Patient monitoring through artificial intelligence, 3D-printed medical products, and wearables to track health and lifestyle – it’s these kinds of innovations we aim to support in Kickstart’s newly established HealthTech Vertical. But why scale up your HealthTech startup in Switzerland? HealthTech Vertical Lead Josephine Ritzel has the answers.
Switzerland is not only known for its strong economy, supported by low corporate taxes next to many other factors. A large talent pool and a high level of education make Switzerland attractive for entrepreneurs from all over the world. In the U.S. News & World Report, which rates categories such as entrepreneurship, openness for business and quality of life and more, Switzerland has been ranked #1 for several years in a row. When it comes to HealthTech in particular, we see Switzerland as the ideal place to innovate and grow. Here are five reasons for this:
1 – The Swiss Healthcare System Switzerland has become the best healthcare system in Europe last year. In the latest Euro Health Consumer Index, Switzerland overtook the Netherlands and is now at the top of the league. The country excels especially in terms of access to medical services. According to the The Healthcare Access and Quality Index HAQ, published in the UK journal “The Lancet“, Switzerland ranks within the top 10. New, game-changing technologies and innovations could make the Swiss healthcare system even better and transform the practice of medicine. Startups could make a major contribution towards Switzerland’s healthcare system, making it even more efficient and patient-oriented.
2 – Innovation In the Global Innovation Index 2018, Switzerland has been holding the top position since 2011. Reasons for this include the strong collaboration between universities and industry in terms of research as well as the political and regulatory environment. Switzerland is also considered one of the rising deep tech nations. In a study by Wavestone, Switzerland ranks seventh when it comes to access to funding for deep tech companies. Startupticker wrote an interesting article about this. Furthermore, the startup hub of Zurich saw great growth in 2018. The number of funding rounds rose from 26 to 92, which is the highest rise amongst all major hubs in Europe, according to a report from corporate consulting firm EY.
3 – Education Building a company is not just about hard work and passion, it is also a team effort, so you need highly skilled and well educated people as team members. To grow your business even further, you will probably hire employees who have a proven expertise in specific areas, also you can engage a professional business advisor.
When it comes to higher education, Switzerland is one of the leading countries in the world. In Reuters’ ranking of Europe’s most innovative universities, the two Federal Institutes of Technology, EPFL in Lausanne and ETH Zürich as well as the University of Zurich appear in the Top 15. The Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 listed 5 Swiss Universities within the Top 100 and the renowned Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is ranked even within the Top 20. Today, 41% of people aged between 25 and 64 have a higher-education qualification (university or vocational education). Find more facts about education in Switzerland here.
Photo: Philippe Rossier, Ringier
4 – Investments Just recently, the Swiss Venture Capital Report stated that “Investment in Swiss startups has hit the billion mark. In 2018, nearly CHF 1.24 billion flowed into Swiss startups – an increase of 31.8% from the previous year. The number of financing rounds increased simultaneously, growing by 31.4% to 230.”Related to HealthTech, it was observed that BioTech and MedTech continued to receive the highest share in 2017 /2018. Growth was particularly strong in the canton of Zurich – as reported by Switzerland Global Enterprise in 2018.
5 – Research and Technology
Research is an important topic in Switzerland. Close to 3% of the GDP are invested in research and development (R&D). By this, Switzerland is among the countries with the highest spending on R&D in relation to GDP. With regards to medical research, a wide range of projects are carried out at University of Zurich and Universitätsspital Zürich. Located in Zurich, Berne, Geneva, Lausanne and St. Gallen, Switzerland has six clinical research centers, known as Clinical Trial Units (CTUs). Additionally, the two Basel-based pharma corporations Roche and Novartis belong to the top 20 companies in the world with the largest research budgets.
Also when it comes to medical technology, Switzerland is one of the leading countries. The Swiss MedTech industry accounts for 1.1% of all employees within the country, which is the highest percentage share in Europe. Furthermore, no other European country has such a high enterprise density in this category; there is a dense network of MedTech, BioTech, and NanoTech companies all over Switzerland.
The Kickstart HealthTech Vertical, supported by Migros, Swiss Healthcare Startups, AXA, Cognizant, PwC Switzerland and Ricolab, aims at fostering innovation in the field of health technologies. Startups that provide services, products, and new technologies that help reshaping health, medical related processes and technologies, are invited to apply now.
About the Author Josephine Ritzel is leading Kickstart’s newly established HealthTech Vertical. With a degree in Business Administration and Healthcare Management, she gained her expertise during the time working for the largest private hospital group in Switzerland, on both the hospital and the group level. Afterwards, she joined a consulting company and managed projects mainly in the fields of health and life insurance. Overall, she has nearly 10 years of experience in the healthcare and medical sector.