Due to high levels of capital injection and attraction of great talent, Switzerland’s innovation ecosystem is booming at the moment, especially in the economic capital Zurich.
Switzerland has recently been ranked as the most innovative country in the world according to the Global Innovation Index. Also, the Swiss economy is one of the wealthiest on earth and its citizens enjoy one of the highest disposable income. Mostly known for its banks, pharmaceutical labs and agroindustries, its startup scene is not as developed as, London, Berlin or Paris but things have been changing lately. Switzerland’s innovation ecosystem is booming at the moment, especially in the economic capital Zurich.
Indeed, according to the 2019 Swiss Venture Capital Report, VC funding in Switzerland in 2018 broke a new record. 1.24 billion CHF (1 133 000 400€) was invested into Swiss start-ups – an increase of 31.8% between 2017 and 2018. Zurich is the canton that has attracted most of the investment, as 515.2 million CHF (470 730 000€) was invested across 99 startups, an increase of 88.7% compared with the previous year. Major VCs firms include: Investiere, Novartis Venture Fund, HBM Partners, Mountain Partners, 3wVentures. Additionally, Business Angels Switzerland and Go Beyond also provides funding for startups.
Switzerland, and Zurich, in particular, is home to world-class universities. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) has been ranked by QS as the sixth-best university in the world (2nd in Europe) and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) also represents high prestige education in Europe (18th in the world). Given the high salaries and the full employment rate, most of the young graduates stay in the country and attracting foreign talent does not really represent a challenge to the Swiss economy.
Digitalswitzerland also illustrates the effervescence of the startup scene in Zurich. This cross-industry association composed of more than 150 members aims at positioning Switzerland as a leading digital hub. The project initiated the Kickstart accelerator program in Zurich and organises the “digital day”, a major event across 12 locations around the country that brings more than 250 000 visitors. Other accelerators are also present in the city such as the Swiss Startup Factory, the ImpactHub and F10.
Zurich is home to numerous MedTech and FinTech start-ups and the “Crypto Valley” is considered a global blockchain hotspot. GovTech is growing and slowly making its way in the Swiss ecosystem. Here are out top 10 GovTech startups:
Parquery aims at developing smart parking solutions for smarter cities, by using images and computer vision software to detect real-time on-street parking vacancies.
Loanboox is one of the world’s largest peer to peer debt financing platform for public sector borrowers, institutional investors and banks.
Antavi command and control app helps managers of public space to respond faster to incidents with a bird’s eye view on personnel and the crowd.
ProCivis provides government trusted electronic ID solutions built around the safeguarding and self-sovereignty.
Politik.ch offers a complete and independent tool to observe, manage, accompany and monitor political affairs.
Taskbase is an EdTech start-up that supports publishers and educational departments with the creation of advanced e-learning solutions.
1702ai is a real-time threat detection surveillance video platform that uses already installed standard CCTV cameras.
Coople is an on-demand jobs platform which connects companies with people looking for flexible work.
GotCourts is an online booking platform for tennis, badminton, paddle, and table tennis courts.
This is part of a series selecting the most exciting tech startups from all over Europe. Every week, we cover new countries – check out other European cities here.