The challenge of innovation financing

The EU’s programme Horizon Europe now considers Switzerland as a third country – a setback for innovative Swiss start-ups.

Dear reader

Basel start-up KetoSwiss is developing food supplements and a pharmaceutical therapy for migraines. A new convertible loan will allow the team to expand its activities in the US and advance clinical trials.

Supertrends uses a range of new technology from data analytics to digital gamification to identify and interpret trends. The Zug-based start-up has completed a Series A financing round of CHF 1.5 million.

The four Swiss start-ups in which Privilege Ventures has invested over the past two months – Biospectal, Hydromea, AgroSustain and Cyltronic – are developing innovations in their respective fields.

Rather than investors, Anapaya has attracted well-known institutions. The ETH Zurich spin-off’s software forms the core of the Secure Swiss Finance Network launched jointly by the SNB and SIX.

The innovative strength of Swiss start-ups was once again confirmed by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s Country Report. Switzerland has the highest share of start-ups in medium and high tech sectors. But the report also highlights challenges: in an international comparison, Swiss founders have less ambitious growth plans.

A comparison with other countries is always revealing, because no matter how positive the development of the Swiss start-up ecosystem, a lot is also going on in other countries that compete for talent and investors. In this respect, it is very disappointing that Switzerland has been downgraded to the status of a third country for the EU research framework programme Horizon Europe 2021. Although there are still opportunities for start-ups to participate, they are excluded from the EIC Accelerator programme, through which CHF 40 million went to Swiss deeptech start-ups last year.

The exclusion may be lifted, but for now Swiss start-ups have to find other ways of financing. Possible options in Switzerland include the Gebert Rüf Foundation’s First Ventures and InnoBooster programmes. This week we reported on new projects in both portfolios, and a total of more than CHF 1 million francs has been committed.

The 10 first Venture Leaders Biotech were also announced and will take part in an international roadshow in October. Applications are open until Sunday for Venture Leaders Technology and until the end of the month for Venture Leaders Deeptech, for which a roadshow in China is planned.

The application deadline for the next Innosuisse Scale-up Coaching programme expires on 23 July. Registration is now open for the Pitching Battle at Swiss Digital Day, Startup Invest’s Roche Startup Day and the UBS Start Business Contest, in which three start-ups will receive advertising support. And voting is open until Sunday for your favourite start-up in the public vote for the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award.

Have a rain-free weekend if possible.
Stefan Kyora 

Editor in Chief,