This week, the Swiss startup newsportal startupticker and Swiss Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association (SECA) published their report on Venture Capital in Switzerland. You can download it here.
The total Venture Capital raised in Switzerland in 2014 (or at least, the fundraising deals that were published) reached CHF 457M, 10% more than in 2013. A big, huge success? Sounds so, but… there are a lot of learnings here, confirming what a lot of startup entrepreneurs are experiencing on the ground:
- The 5 biggest rounds sum up to CHF 205M. Almost half of the total amount. Exclusively in Biotech. The 2 biggest, Biocartis (78M) and NovImmune (60M) are responsible of 30% of the total Venture Capital raised…
- 78% of this total amount is going in Life Sciences (Biotech and Medtech). Only 19% funds flow to Information & Communication Technologies (what American name computer sciences)
- Growth of fundraising in Switzerland in 2014 spread across industries: Medtech, +67% – Biotech, +2% – ICT, -6%
- The Swiss ICT startups which raised money last year were almost… all 5 years old
- Fundraising by regions: Vaud, CHF 201M – Zurich, 129M – Geneva, 61M – Basel, 40M
- Many Swiss startups are funded by foreign VCs
- There’s a massive lack of professional startup investors in Switzerland
- There is a potential for ICT: 45 fundraising deals (among which 27 in Zürich)
- ICT startups are bootstrapping, are international oriented, and mostly focus on security, healthcare, fintech and Enterprise software
Are these numbers promising, satisfying for the Swiss startup scene? I’d say… unfortunately not that much. Especially if you compare with London scene, where startups raised $1,4 billion in 2014 (almost 3x time the amount of Switzerland, and almost all focused on ICT…). When you think how much money there is here, in Switzerland…
Switzerland is really strong for Biotech and Medtech. And good on patents and innovation. When it comes to ICT, it’s quite a bit more challenging, not because of a lack of ideas, talents or execution. It’s hard to raise a significative round of financing (let’s say CHF 500k).
When will we see 1 or 2-years old ICT startups raise CHF 2M in Switzerland and grow from here, without having to relocate? Of course, it is a must-do to go international and open offices in London, Berlin or elsewhere. But once startups will be able to grow a big team in Switzerland (with 50-100 people teams), it will start to change something in the ecosystem.
But the future is not black. The successful startup program Venturekick is showing that Swiss startup scene is really alive. They receive a growing number of applications. A real proof that Swiss people are more and more interested by the startup way as a viable, attractive career path. And venturekick has also experienced its first exits with Jilion (which was the first case 0f the program and exited in 2014 to Dailymotion). Or Composyt Light Labs, which just sold to Intel.
Please let me know your thoughts on the report and on the local startup ecosystem!