Enduring boom in sustainable start-ups

Switzerland appears to be in a good position in terms of sustainable start-ups and this general impression can now be substantiated with data. For the latest edition of Swiss Startup Radar, we evaluated the data of 20,000 environmental start-ups. The analysis shows that in no other important ecosystem is the number of sustainable start-ups per capita higher than in Switzerland.

Dear reader

In the fifth edition of Swiss Startup Radar, which has just been published, my co-author Michael Rockinger and I again compare the performance of the Swiss start-up ecosystem with other countries – the focus this time is on sustainable start-ups. The results are encouraging: the absolute number of environmental start-ups in Switzerland is clearly higher than in Japan, Israel and Sweden. In the 20 ecosystems with the highest absolute number of these companies, there are nowhere more companies per capita than in this country. It is not so much classic cleantech start-ups that are responsible for the boom, but Industry 4.0 start-ups and young companies from the food and clothing sectors.

The analysis also shows that the boom started only in 2019. I have no doubt that it will continue, if only because of the persisting energy and resources scarcity. Start-ups that can provide a remedy are on a growth trajectory and a good example is LEDCity. The sensor-controlled lighting systems from the Zurich start-up enable energy savings without sacrificing comfort. The expansion abroad has been successful and this year LEDCity will achieve sales of CHF 4.5 million.

Optimism about the further development of sustainable Swiss start-ups is due also to their outstanding engineering knowledge. BorgWarner, a US automotive supplier with sales of USD 15 billion, has bought Biel-based Drivetek for CHF 35 million. The expertise of the Biel-based company is in demand for BorgWarner’s products for electric heavy-duty trucks.

Most of the money in the financing rounds this week went to Loft Dynamics: the start-up from Schaffhausen, in which US investors are investing CHF 20 million, has developed a VR simulator for training flights with helicopters. Its package is 10 times smaller and roughly 20 times less expensive than traditional full-motion simulators.

Saporo has secured EUR 4 million from investors. The cyber security start-up entered the market only in January this year and already serves companies with teams of between 500 and 30,000 employees in healthcare, banking and insurance.

For start-ups that count financial service providers among their customers, there was also good news on the investor side this week. TX Ventures, the venture arm of the TX Group, has launched a CHF 100 million fund for fintechs.

In addition to investors, support organisations have also been very active with announcements. MinWave has secured CHF 150,000 from Venture Kick, the Fongit Innovation Fund is supporting five projects with a total of CHF 350,000 and Biopôle has included Consulto in its Vanguard Accelerator.

Next week you can meet me in Lugano at Venture Day organised by Startup Invest and Sictic, and at the Boldbrain Challenge awards ceremony. I would also like to draw your attention to the approaching deadlines for the *zünder accelerator and the WA de Vigier Foundation award.

Have a cozy weekend.
Stefan Kyora 

Editor in Chief, Startupticker.ch