IMD Startup Competition 2020/2021

Seize your chance now!

Could your startup benefit from highly talented, experienced and motivated individuals who have been carefully screened to participate in two of the most selective and rigorous business programs in the world?

If so, this competition provides a unique opportunity for you to get the help and insights of participants in IMD’s MBA and Executive MBA programs.

This offer is open to all Swiss-based startups and runs in collaboration with the Swiss government's Innosuisse-Swiss Innovation Agency, VentureKick, MassChallenge Switzerland and investiere.

We select up to 30 different startups to work with IMD MBAs and Executive MBAs.

We are looking for early-stage companies that have a solid chance of market success, have a team that is curious and willing to open themselves up to a small group of management "students", are pleased to enter into both strategic and business model discussions, and can provide a good learning opportunity for our participants with timing that aligns with the IMD programs.


November 9, 2020: Registration Deadline


December 4, 2020: Formal notification to all selected startups


December 11, 2020: Deadline for the selected startups to accept or decline the IMD offer

Grow your business, test your concepts, get new insights:
work with our MBA and EMBA participants

Many ventures got lasting value from working with our MBAs and EMBAs. In the most recent Swiss Top 100 report, IMD-supported startups captured 32 of the 100 places, including the first 3 out of the top 5. Do you want to be in that group next year?

As additional support for Swiss startups, and to help the Swiss entrepreneurial ecosystem, winners of the IMD Startup Competition will now receive a CHF 5,000 Startup Scholarship to be used to participate in any of IMD's online or open programs!

Recent Winners of the Startup Competition

Grow your business

Boost your chances of funding and success

Test your concepts

Get fresh input on your business ideas

Get new insights

Gather new information with the help of IMD talent

Executive MBA project opportunity
  • Up to eighteen startups will be chosen to work with three Executive MBA classes
  • Split into small teams each working with a dedicated startup, our EMBAs help analyze and challenge your business plans and company strategies
  • Their ultimate goal is to make a pitch on your behalf to venture capitalists and angels in Silicon Valley in September or November (with the presence of your founders)
LocationEMBA 1st IntakeEMBA 2nd IntakeEMBA 3rd Intake
At IMD LausanneJune 15, 2021

Week of April 25-30, 2021 (day to be confirmed)

Week of Sept 26 - Oct 1, 2021 (day to be confirmed)

In Palo Alto, CaliforniaSept 12-17, 2021

Sept 19-24, 2021

Nov 14-19, 2021


Meet with EMBAs @ IMD, Lausanne
Collaborate at a distance with EMBAs
Travel to Silicon Valley with the EMBAs
MBA project opportunity
  • Up to 17 startups will receive the support of our MBA class
  • Split into small teams, each working with a dedicated startup, our MBAs put in an average of 6-8 hours per person on this project each week, for a total support of at least 500-600 work-hours
January 29, 2021MBA-selected companies meet with their MBA teams at IMD in Lausanne that evening
January 30, 2021In-company introductory visits for MBA participants at the company's site (wherever possible or desirable)
January 29 - April 20, 2021MBA-selected companies collaborate with their MBA teams


Meet with MBAs @ IMD, Lausanne
Face-to-face & Virtual Collaboration
Mutually agreed upon project
Contact us

  Blandine Malhet

  Project Manager

  Executive MBA Department, IMD

  » Email


IMD Startup News
*2016 EMBA Startup winner*

Polyneuron Extends Series A to CHF36.5 Million

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*2016 EMBA Startup winner*

Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG, a clinical stage developer of a new class of antigen-specific polymers for the treatment of patients with serious autoimmune diseases, raised CHF 14 million from HBM Healthcare Investments. Swiss-based HBM has joined the consortium of investors in the Series A, led by Sofinnova Partners.

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*2019 EMBA Startup winner*, an award-winning AI-assisted film-making company is giving 20 producers from across Europe access to its platform for 6 months. This is part of an initiative aimed to open up the power of data-driven film-making for independent European producers. In other news, the search for the next James Bond is underway. Largo's ai tool has nominated Henry Cavilll as the most suitable successor of Daniel Craig.

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*EMBA 2018 Startup Winner*

Dotphoton raises seven-digit pre-Series A round and opens orders for lossless image compression software for biotech

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*2016 MBA Startup winner*

G-ray Switzerland, a medical imaging and industrial diagnosis start-up, has announced the appointment of Luis Pallares as Chief Executive Officer, as the company embarks on an accelerated growth drive. The start-up has also raised a further CHF 2.6 million, bringing its Series A funding round to CHF 28 million.

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*2011 EMBA Startup winner*

In just five months, Climeworks has increased its capital from CHF 73 million to CHF100 million, making it the largest ever investment into direct air capture.

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*2012 EMBA Startup winner*

BioVersys has obtained CHF 19 million in a Series B financing round to advance its two lead assets of infectious disease candidates into first in human clinical trials. In line with the round, the company has strengthened its board with the appointment of Eduard Holdener.

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*2006 EMBA Startup winner*

The HeiQ viroblock technology developed by the ETH Zurich spin-off HeiQ Materials is among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven effective in laboratory testing against SARS-CoV-2. Besides application by established companies such as Burberry, Lausanne based startup Red Lab is also relying on the technology for its 3D facial mask.


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IMD business school rankings

At the top of the charts

Our executive education programs are ranked highly by the world's most influential business publications.