When grit is not enough

Building a company requires grit in order to overcome the challenges and setbacks, but this is not always enough, particularly when key factors such as funding become scarce.

Dear reader

The funding landscape has remained challenging, with even the most promising companies in danger. One example is 3D printing OEM company Sintratec, which enjoyed global success with customers in more than 50 countries. But its failure to secure funding led to bankruptcy proceedings, and it has now ceased operations.

Although this scenario has become more commonplace lately, there is still hope that investors want to see start-ups succeed. This week’s financing rounds made waves not only due to their size, but also because of the challenges that funded companies face. SixPeaks, which has just come out of stealth mode, is developing a bispecific antibody therapy for healthy weight loss. The Basel-based start-up banked the largest cheque of USD 110 million, with AstraZeneca putting USD 80 million of non-dilutive funding into the series A round to support the pipeline development over the next two years.

Cutiss AG has been developing its first-in-class personalised and automated skin tissue therapy for patients with severe skin injuries since 2017 and is about to start phase 3 clinical trials. The proceeds of CHF 25 million from the first tranche of its series C round will propel this step. Also looking forward to the next development phase after a financing round is Lausanne-based Limula, which provides an automated cell processing platform for the production of highly personalised cell and gene therapies.

Start-ups outside the life sciences space are also picking up speed. SwissDrones is on a positive growth trajectory due to growing global demand for its long-range uncrewed helicopter systems. A consortium of investors has injected USD 10 million in the start-up’s series B round to fuel further development. DAAV, developer of an artificial intelligence-enabled wheelchair to support passengers with reduced mobility at airports, secured CHF 1 million in its first external funding round. Legaltech start-up FlexAgility is also off to a good start – less than six months after its incorporation, it has gained its first customers and the capital to push it through to the next phase.

Nexxiot, which completed installation of one million smart monitoring devices for Hapag-Lloyd earlier this year, is to deploy more of its solutions for the client, hence strengthening their partnership. The global partnership between Swiss start-up Global ID and non-profit organisation Project HOPE aims to use biometric authentication for management of participant data in health and emergency interventions worldwide, starting in Namibia.

Registration is still open for startup days, which kicks off in a few days in Bern – Stefan Kyora and I will be attending. The deadline for Zurich’s Innovation Sandbox, Swiss Hacks and DayOne Tech is 31 May. Visit our Awards directory to view more open competitions.

Have a good weekend.
Ritah Ayebare Nyakato

Duty Editor, Startupticker.ch