Gender gap closes only slowly

The number of female-led start-ups in Switzerland is rising, but at a glacial pace.

Dear reader

There are several good reasons for optimism about the Swiss start-up scene despite the current tech crisis. These include the solid business models and the technological basis of local companies. Taurus has established itself as the number 1 digital asset infrastructure provider for Tier 1 banks in Europe and has now completed a financing round of USD 65 million. Insurtech Wefox has secured another USD 55 million. And plenty of money is going into deep-tech companies: UNISERS, a semiconductor metrology start-up that identifies invisible contamination-caused defects in semiconductor materials, raised USD 14 million in seed funding led by Intel Capital.

We reported on a total of eight investments this week that raised more than CHF 130 million, one which was Terapet, a start-up led by a woman. In addition, Gene Predictis, another life sciences company with a female CEO, was able to make an exit. Other female founders from the healthcare sector can be found among the current winners of the Future of Healthcare Grants. Three of the six funded start-ups from Switzerland are headed by a woman, and the same applies to the six ICT companies that we present in our article on companies that have been awarded the Innosuisse Certificate – here too the proportion of female bosses is 50%.

The number of female founders is certainly increasing in Switzerland, but far too slowly and from a very low base. Several networked initiatives want to change this: this week we reported on the launches of Collective and The Inclusive Way initiative by the FE+MALE think tank.

The most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor also found a slightly smaller gender gap between male and female founders in Switzerland than in the previous year. Beyond that, the results for Switzerland are mixed; our article gives an overview.

This week, the names of the 10 start-ups that will travel to Silicon Valley as part of Venture Leaders Technology Program were announced. On 22 March, they will introduce themselves as part of an online pitch session. The call for applications for Venture Leaders Biotech is currently open.

A webinar by Innosuisse on the new funding instrument ‘start-up innovation projects’, through which start-ups can be directly funded, also takes place on 22 March and applications can be submitted from that date.

Don’t miss a few important deadlines at the beginning of March. Registration for this year’s MassChallenge is open until 1 March. The application period for the venture competition ends on 2 March. And applications for this year’s Swiss Fintech Awards must be submitted by 10 March.

The first selection round has already taken place for the WA de Vigier Foundation Award and on 23 February 50 start-ups will pitch to go through to the next round – broadcast via livestream.

Applications can be made to Venture Kick at any time. The latest winner of CHF 150,000 was announced this Friday – ETH Zurich spin-off AtlasVR has developed a platform for VR training in industry.

Have a good weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief,