Exclusive event of WTFL INNOVATION FESTIVAL 2021"Moving Forward" Edition

Congratulations to the 15 shortlisted start-ups. Check out their profiles here!
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All you need to know about international start-up innovation camp 2020

Who can apply?

Geographical Scope

This is an international call and we welcome applications from all over the world.

Start-Ups Criteria

We welcome applications from start-ups who are younger than 5 years old, have developed a MVP and can ideally demonstrate traction.

Your start-up must operate in the field of travel, tourism and hospitality or demonstrate that your products and services are applicable for the sector.

Please note that you can only apply for one of the 5 categories. We especially encourage applications with innovative business models relevant for the current state of the tourism sector: recovering, restarting and post-covid solutions.

The 5 categories are:

  • Image Recovering

    Recovering (Covid-19)

    Start-ups that support the recovery phase of COVID-19, including innovative health solutions that contribute to safe tourism and supporting local businesses affected by the situation.

  • Image Living

    Living (Hospitality)

    Start-ups transforming the hospitality industry and providing innovative accommodation options and useful tools for both providers and users.

  • Image Exploring

    Exploring (Destination & Mobility)

    Start-ups transforming the way we experience a destination, providing innovative mobility solutions and helping tourists explore and connect.

  • Image Savoring

    Savoring (Gastronomy)

    Start-ups in Gastronomy and FoodTech helping tourists to immerse themselves in a destination through its culinary.

  • Image Impacting

    Impacting (Social Impact & Sustainability)

    Inspirational start-ups who balance between profit and purpose, operate in the field of social impact innovation and aim to foster social change in the tourism sector.

Can I apply if I am a past finalist of a WTFL Start-Up Camp?

Please note that finalists of past National Camps organized by WTFL, such as the Indian or the Swiss Camps, are eligible to apply. However, finalists from any past International Camps, are not eligible to apply.

Is it free?

Yes, it is 100% free to apply and we cover expenses for finalists.

There are no costs involved in the application process. In fact, by applying to the competition, you will also automatically create a profile of your start-up in the WTFL exclusive Dealflow Tool. This is a matchmaking tool for investors and start-ups powered by WTFL which will make your project visible for potential investors to contact you directly if interested. Please note that you can always adjust the data sharing options for each question in the application process.

Participation in the Start-Up Innovation Camp is also free for finalists and we invite one representative per start-up. We will provide you with accommodation for 6 nights. Additionally, we will reimburse you with a maximum of 1000 CHF for your travel expenses.

How many finalists will be selected?

The international jury will select 3 finalists per each of the 5 categories. A total of 15 start-ups will be invited to come to Andermatt, Switzerland and participate in the Start-Up Innovation Camp.

Please note that the Jury will also select 2 Reserves per category and we will also notify applicants if they made it into top ten.

What is the WTFL Dealflow Tool?

The Dealflow Tool is an exclusive matchmaking tool for investors and start-ups operating in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector, powered by WTFL. It is an ongoing project and for the moment we only accept new start-ups to register in the tool’s database when we open a call for applications such as the Start-Ups Innovation Camp 2021. By applying for the call, you will also make your project visible for potential investors to contact you directly if interested. Please note that you can always adjust the data sharing options for each question before and after the application process.

MAIN BENEFITS


  • Benefit from a unique 5-day Camp tailored to YOU

    At WTFL, we believe in the power of mixing different thinking styles and finding solutions and inspiration from diversity.

    In a unique format, we will bring you experts, mentors and top MBA students and professors to coach you, help you grow and challenge you.


  • Showcase your start-up on an international stage

    You will have the opportunity to present your business to high profile investors and industry experts to get global attention.


  • Get a free trip to Andermatt, Switzerland

    You will get a 1000 CHF voucher to cover your flights and we will provide you with accommodation for 6 nights.


  • Win a 5000 CHF innovation bonus*

    * Applicable for Winners

    We know that cash money is very important right now and we are working on increasing the fund by getting new sponsors on board.


  • Meet investors, experts and industry leaders.

    Not only will you meet other start-ups, you will interact with business leaders and investors and build a strong network.


  • Give back to the local community

    You will be able to participate in the Andermatt Challenge where you will partner with top student minds and be challenged to co-create a better future for the region by solving problems and sharing ideas.


  • Join the exclusive WTFL Dealflow Tool

    You will be able to benefit from the tool beyond the competition. Once we launch it officially, you will be able to connect and get noticed by top investors.

How do I apply?

