“No thriving startup ecosystem without strong investor connections” – Investor Relations at Kickstart

November 22 2018
In addition to bringing together startups with corporations, cities, foundations, and universities, Kickstart is weaving a network of connections to investors. A highlight of this year’s investor activities was the Kickstart Investor Summit that took place on Nov 8 at Kraftwerk.

We live in interesting times, where the technology world and its financing are undergoing profound changes. Europe is self-confident about deep tech, and we are convinced that it could become a “love story” for Switzerland. Yet, the “completeness” of the ecosystem and the financing chains are still far behind the US, and there is a heavy reliance on non-Swiss VC investors, little growth and lack of scaling capital – this was, in a nutshell, the introductory keynote from Redalpine’s founding partner Michael Sidler at Kickstart Investor Summit 2018. 

Furthermore, an increasing number of family offices are in search of higher yields from their investments and gravitate towards riskier products with better returns, as a result, among other factors, of societal change, which drives new investment opportunities, as Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, Global Head of Investment Strategy and Research at Credit Suisse International Wealth Management explained in her speech on Supertrends.

With this in mind, and the support of Credit Suisse, Meyerlustenberger Lachenal and Swisscom, we brought together over 100 investors (Business Angels, Family Offices, Venture Capital, Corporate Venture Capital, Funds of Funds), startups and partners to participate in the summit, profiling first-rate speakers and top pitches from our Kickstarters18.

Revolut did the final appearance at the summit to revolutionize the financial industry’s mindset with their unicorn-growth-game: “We are underdogs. We keep learning. We innovate. Everyday is a new fight. Technology is our weapon. We identify opportunities. We focus. We execute.” – Andrius Biceika, Head of Business Development at Revolut.

It was a great opportunity for new capital to strengthen the ecosystem, and for individual investors to connect, exchange, and invest!

At Kickstart we take 0% equity from the startups joining the batch and we work with our investor partners to provide the startups with the best insights and knowledge to successfully seize investment opportunities, which has led to some great success stories: within just six weeks of collaboration sprint, this year the Kickstart startups have raised CHF 6.5 Mio. In total, since the beginning of 2016 (30 months), the Kickstart startups have raised over CHF 85 Mio, including the outstanding success story of the Korean startup Blocko that participated in the 2017 program: In the first half of 2018, Blocko has raised CHF 8.9 Mio in a series B financing round with Samsung Ventures among other investors, led by SparkLabs Ventures. Moreover, the startup has established operations in the UK with 12 new employees and, through Aergo, has raised CHF 30 Mio through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Blocko’s Chief Innovation Officer Alison Shim is certain that her participation at Kickstart was crucial in the recent successful funding rounds and the ICO. Besides the 47 unique meetings with enterprises and investors that took place during the acceleration phase, the team, through an introduction from their Kickstart mentor, got in touch with the current chairman and CEO of Aergo.

Looking forward to hearing more of these success stories in the future, so let’s keep an eye on our Kickstarters and their traction!

Investor Program Lead, Ruth Armalé and Program Co-lead, Christoph Birkholz, kicking-off Kickstart Investor Summit 2018.

Panel: “Good news for the Deep Tech nation: Swiss investments and risk capital trends” with Daniel Keiper-Knorr, Speedinvest, Cédric Köhler, Creathor Ventures, Alexander Stoeckel, btov, Dr. Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, Credit Suisse International Wealth Management, and Anat Bar-Gera, Cyverse.

“Speed Dating” at Kickstart Investor Summit.

Fireside Chat “New growth capital funds in Switzerland” by Roman Gaus, Future Fund and Alexander Schlaepfer, Swisscom Ventures. Moderated by David Hug, Ringier Digital Ventures.

Fireside Chat “Nuances of Family Offices investing in startups” by Cynthia Jurytko, Wille Finance AG and Hampus Thorson, Armada Investment. Moderated by Andreas Thors, Partners Group.