Interest in innovative technologies and new business models continues to grow. After an increase of 35% the previous year, the sum invested in Swiss start-ups again increased in 2017 by a good 3%. In addition to private investors – business angels – and specialist funds, investment by large companies in the financial, pharmaceutical and energy sectors also plays a large role. Politically and economically broadly supported initiatives, such as Digital Switzerland, are another driver.
Investment in companies where the business model is based on the progressive digitisation of the financial industry grew most strongly. Thirty Swiss fintech start-ups raised CHF76 million in the past year, an increase of just over 60% compared with the previous year. In absolute terms, most of the money went to biotech and medtech start-ups, as in previous years. Together, these companies generated nearly CHF600 million.
Start-ups from the canton of Vaud attracted the most risk capital, as in the previous two years, even though the canton recorded a decline from about CHF450 million to CHF300 million. In contrast, all other cantons rose and in some cases made significant gains. Of the top five – Vaud, Zurich, Basel-Stadt, Zug and Geneva – Zurich gained the most, with investment rising from CHF108 million to CHF273 million within a year, an increase of more than 150%.
The venture capital industry thrives on the ability to sell successful companies after the growth period – be it to a large company or to investors in the course of an initial public offering (IPO). There were three IPOs in 2017, but by far the most spectacular deal came from the founders and investors of Lausanne-based medtech company Symetis, founded in 2001. They sold their company for $435 million to the US firm Boston Scientific.
The Swiss Venture Capital Report 2018 is available as a PDF at www.startupticker.ch/en/swiss-venture-capital-report.
About the Swiss Venture Capital Report
The Swiss Venture Capital Report records and analyses all published venture capital investment in Swiss start-ups. The report is prepared by the editors of the national news portal startupticker.ch in collaboration with SECA (Swiss Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association). The study is published for the sixth time this year. The implementation partners are Niederer Kraft & Frey, Technopark Zürich, Fribourg University of Applied Sciences and Innovaud. The publisher is Journalistenbüro JNB.
SECA, the Swiss Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association, represents the Swiss private equity, venture capital and corporate finance sectors. The aim of SECA is to represent private equity and corporate finance activities to the relevant target groups and the public. In addition, it promotes the exchange of ideas and collaboration between members and their clients. Professional training and the development of ethical codes of conduct and their implementation are further areas of responsibility.