First the customer, then the investment

Swiss start-ups are still managing to complete financing rounds in the double-digit millions, but what is striking that they are usually already very successful on the market.

Dear reader

Wingtra has established itself as the world’s largest producer of commercial vertical take-off and landing drones. Its signature drone is used by hundreds of businesses and organisations, including CEMEX, Rio Tinto, US Army Corps of Engineers and Kenya Red Cross, across 96 countries. Now the start-up is accelerating again: it secured USD 22 million in the most recent round of financing.

Medtech start-up Lunaphore’s customers include blue-chip pharma companies and other well-known institutions. Sales of the latest product line, COMET, grew more than 350% over 2022 and it is continuing to grow, with a total of CHF 40 million going to the Lausanne-based company from an equity round and a venture debt facility.

Jekta is developing a new seaplane and has signed a first letter of intent for the sale of 10 aircraft. So far, the start-up has been self-financed, but now it is looking for investors.

Success on the market rather than the conclusion of financing rounds has always determined whether a start-up will be able to establish itself in the long term. This is not a new insight for Swiss start-ups  and accordingly they are delivering the market traction that investors want to see today.

This makes them interesting not only to classic VCs but also to a much broader group of investors, as two reports in the last few days illustrate. Maerki Baumann & Co. has entered into a collaboration with Redalpine: clients of the private bank are now able to invest in the Redalpine Summit Fund. And a partnership with Stableton enables clients of digital wealth manager Everon to integrate previously difficult-to-access growth equity investments into their portfolios.

Interest in start-ups is increasing not only among investors, but also among traditional business partners. Librec’s investors are a good example, as they include a leading German multi-metal recycler and Galliker Transport; these two established companies both participated in the financing round in the double-digit million range. Together, the partners offer a holistic solution for battery recycling.

Several federal offices are also putting out feelers to start-ups. With the GovTech Innovation Exchange, to be held for the first time in June, the federal administration is looking for innovative solutions to the challenges of digital transformation. The Federal Chancellery has teamed up with Venturelab for the search – start-ups can apply now.

Speaking of which, the application period for the SEIF Tech4Impact Awards ends on 31 March, and applications are open for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award until 7 April.

Next Tuesday, my colleague Ritah Nyakato will be at the Spark Award ceremony. I would also like to draw your attention to the launch event of canton Zurich’s foodtech vertical on 30 March. Unfold will take place in Bern on 30 March, promising new perspectives and an unconventional exchange of ideas.

Have a cozy weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief,