF 10K Silver Winners

AEROPOWDER (United Kingdom): Created pluumo, the world’s first sustainable thermal packaging material made from surplus feathers, designed for food deliveries.

Exomys – Augmented Humanity GmbH (Austria): Develops passive exoskeletons for industrial application. Our goal is to rise productivity and prevent occupational diseases.

IBISA (Luxembourg): Enables the next generation of insurance for agriculture entrepreneurs, harnessing the use of satellite data and blockchain.

Orange Fiber (Italy): The Italian company that patented and manufactures sustainable and innovative fabrics from citrus juice by-products.

TechnoCarbon (France): Disruptive technologies create a path forward towards sustainable architecture, industry and cities, protecting climate & life.

Urban Connect (Switzerland): We deliver an ecosystem of shared low carbon vehicles to corporates that meets all their mobility needs.

Best Corporate Innovation Team 

Re2BeGivaudan (Switzerland): Enables FMCG companies to exploit their waste streams and achieve sustainability goals by joint development at our innovation centre.


MassChallenge Switzerland Founding Partners 

Bühler, GEA, Givaudan, Nestlé, Barry Callebaut, Swiss Economic Forum, Inartis Foundation

About MassChallenge

MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with seven locations worldwide, MassChallenge equips bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change. Since launching in 2009, more than 2,400 MassChallenge alumni have raised more than $6.2B in funding, generated more than $3B in revenue, and created more than 157,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at