Keep it simple

With their complex products, Swiss start-ups rely on ease of use and thus attract investors as well as customers.

Dear reader

Almost CHF 70 million was invested in three drone start-ups this week: Daedalean, Fotokite and Drone Harmony. Daedalean develops autonomous piloting software systems for existing and new aircraft types, such as self-flying air taxis. An international consortium is investing CHF 53 million in the Zurich company. Both Fotokite and Drone Harmony have been successful in the market for a long time and both focus on ease of use, Fotokite with tethered drones for rescue workers and Drone Harmony with planning software for inspection flights. Fotokite will receive CHF 17.7 million and Drone Harmony CHF 1.5 million.

Terra Quantum also focuses on user simplicity. The company, which this week announced closure of a USD 60 million financing round from investors including major German family offices and Lakestar, offers quantum computing as a service.

And anyone looking for easy-to-use Industry 4.0 applications will find what they are looking for in Switzerland. Amplo’s smart maintenance platform enables service engineers without machine learning knowledge to use sensor data for AI-based industry 4.0 applications. Amplo has completed a financing round, with serial entrepreneur Manuel Grenacher and Beekeeper co-founder Flavio Pfaffhauser coming on board.

Deeptech start-ups from the life sciences have also been successful. Novo Nordisk relies on EraCal’s technology to develop new drugs, ND Biosciences secured a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Oncobit received CHF 150,000 from Venture Kick.

‘Keep it simple’ could be the headline above our interview with National Councillor Judith Bellaiche on stamp duty, which will be put to the vote on 13 February. The tax confuses foreign investors in particular and reduces the income of start-ups from capital increases. I would like to point out our article on a second initiative that will also be voted on in February, which wants to ban animal testing and clinical trials in Switzerland and the import of medicines manufactured with the help of animal testing or clinical trials.

Next week, we will present the new Swiss Venture Capital Report via live stream on Thursday morning. Print copies of the report can be ordered in your profile on On Thursday afternoon, Innovaud is organising an event in Ecublens at which I will also present the new report.

Applications are open for the Swiss Economic Award until 28 January. The prize is awarded in the categories ‘Services’, ‘High-tech/Biotech’ and ‘Production/Trade & Industry’ and recognises start-ups that have an impressive track record and can demonstrate extraordinary entrepreneurial success.

Space-related start-ups should apply to the ESA Business Incubation Centre Switzerland by the end of January if they want to benefit from a support package that includes seed financing of up to EUR 200,000. Members of universities of applied sciences with entrepreneurial projects can apply for the First Ventures funding programme until 1 February.

Have a good weekend
Stefan Kyora 

Editor in Chief,