Venture Kick running at full steam despite Covid-19 pandemic

In 2020, Venture Kick supported 80 projects with CHF 5 million. The impact of the support is impressive: What was started in 2007, just after the global financial crisis, as a fully private and philanthropic foundation, now represents a portfolio of 450 active high-tech companies with CHF 4.2 billion invested and 8,105 jobs created.

Venture Kick wants to make a substantial contribution to increase the number of high-quality startups in Switzerland and accelerate their funding and market entry. “We kick startup ideas to global success with all the necessary support for the founders to advance their business,” said Jordi Montserrat, co-managing director of Venture Kick.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Venture-Kick-supported startups raised CHF 724 million and created 1,138 jobs in 2020, won international awards and prizes, sealed major commercial partnerships with industry leaders, and exited at strong valuations. The top-10 financing rounds with leading Swiss and international investors resulted in more than CHF 300 million.

Award and merger

Apart from the increasing number of large fundraising rounds and exits from alumni, Venture Kick saw two major highlights in 2020: The prestigious Swiss Biotech Success Stories Award was presented to Venture Kick―alongside a Nobel Prize Laureate and Actelion. Thanks to the merger with Volkswirtschaftsstiftung, Venture Kick is able to execute a growth strategy and will support 86 new spin-off projects from Swiss universities in 2021 with CHF 5.5 million. Increasing the Venture Kick support is important: With over 700 applications in 2020, the demand was at an all-time high and 22% higher than 2019.

Venture Kick has national coverage and attracts applicants from all Universities across the country: a quarter of applications originate from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and in Lausanne, with the remaining 70 % coming from projects distributed among 41 other universities. 41 % of supported projects are in the life sciences; 22 % concern information and communication technologies; 11 % cover electronics, mechanics and micro / nano-technologies; 10 % are cleantech projects but many others have a strong cleantech component even if not classified in this category; and material and chemicals innovations represent 4 %.

Successful pilot projects

To offer the best possible support for the founders, Venture Kick keeps innovating. In 2020 the initiative initiated two pilot projects to strengthen the startup and innovation ecosystem in Switzerland. ”Venture Kick Life Science“ is a special track for Biotech and Medtech, both key assets of our country, with specific jury sessions. The new track is returning strong value for the startups as well as for the jury members and will therefore be continued in 2021.The pilot of the ”Venture Briefing“ events at the major Swiss universities, proved to be essential to securing a systematic pipeline of the best startup ideas from Swiss universities and will therefore be integrated into the Venture Kick program.

“In 2022, we are looking forward to celebrating 15 years of Venture Kick with a big party and all our successful alumni and wonderful supporters and donors. And we want to raise our champagne glasses and toast to a total of CHF 5 billion raised and 10,000 jobs created,” said Beat Schillig, the co-managing director of Venture Kick, probably one of the most active Seed investors in Europe.

More details about the initiative, its impact and the supported projects in 2020 can be found in the annual report.

(Press release / SK)