Learning from the US

There is great interest from US investors, US companies and US accelerators in Swiss start-ups. But if the local start-up ecosystem is to continue to grow, it also needs more activity from Swiss players.

Dear reader

When large sums of money come into play at Swiss tech companies, investors and buyers from the US are often involved. The Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms, took over ETH spin-off AutoForm for an estimated USD 2 billion. US company iRobot, a leading provider of autonomous vacuuming robots, has acquired Swiss start-up Aeris Cleantec, with the aim of making Aeris one of the world’s largest global players in the USD 5 billion air cleaning market.

And two other big US names appeared on startupticker this week. Andreessen Horowitz is the lead investor in the latest USD 13 million financing round for Swiss security start-up Nym. And the global accelerator Plug and Play will set up a branch in Switzerland; the local accelerator will focus on topics such as Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence and life sciences.

As gratifying as the investments from the US are in further development of the Swiss start-up scene, more activity from Swiss players is also needed. Fundamentally, development is going in the right direction; for example, ABB Ventures has taken a stake in Sevensense Robotics and is the fund’s first investment in a Swiss university spin-off. Zürcher Kantonalbank has doubled the money available for start-up investments. Thanks to a regulatory change, Swiss pension funds can now invest more easily in the venture capital asset class. And in canton Zurich, the House of Lab Sciences is a new kind of hub for the lab tech and life sciences sector.

The business angel scene has already developed well in this country; this week, for example, Tyxit completed a pre-seed round. After a successful appearance on the television show Die Höhle der Löwen, Amplify, which focuses on online advertising, was able to attract other investors and thus generate a total of CHF 1.1 million for the expansion of its business in German-speaking Switzerland.

Swiss Fintech Investor Day will take place in Zurich and online on Wednesday – our article presents the start-ups that will pitch. Also on Wednesday, an event on diversity in science and tech will be held in Bern with top-class speakers. I would also like to point out the online kick-off event of the venture competition on 30 November.

Finally, a note on our behalf. At the beginning of December, we will publish the fourth Swiss Startup Radar. It contains a number of data-based comparisons of the Swiss start-up ecosystem with countries and regions such as Israel, Massachusetts, Sweden and Singapore, and we examine the digitalisation surge triggered by the pandemic. Pre-order your personal print copy in your startupticker user profile.

Have a good weekend.
Stefan Kyora 

Editor in Chief, Startupticker.ch