Bad news for once

The proportion of investment in female-led start-ups is stagnating at a low level, but the life sciences sector provides a ray of hope.

Dear reader

Start-ups with female CEOs closed 9.4% of all financing rounds in 2022, and 3.1% of the total invested capital went to these companies. This is shown by our evaluation based on Swiss Venture Capital Report. The numbers are low and what makes them particularly disappointing is that no improvement is in sight. The proportion has fluctuated around 10% in terms of the number of financing rounds and about 3% in terms of invested capital for years. The number of start-ups with female CEOs is increasing, as is investment – but not faster than for all start-ups as a whole.

Our analysis also took individual sectors into account. The situation looks a little better in the life sciences and also in consumer products. So it’s no surprise that the start-ups with female CEOs that made headlines this week come from these two sectors. Dagsmejan made it into the top 50 in the FT’s list of Europe’s fastest growing companies, with the sleepwear company taking first place in the ‘Apparel and Fashion’ category. The founder of MyLeg can be found in the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list. Find out which other Swiss start-ups were selected for the two lists in our article.

A new spin-off from the University of Zurich – metaLead Therapeutics – received CHF 150,000 from Venture Kick, and Resistell launched an international clinical trial for its rapid antibiotic tests.

Basel-based biotech company Noema Pharma, which develops drugs to treat diseases of the central nervous system, completed the largest financing round of the year to date, generating CHF 103 million. Although the CEO is a man, Noema Pharma shows that women can hold important positions in biotech companies, as four of its nine board members are female.

Incidentally, fintech brings up the rear in the evaluation of investment in female-led start-ups by sector, which is unfortunate since the sector is highly dynamic. The recent fintech study by Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts offers a comprehensive overview. Our article summarises the most important results and the most surprising trends, including the resurgence of the blockchain sector. It is thus fitting that Relai’s bitcoin-only platform secured an investment of more than USD 4.5 million this week.

Another notable piece of fintech news this week was the announcement of the partnership between UBS and Tenity ­ – as part of this, UBS Next will invest in the Tenity Incubation Fund.

Next week, the Tech4Eva Opening Ceremony 2023 will take place in Kaiseraugst on Tuesday. The SICTIC Investor Day will take place at Google in Zurich on Thursday; the event, at which the latest SICTIC Investor Report will be presented, can also be followed via livestream. We will be there.

I would also like to point out Venture Leaders Biotech, which is offering a business development trip to Boston. Applications are open until 19 March.

Have a good weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief,