»venture foundation»

In 2013, »venture foundation» was established by ETH Zürich and Knecht Holding in order to secure the future of the »venture» startup competition.

The purpose of the foundation is in general to further support young entrepreneurs in Switzerland and specifically to induct the »venture» startup competition. It is a not for profit organization.

The composition of the »venture foundation» board is as follows:

  • Dr. Thomas Knecht, Chairman (Knecht Holding)
  • Prof. em. Dr. Ralph Eichler, Vice-Chairman (ETH Zürich)
  • Prof. Dr. Lino Guzzella (ETH Zürich)
  • André Kudelski (Innosuisse)
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Vetterli (EPFL)
  • Dr. Marco Ziegler (McKinsey & Company Switzerland)


ETH Zürich represents world-class scientific competence, research to benefit the economy and society, and the education of highly qualified experts. As a foremost global technological and scientific university, ETH Züurich opens up a broad and multifaceted science and engineering horizon for its students. It also offers an inspiring environment as an international research university at the highest level.

Twenty-one Nobel Laureates who have studied, taught or conducted research at ETH Zürich confirm its excellent reputation. Long-standing cooperation with the business world, a location in the heart of Europe, and strong relationships with other world-class universities and research institutions all contribute to ETH Zürich’s unique knowledge environment.

As a hub of study, research, and administration, ETH Zürich hosts 18,000 people from 80 countries—359 professors and 13,500 students. The school is home to 16 departments, 82 institutes, and 3 campuses in Zurich and Basel. Its annual budget is approximately CHF 1.2 billion.

EFPL logoThe Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. A dynamic environment, open to Switzerland and the world, EPFL is centered on its three missions: teaching, research, and technology transfer. EPFL works together with an extensive network of partners including other universities and institutes of technology, developing and emerging countries, secondary schools and colleges, industry and economy, political circles and the general public, to bring about the real impact for society.

EPFL hosts 14,000 people from more than 120 countries – 338 professors and 10'000 students. The school is home to 13 bachelor programs, 24 master programs, and 350 laboratories. Since 1997, an average of 13 startups are created at EPFL each year; 24 were created in 2014 only.

Dr. Thomas Knecht, the chairman of Knecht Holding, is the founder of »venture». While with McKinsey as then Managing Director of McKinsey's Swiss office, 1996 Dr. Thomas Knecht took the initiative for the first round of the »venture» business plan competition in 1997/98, thereby joining forces with ETH Zürich. »venture 98» was a success, which led to the further rounds of »venture». Knecht Holding is active in travel and transportation. Major divisions are the Eurobus - Group, Knecht-Reisen, and Welti-Furrer.


Innosuisse is the federal agency responsible for promoting innovation. It encourages the exchange of knowledge and technology between companies and universities. It also helps them to work together on joint applied research projects and provides entrepreneurs with the support needed to establish startup companies.

Grant funding for R&D projects is available for scientific innovations in all disciplines. In order to qualify for grant funding, the project must be based on an innovative product or service idea offering strong market potential.

Innosuisse provides targeted training courses to encourage an entrepreneurial approach among the next generation of researchers and businesspeople. It also offers expert support in the form of individual coaching for start-ups and for people interested in setting up a company. Experienced coaches provide help and support to establish and develop a company and achieve lasting growth.

Innosuisse-funded KTT consortiums facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology between universities and business partners in a given region. Professionally-led KTT consortiums help business and university partners to come in contact with one another and to develop projects and innovative ideas.


McKinsey & Company is a globally active management consulting company. Clients are the top management of companies, but also those of public institutions and governments.

McKinsey & Company was founded in 1926 in the USA and today has more than 90 offices in over 51 countries. McKinsey has been active in Switzerland since 1962. The three offices in Zurich, Geneva, and Casablanca, with a total of about 215 consultants, serve clients in the most important industries.

While McKinsey offices adjust to local management practice, at the same time offices operate worldwide according to the same principles, use the same pool of experience and know-how and follow the same standards concerning professional responsibility, quality of work, training of staff and problem-solving methodologies.


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