TOP 100: 49 % from venture kick
Which are the best emerging companies, the ones Switzerland is pinning its hopes on to spread Swiss innovation throughout the world? This question was asked to 100 sector experts. From their responses, we assembled a list that represents a snapshot of today’s TOP 100 start-ups in Switzerland. Almost half of them have benefited from venture kick seed capital.
TOP 100: New ranking for the most innovative start-ups in Switzerland
Switzerland is experiencing a boom in people starting new companies. Each year, approximately 35,000 enterprises are launched in Switzerland, and this year a record number of startups is expected. This development didn’t happen by accident. Even from an international perspective, Switzerland ranks high on many lists as a competitive country and a leader in innovation. But which of these promising new companies will soon be causing a sensation around the world – or are already doing so?
100 experts select the best Swiss startups
That’s exactly what the IFJ Institut für Jungunternehmen wanted to find out with the help of journalist and businessman Claus Niedermann. Their goal was to create the first-ever representative cross-section of the Swiss start-up scene. The project was co-sponsored by the Swiss Federal Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI), the Gebert Rüf Foundation, the Swiss trade promotion organization OSEC, and Ernst & Young. Together they established the TOP 100 Project in which 100 sector insiders, investors, business angels and start-up promoters each selected their ten favorite start-ups that were five years old or less. The best 100 were determined from the names they submitted; the results are summarized in a magazine published speciallyfor this purpose, and they are also available for public review on the website www.startup.ch. Starting with this effort, the selection of the TOP 100 will take place every year.
The best 100 from among 200,000
Beat Schillig, Managing Partner of IFJ Institut für Jungunternehmen andinitiator of venture kick, reflects on the TOP 100 Project: «The firms on the experts’ radar screens are, of course, only a small cross-section of the more than 200,000 companies that have sprung up in Switzerland since 2006. Even so, this diverse cross-section demonstrates that Switzerland has excellent young companies that are going to have a major impact with their innovative products and excellent management.» The experts focused primarily on high-tech companies that have already completed a round of financing or that have been able to establish themselves on the market. Taken together, they have enormous potential for growth and success.
Optotune in first place
At the top of the initial TOP 100 selection is a start-up from Dietikon named Optotune, a company which was also among the first venture kick winners three years ago. With groundbreaking technology, Manuel Aschwanden and Mark Blum successfully established a company that developsa lens, smaller than a fingernail, that can focus just as well as the human eye. It is expected to find application in a number of devices such as cameras for mobile phones, whose optics can’t be extended outward as they are in digital cameras. Thanks to Optotune’s deformable lens, it is possible to achieve a 3X optical zoom where the focal length can be changed continuously and within milliseconds using an electrical drive mechanism. In second place is the startup Dacuda, which, in collaboration with the electronics giant LG, just celebrated the global launch of its world innovation, a scanner mouse. Just one place back is Doodle, which has already been able to register 10 million users with its event-scheduling software.
49 of the TOP 100 from venture kick
The private promotional initiative venture kick, which was established roughly four years ago, has also left its mark on the TOP 100 because of its policy of making as much as 130,000 Swiss francs of seed capital available to high-tech projects coming from university settings. You’ll find many other companies in the list that have received such support. A total of 49 ex-venturekicker have made the TOP 100. In spite of their young age, past winners of the competition – 36 start-ups - where able qualify. Definitely a significant example of how the still young start-up initiative has had made an impact on the Swiss entrepreneurial scene. In addition to Optotune, the TOP 100 leader, 3 other companies with a venture kick CHF 130'000 profit managed to make it into the TOP 10: Poken (Nr. 5), InSphero (Nr. 6) and Malcisbo (Nr. 9).
Switzerland far from exhausting its potential
Taken together, the TOP 100 are an excellent example of the high level of innovative potential in this country. They demonstrate that Switzerland can continuously produce startups that meet or exceed the highest standards of technology and competitiveness anywhere in the world – an important prerequisite to ensuring jobs in the future and allowing new companies and technologies to emerge over the long run. Even so, Beat Schillig says there’s still plenty of room at the top. «There’s no reason to rest upon what we’ve achieved up until now,» Schillig says. «If Switzerland hopes to exploit its full potential, then we must continue to improve the favorable startup environment that has been created during the past decade.» Only in this way can the entrepreneurial bug be further spread – especially at universities – and innovative startups be supported with training and expertise. «It must be our goal to once again double the number of spin-offs in the next few years,» states Schillig.
The TOP 100 on startup.ch and as a magazine
All the companies in the TOP 100 are presented in more detail on www.startup.ch. There, interested readers can also download the TOP 100 Magazine in both German and English. If you are interested in getting a paper version of the TOP 100 Magazine then don't hesitate to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will gladly send you one.