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ZHAW Startup Challenge

Update Challenge 2018

From 16 to 25 August, Steven Rüttimann represented ZHAW and Switzerland with his Blockflyer startup at the Virginia Tech Global Challenge. The finalist of this year’s ZHAW Startup Challenge did not win the US$ 30,000 cash prize with Blockflyer, he is that much wealthier with exciting, new impressions and many useful contacts.

Interview mit Steven Rüttimann
(PDF 266,4 KB)

The next ZHAW Startup Challenge will take place in spring 2019. Follow us now on Facebook to keep up to date.


The winning team flies to the US, competes in the Virginia Tech Global Challenge against other teams from all around the world, and has the chance to win up to $25,000!

Moreover, the top 3 teams get 6 months of free membership at the RUNWAY Startup Incubator where they can push their startup to the next level.  

Interview mit Nexenic - Gewinner der ZHAW Startup Challenge 2017


  • The ZHAW Startup Challenge is open to all enrolled ZHAW Bachelor’s and Master’s students.
  • Exchange students are also welcome to join.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have an idea or a team yet, we will help you find a team!


  • Just sign up for one of our Kick-Off Events.
  • We'll support you and your team throughout this journey.
  • You'll benefit from first class startup and pitch training, as well as a personal coach.


Virginia Tech at a Glance

  • Located in Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Nine colleges and graduate school
  • 100+ bachelor's degree programs
  • 150 master's and doctoral degree programs
  • 33,170 students on and off the main campus
  • 16:1 student-faculty ratio
  • Main campus includes 213 buildings, 2,600 acres, and an airport
  • Facilities across the state and around the globe, including a strong presence in Northern Virginia and the nation's capital
  • Ranked 44th in university research in the United States
  • Has adjacent corporate research center

You want to learn more about Virginia Tech? Check out their website.

Past Challenges

Winners 2017 - Nexenic

zhaw startup challenge 2017

“Nexenic” (previously funicX) is the winner of the ZHAW Startup Challenge 2017. The three aspiring engineers (ZHAW School of Engineering) have developed a solution to a problem from their everyday student life: a thermoelectric lunch box. Their idea was inspired by the long queues at the microwaves with students waiting for heating up their lunches in the cafeteria.

In August 2017, the Nexenic team flew to our partner university in Virginia (USA) and represented Switzerland in the Virginia Tech Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge. They won the People's Chioce Award donated with US$ 5'000!

Winners 2016 - CoatChecker

In 2016, Alexander, Nusret and Joris, students from the ZHAW School of Engineering won the ZHAW Startup Challenge and represented Switzerland at Virginia Tech Global Challenge.

They developed a hand device to measure the thickness of materials without destroying the material itself. Not only an outstanding pitch convinced the jury, but also the technology and the huge market potential.

Based in the ZHAW RUNWAY Startup Incubator, CoatChecker is working on the prototype and their market-entry strategy.

Winners 2015 - EntoLog

EntoLog aims to help tackle the growing global challenge of producing nutritious protein-rich foods using a state of the art technology that enables the extraction of proteins and other valuable components from insects. Using its innovative technology, the entire insect can be processed into a variety of industrial grade food products in order to meet different customer needs at qualities that are comparable with existing protein-rich foods.

At the Virginia Tech Global Challenge, where they represented Switzerland in 2015, they were awarded The People’s Choice Award $5'000.



The ZHAW Startup Challenge is kindly supported by:

Any Questions?

  • Zur Website Technopark Winterthur
  • Zur School of Management an Law
  • Zur School of Engineering
  • Zur Website Zürcher Kantonalbank