If you have applied for one of our Camps before, your information is stored in the tool. You will need to make sure to update your information and answer to any new questions relevant for the call you apply for.

If you are a new applicant, we recommend that you watch this step by step video tutorial from a previous competition.

* Please note that there might be slight differences in the questionnaire since this video was recorded for another competition. The process remains the same.

What's the timeline?

What's the programme?

  • Sunday, 25 AprilArrival & Welcome

    12:00-15:00 Arrival in Lucerne & Lunch with your support team

    15:00-16:00 Transfer from Lucerne to Andermatt

    18:00-19:00 Welcoming remarks and kick-off

    20:00-21:00 Dinner

  • Monday, 26 AprilFocus on Performance

    09:00-09:30 Morning Keynote

    09:30-10:00 Kick-Off Andermatt Challenge

    10:00-12:00 Pitching

    12:00-13:00 Lunch

    13:00-17:00 Coaching & Individual Work

    17:00- 19:00 Performance input and activities

    19:00-20:00 Dinner

    20:00-21:00 Recap & Feedback on pitches and performance

  • Tuesday, 27 AprilFocus on Your Needs

    09:00-09:30 Morning Keynote

    09:30-11:00 Explore Andermatt

    11:00-12:00 Coaching & Individual work

    12:00-13:00 Lunch

    13:00-17:00 Coaching & Individual Work

    17:00- 19:00 Legal input

    19:00-21:00 Invited by Andermatt (Challenge Companies)

  • Wednesday, 28 AprilFocus on Finance

    09:00-09:30 Morning Keynote

    09:30-12:00 Coaching & Individual work

    12:00-13:00 Lunch

    13:00-17:00 Coaching & Individual Work

    17:00- 19:00 Finance input

    19:00-21:00 Emmi Fondue Night

  • Thursday, 29 AprilOfficial Pitching

    10:00-12:00 Andermatt Challenge

    12:00-13:00 Lunch

    13:00-15:00 Official Pitching Sessions

    15:00- 16:00 Networking

    19:00-21:00 Innovation Conference kick-off

  • Friday, 30 AprilInnovation Festival Conference

    08:30-14:45 Conference & Winners Pitching

    14:45-16:45 Networking cocktail

Who are the jury memebers?

  • René Zeier

    Chairman of the juryHead of the Startup Programme Smart-Up and the Master Programme Business Development and Promotion, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

    For twelve years, René Zeier has been contributing to the further development of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in several leadership roles. Before that, he managed his own consulting company with ten employees for six years, supporting multinational corporates in global customer management. He practiced marketing and sales during nine years while working for Nestlé, Novartis and Coca-Cola in management functions. Today he is also a member of the board of the mid-size Swiss Brewery Falken, president of a ski school, vice-president of the Züri-Fäscht and president of the foundation Valea Lupului, supporting an orphanage in Romania.

  • Dominique Gruhl-Bégin

    Category RecoveringHead of Start-ups and Next-Generation Innovators Division, Innosuisse

    Dominique Gruhl-Bégin has more than 13 years of global experience in innovation promotion, international trade, supply chain, negotiations as well as in art curating. She has been leading the Start-up and Next Generation Innovators Division at the CTI and Innosuisse since 2016, where she is also a member of the executive committee. Prior to that, Dominique worked as a trade commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Bern, as a management consultant at A.T. Kearney in Chicago, USA, and also in strategic procurement for a Silicon Valley-based company Agilent technologies.

  • Sebastian Guenther

    Category RecoveringInnovation & Design Lead CH, Accenture Ventures

    Sebastian Guenther is an innovation consultant and business strategist at Accenture, who leads the Innovation & Design Unit in Switzerland and heads Accenture Ventures in the DACH region. His more than 10 years expertise is in identifying, developing and implementing new business models, products and services, and technologies, with particular focus on big data. In his role at Accenture, he has helped clients to establish multiple digital businesses and led them to success.

    He holds a BA in Business Informatics from Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg and the Open University London.

  • Christoph Schuh

    Category LivingPartner at Lakestar

    Christoph is a Partner at Lakestar and focuses on growth investments in travel, transportation and mobility. He also advises portfolio companies on marketing and ‘go-to-market’ related matters.

