First IPO Day broke down barriers


For 15 years an IPO didn’t seem to be a viable option for Swiss start-ups. But this is slowly changing. At the first Swiss IPO Day held this week in Zurich Swiss start-ups met with investment bankers and advisors and received answers to their burning questions. 


On Tuesday 100 participants gathered at Kraftwerk in Zurich for the first IPO Day organised by Swiss Startup Invest and supported by Euronext and Rothschild. "I wanted an event where start-ups can meet investment bankers", said Soeren Bjoennes, Managing Director at Euronext Switzerland, in his welcoming address. The interest shown by bankers was evident. 12 of them were on stage to explain what they are doing and why they could be a possible partner for the start-ups. The bankers were from several Europaen Countries and some of them have already worked for Swiss companies such as Symetis. Investment Banks on stage included:  

After the investment bankers 15 high tech companies pitched including for example Xeltis, a medtech company which had just closed a financing round of more than CHF 50 million. The full list of the startups can be found on the website of the event. The pitching session was followed by 60 one to one meetings. After the event entrepreneurs were very satisfied. For example Jonas Zeller, CFO at Innomedica said: “During the event we established a lot of interesting contacts”.

Important insights about IPOs
During a workshop, speakers shared important insights about IPOs. Over a long period of time an IPO was only seen as a viable option for companies with a valuation of more than CHF200 million. However over the last two years more and more companies went public that were valued clearly less than CHF 100 million. The proportion of shares held by the public (free float) after the IPO is usually 25 to 30%.

One central argument for an IPO as alternative to a trade sale became also clear. An IPO gives investors different options. They can sell their shares, hold them or can invest more. If investors have different goals an IPO is an opportunity to reconcile these goals.  

Apart from this generic information a lot of questions were answered for example regarding the effort an IPO involves, the role of the management or how the process of an exit can be structured in a way that an IPO as well as a trade sale remain feasible as long as possible. Representatives of several Swiss startups asked numerous questions. Given the keen interest and the intense networking it would come as no surprise if more Swiss start-ups would venture to the trading floor in the near future.