Achievements from new and traditional sectors

Biotech start-up success is nothing new in Switzerland. However, start-ups that rely on blockchain technology have now reached a higher level of maturity, with reports of success.

Dear reader

Some in the Swiss start-up scene can be surprisingly conservative about certain topics. People still like to doubt that it is possible to build a sustainably successful business on the basis of blockchain technology. However, investors see it differently: this week, SEBA Bank, which specialises in digital assets, closed a financing round of CHF 110 million. Even large companies no longer have any fear of contact: FQX conducted a successful test of its digital financial instrument together with Credit Suisse and Swiss industrial groups SFS and Mikron, and Roche is relying on the solution from start-up Digipharm in a pilot test of value-based healthcare. Digipharm has also gained a new investor – Gawah Holding from the United Arab Emirates.

Good news also from the biotech sector, where Switzerland has long been very innovative and successful. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Idorsia’s first therapy, a sleep aid designed to be more targeted than traditional products. Molecular Partners reported good results from phase 2 trials for a Covid-19 drug – Novartis will now try to bring it to market quickly. Geneva-based Antion Biosciences, founded in 2016, has entered into a partnership with Allogene Therapeutics: the US firm is making an upfront payment and also taking a stake in the Swiss start-up.

Zurich-based Xlife Sciences brings research projects from the life sciences through the proof of concept phase in order to subsequently license them out. The company plans a listing on SIX Swiss Exchange’s new Sparks segment in the first quarter. The equities segment, which was launched on 1 October, enables fast-growing SMEs to be listed on a regulated trading segment.

Sparks adds another attractive possibility to existing financing options, such as a VC growth round or a trade sale. The acquisition of Swiss technology companies show that there are enough candidates. IT security specialist totemo has been taken over by US company Kiteworks, and Creoptix, manufacturer of analytical devices for the life sciences, has gone to British company Malvern Panalytical.

After the festive holiday, events and training start again next week, with Venture Leaders Mobile on 19 January. Two interesting seminars for start-ups take place on 20 January on funding from the Technology Fund and the EU’s Horizon Europe programme.

In addition, some deadlines are approaching. Applications are open until 16 January for Venture Leaders Technology, with the opportunity to win a business trip to Silicon Valley. Applications for Startfeld Diamant close on 23 January and on 28 January for the Swiss Economic Award, which is given to slightly older start-ups that can demonstrate traction.

This year’s Swiss Venture Capital Report will be launched on 27 January, with the presentations streamed live. We will not have a big event in Zurich this year, but Innovaud will hold an after-work, in-person event in Lausanne on 27 January, at which I will present the results.

Have a good weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief,