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Start-up support Swiss venture capital funding breaks CHF2 billion barrier

Man holding wads of money
(Keystone / Martin Ruetschi)

Swiss start-ups and young companies attracted nearly CHF2.3 billion ($2.4 billion) from deep-pocketed investors last year. The figure is nearly double the CHF1.2 billion collected in 2018 and sets a new record.

New ventures in the ICT and fintech sectors received the largest slice of funding (CHF1.2 billion), but financial support for early stage biotech firms also received a significant boost (CHF625 million), according to the annual reportexternal link from online news portal startupticker.chexternal link and the investor association SECAexternal link.

Four Swiss companies - ADC Therapeutics, GetYourGuide, Numbrs and wefox – achieved “unicorn” status last year, meaning they were valued at more than CHF1 billion. Investors poured sums in excess of CHF100 million into five companies, while CHF1.6 billion was concentrated into the top 20 financing rounds.

The report admits that calculating the financial returns for investors is imprecise given that not all start-ups disclose their sale price when they are snapped up by bigger firms. But based on figures that are available, it estimates an average 6.6-fold return on investments between 2005 and 2019.

Zurich top

Given the recent trend towards financing ICT and fintech start-ups above all other sectors, Zurich has gained further ground as the canton that attracts the most investor capital. Young companies in Zurich received CHF1 billion in funding in 2019.

New breakthroughs in financial technology (fintech), designed to provide better personal finance services and improve the performance of banks and insurers, once again increased in popularity.

Venture capitalists nearly doubled the amount of money (CHF360 million) they invested into fintech companies last year. But they left Switzerland’s growing blockchain and cryptocurrency sector virtually untouched.

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