Crash, crisis or soft landing

Although larger financing rounds continue to be made and new funds launched, the nervousness in the Swiss start-up scene is evident, as events arising from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank have shown. However, the level of maturity of the ecosystem and the growing interest of investors suggest a soft landing rather than a profound crisis.

Dear reader

In terms of investments, it was a successful week, with Verity securing CHF 30 million. The Zurich-based start-up, which specialises in drones for automatic inspections in warehouses, intends to use the money to further drive global growth. Invenda generated USD 19 million: the provider of automated retail technology is also aiming for international growth, with the focus on the US.

But despite the continuing positive development in financing, nervousness is high. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank triggered hectic activity in Switzerland last weekend. Some start-ups were directly affected, but more important were the effects on US VCs, which have invested similar amounts of money in Switzerland in recent years as local investors. The fact that the situation was resolved quickly was thus of great importance to the local ecosystem.

A big crash was avoided, but financing conditions have deteriorated compared with previous years. The rounds are smaller, the valuations lower – as Thomas Dübendorfer, president of the Angel Investor Club SICTIC, reports in our interview to coincide with the presentation of the SICTIC Investment Report, which takes stock of SICTIC activities in 2022 and gives an outlook for 2023.

In 2022, SICTIC not only increased the number of financing rounds, but also the number of members – to 518 – due not least to the number of start-up founders joining the club after the exit of their company. The increasing number of start-up success stories and experienced multiple founders and angel investors has not escaped ACE & Company’s attention. The renowned VC based in Geneva is launching a EUR 150 million fund with a focus on Switzerland ­– the decisive factor was that Switzerland now has a critical mass of talent and success stories. Steve Salom, Uber’s former general manager for France, Switzerland and Austria, is joining ACE & Company as a partner to co-run its venture capital arm and launch the new fund.

The growing interest of investors in Swiss start-ups suggests more a soft landing than a profound crisis. In addition, more and more local companies are able to pull off successful crowd financing. This week we reported on watch brand Code41 and Senbiosys. The EPFL spin-off has raised more than CHF 500,000 for its smart ring, which provides users with a comprehensive picture of their health and wellness.

Next week you can meet us at START Summit, where we will have our own stand. We will also be present at an event organised by the Innovation Office at the University of Basel, where several spin-offs will pitch.

Don’t miss the deadline for the SEIF Tech for Impact Awards on 31 March. I would also like to point out that applications to Venture Kick can be made at any time.

Have a good weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief,