Increasing maturity

More serial entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who become philanthropists, a deeper understanding of start-up ecosystems and, last but not least, the ability to react quickly to trends and challenges – the Swiss start-up ecosystem has matured.

Dear reader

With more than 1,200 registered participants, this week’s Startup Days broke all records. But it was not only the sheer number of visitors that was impressive, the quality of discussion among the participants and at the sessions was significantly higher than before – a clear indicator that the ecosystem has not only grown in size but also in maturity. Linden 3L has organised Startup Days on behalf of Startup INVEST since last year and now organisation of the event will be transferred permanently to Linden. Startup INVEST’s remaining activities and its investors are merged into the non-profit investor club SICTIC. For me, it is another sign of the scene’s maturity that such promising connection solutions can be found.

A mature ecosystem includes serial entrepreneurs – and their number is slowly increasing in Switzerland. Laurent Balmelli sold to Snap, the company behind Snapchat, in 2016 and has now launched another start-up, IT security company, which has closed a funding round of CHF 5.2 million. Matteo Lettieri, founder of My Beni, also has entrepreneurial experience and in the recently completed financing round, another serial entrepreneur – Fabrice Aeberhard – joined as a business angel.

The commitment of medtech entrepreneur and philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss has made a big difference to the Swiss start-up scene. He has granted more than CHF 0.5 billion to groundbreaking research projects in Switzerland at the Wyss centres and academy in Zurich, Geneva and Bern. Now he has donated another CHF 100 million to the Wyss Zurich Translational Center.

However, Switzerland not only builds on its traditional strengths, it is also able to react to new trends and challenges. Sustainability may be the topic du jour, but it also represents solutions to urgent problems. Various prizes show how much Switzerland has to offer: at Prix Strategis and Prix Perl, CompPair and Enerdrape, start-ups that aim to reduce resource consumption and increase the share of renewable energy, came out on top.  Enerdrape is also one of the five sustainable companies selected for the Swiss Prime Site Start-up Accelerator Programme. All 100 participants in the MassChallenge Switzerland accelerator programme are committed to the theme of sustainability, including 18 Swiss companies. Most of the finalists of this year’s SEIF Tech for Impact Awards are also concerned with resource efficiency.

Cleantech solutions are also being sought for the Swisscom Startup Challenge with applications open until 31 May. The next Kickstart programme is open to later stage start-ups until 24 May. The Mars Habitat Challenge is looking for start-ups with solutions to life on Mars until 30 May. I would also like to mention Zurich Start-up Day next Tuesday.

Have a refreshing weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief,