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Elite club of investors to eye Swiss tech

Technopark in Zurich is one of the planned ports of call for the European Tech Tour (www.oberon.ch)

Dozens of international venture capital investors and executives are expected to visit Zurich and Geneva in March to get a closer look at 20 of Switzerland's high potential, high tech companies.

The two-day jaunt is the 11th in a series of events run by the European Tech Tour organisation.

It opens with a dinner on March 5 in Zürich where organisers expect 250 of Switzerland's high-tech leaders. This will be the second time that the tour has travelled to Switzerland.

The event will be launched with a speech from Daniel Borel, the Swiss entrepreneur who grew Logitech from a tiny computer mouse vendor into a global concern.

Logitech turns out more innovative keyboards, cameras, and peripheral interface software than its competitors, to the tune of more than SFr1 billion a year.

Leading up to the event the Tech Tour organisation will track down up-and-coming firms. The goal is to introduce these privately owned firms to key European, US and Asian investors and professionals "who can assist in their global expansion", say the tour's organisers.

Tech Tour

The European Tech Tour was founded in 1998 as an independent and non-profit organisation, the brainchild of venture capital investor, Sven Lingjaerde.

Lingjaerde is a partner at Genevest, a Geneva-based consulting firm and a partner with Vision Capital, a venture capital firm that has offices in Silicon Valley and in Geneva.

The tour has covered entrepreneurial hot spots in Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Spain, Germany, France, and Ireland in the past few years.

Typically some 60 participants take part in the tour, including "high position top executives from blue chip technology companies, international venture capitalists, investment bankers, specialized press, service providers and researchers".

Network

There are a number of ways to network and meet potential investors and business partners, according to Lingjaerde, who adds that the committee is still looking for start-ups and companies that want to participate.

"We are specifically looking to identify some of the most innovative and promising companies with the potential to impact the global technology landscape," says Lingjaerde.

The 2003 event will be run by Jan Bomholt of BrainsToVenture, a consulting firm that focuses on corporate finance for very early stage firms.

A selection committee is staffed with representatives from Apax Partners, Avenir Suisse, CERN, CSEM, e-Firm, Logitech International, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Find out more on the tour's website: http://www.techtour.com/swiss03/Index.php

Valerie Thompson

Tech Tour

The European Tech Tour, a non-profit organisation, plans to tour Swiss
high-tech firms.
The goal is to help expedite growth of high-tech companies in the region.
This will be the 11th European Tech Tour and the second round for
Switzerland.
There is still time for firms to apply

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