The right amount of self-confidence

The Swiss start-up scene has become more self-confident. Start-ups are growing through acquisitions and people are taking a closer look at the framework conditions. In terms of stronger growth, this is good news.

Dear reader

Two acquisitions drew attention this week. Ten years after its launch, Depsys has been sold to a subsidiary of UK renewable energy retailer Octopus Group. The investors, which in the past have provided Depsys with about CHF 18 million of venture capital, get an exit through the sale. The second transaction is more unusual: Felfel is expanding its position as market leader in corporate employee catering by buying a direct competitor – Snäx, a company founded by Migros five years after Felfel started.

This takeover demonstrates not only the success of Felfel, but also the increasing degree of maturity of the Swiss start-up scene as a whole. Start-ups are able to continue to grow even when competitors are pushing into the market. Another sign of the start-up scene’s increasing self-confidence is the growing interest in the general conditions. Founders are no longer tinkerers in laboratories, but entrepreneurs who are concerned with Swiss politics. Readership of political articles has risen significantly in recent years, and the text on the Parliament's decision to accept FDA approval of medical products in Switzerland is one of the most read.

Today, medtech start-ups usually first seek approval in Europe and only then FDA clearance. Piomic Medical provides a current example. But FDA approval is now considered less bureaucratic and more attractive overall. If it also resulted in approval in the home market, as is now being demanded by Parliament, it would make life easier for start-ups.

Speaking of foreign countries, start-ups have long been top-notch at attracting foreign partners. For example, this week we reported on Bloom Biorenewables, which was selected for the Amcor Lift-Off seed funding initiative and now benefits from an investment of USD 250,000 and a collaboration with the packaging group.

The venture arm of OTP Bank, Hungary’s largest commercial bank and one of the largest independent financial service providers in central and eastern Europe, has invested in deskbird. In addition, OceanSafe and Syntheticus have also attracted investment, School Rebound has secured CHF 150,000 from Venture Kick, Volumina Medical and Minwave are supported by FIT, and five start-ups are funded by the Swiss Climate Foundation.

On 13 December, the winners of this year’s Boldbrain Challenge will be honoured: registration for the award ceremony in Lugano is open until Sunday. Before the award ceremony the Venture Day Lugano will take place. Female founders can apply for the SEF.WomenAward until 9 December. In addition, the deadline for the award of the WA de Vigier Foundation is approaching – start-ups should waste no time in applying. I would also like to point out the Central Switzerland accelerator programme *zünder, where applications are open now.

Next week you can meet me at the Noah at Zurich airport.

Have a good weekend.
Stefan Kyora

Editor in Chief,