  • Michael Ros

    Category LivingCEO & Co-Founder, Bidroom

    A natural-born entrepreneur coming from the hospitality industry, Michael started his first company at the age of 18. As a fast learner with a creative mind, at the age of 24 he was able to manage corporate B2B sales for 4 years for a large, international enterprise and was responsible for an annual turnover of 45 million Euro. On the grounds of that experience and his passion for travel, he then founded the online travel agency Travelservice and a successful hotel booking startup Bidroom later on. His business intuition made him decide that Bidroom should improve the global hospitality market with a commission free model, making the platform the world's first of this kind. With his knowledge of corporate business negotiations and inspiring leadership, he secured over 15 million Euro for the continued expansion of the awarded startup, for which he oversees daily leadership and strategy of the company.

  • Dr. Mario Hardy

    Category ExploringCEO, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)

    In 2014, Mario Hardy was appointed as CEO of PATA. He has over 30 years of experience in specialized aviation businesses focusing on data analytics and technology, coupled with corporate leadership expertise. He is the founder of Venture Capital firm MAP2 | Ventures, an investment fund and platform providing management advice, mentorship and access to networks in corporate development. Mario is also a partner at Vynn Capital with investments in transactional based businesses in travel, logistics and real estate.

  • Pablo Garcia

    Category ExploringDirector at Spark Crans-Montana, Innovation Sphere by Les Roches.

    Pablo brings 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry in different leading positions and as consultant and 10 years in innovation as an entrepreneur and as a mentor. Multidisciplinary, creative and curious by nature, Pablo leads a new initiative at Les Roches, a world’s leading hospitality school, where entrepreneurs, tech companies, students and professors and public and private institutions co-create the future hospitality solutions"

  • Stephanie Naegeli

    Category SavoringChief Strategic Business Development Officer at Swiss Food Service Company SV Group

    Stephanie Naegeli joined the Swiss Food Service Company SV Group as Chief Strategic Business Development Officer in November 2019 as part of the executive board. In her role she steers the innovation strategy for the group, focusing on new scalable business opportunities that enhance the company’s existing areas of operation to drive growth. In particular, she leads the exploration, testing and implementation of new business models with a digital-first mindset, applying lean startup methodologies to accelerate digital transformation.

    Stephanie holds a master’s degree in Marketing, Services and Communication Management from the University of St. Gallen (HSG)

  • Begoña Rodríguez

    Category SavoringDirector of BCC Innovation, Basque Culinary Center

    She has extensive experience in business management. Likewise, she has supported startups in different acceleration processes. Aware of diverse industrial sectors thanks to her activity as advisor in strategy, innovation and business models. Currently, she is the Director of BCC Innovation, having previously assumed different responsibilities in knowledge development companies.

    Degree in Business Administration and Master in Innovation and Technology, both from Deusto Business School.

  • Reto Ringger

    Category ImpactingFounder and CEO Globalance Bank

    Reto Ringger (55) is an entrepreneur who is active at the junction between the financial markets and sustainability. In 2011 he founded Globalance Bank Ltd., which today he leads as its CEO. Globalance Bank is an owner-run Swiss Private bank and is specialized in sustainable investments.

    Before starting Globalance Bank, Reto founded SAM Group 1995. In collaboration with Dow Jones, SAM launched the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

    Reto Ringger has received various awards for his entrepreneurial activities.

    Reto Ringger holds a degree in economics (lic. oec. publ.) from the University of Zurich. From 2012 - 2018 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Club of Rome and was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of WWF Switzerland from 2012 - 2016.

  • Stefania Avanzini

    Category ImpactingCo-Director, Ashoka Switzerland

    Stefania Avanzini co-leads the Swiss office of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs with 3,600+ Fellows working for systemic change in 90+ countries.

    Ashoka supports them to maximize their impact, and to empower others to become changemakers – individuals engaged in building a more sustainable and inclusive society.

    Stefania has 12+ years of experience in Marketing and Social Innovation in Africa & Europe and started her career working for Danone Investment fund in social businesses.

    She holds a diploma in Management of Public Administrations from Bocconi Business School and a master in Alternative Management from ESCP Europe and HEC Paris.

Contact us

  • ELENA CHOLAKOVA

    Head of Innovation Projects

    Elena is a managing partner for the WTFL Start-Up Innovation Camps projects. She specializes in Tourism Strategy and is passionate about social entrepreneurship in emerging economies. Elena brings 5 years experience working for UNWTO on development projects related to the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 and runs her own consulting and project management company- TIPS2030. In her free time she likes to travel and trains martial arts.

  • MARTIN BARTH

    President & CEO

    Martin brings 25 years of corporate and academic career on board. In 2008, he founded World Tourism Forum Lucerne and since then his mission is to promote sustainable, innovative and diverse tourism and bridge the silos between generations. Martin spends his free time in Swiss nature.