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SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs: Successful First Year

High level of interest in new venture capital funding model for SMEs

SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs (SVC Ltd.) had a successful first year. Demand for funding from SVC Ltd. since it was founded in May 2010 has been significant and it has invested CHF 20 million to date. Thirteen innovative companies were provided with funding in the form of equity capital or long-term loans with a profit share. This supports their growth strategies and will create over 300 new jobs in Switzerland in the medium term. SVC Ltd. expects its available capital of up to CHF 100 million to be fully invested by the end of 2013.

Capital of CHF 20 million has been invested in companies with innovative products and services as well as future-oriented, financially sustainable business models. The 13 companies in the portfolio are active in highly diverse fields, such as 3D sound technologies, dried-fruit production, nanotechnology solutions for medical and textile applications and the production of high-tech solar modules. They operate internationally, collaborating with global market leaders. Between them they hold over 100 patents.

The individual funding facilities of SVC Ltd. help these companies with the successful implementation of fully developed business ideas and projects. Once an investment has been placed, financial experts from SVC Ltd. continue to assist the company, fostering its long-term development.

At a presentation today in Zurich, Hans-Ulrich Meister, CEO of Credit Suisse Switzerland, said: “These efforts underscore our commitment to increasing the attractiveness of Switzerland as a business location and to supporting SMEs. The Swiss economy is export-oriented and growth is driven by a high level of demand from the global economy. The continuing innovative strength of Swiss companies and their outstanding quality are important success factors.”

Johannes Suter, CEO of SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs, explained: “At the more than 200 meetings we held with entrepreneurs and investors in our first year, we witnessed first-hand a high degree of commitment and motivation. It is encouraging to see how innovative and professional our SMEs are. As a center of employment, Switzerland offers an abundance of talent, above-average infrastructure and a high level of quality awareness.”

The 13 Companies in Brief
When Credit Suisse established SVC Ltd. in May 2010 in collaboration with the Swiss Venture Club, the objective was to make a contribution to Switzerland as an innovative, competitive location and to create or preserve jobs on a long-term basis. SVC Ltd. has capital of up to CHF 100 million. Capital that flows back in the form of realized profits and repaid loans will be put into new projects rather than distributed.

The first capital disbursement took place in September 2010. Today, the portfolio consists of the following 13 innovative Swiss SMEs (in alphabetical order):

- Agrofrucht-Inn AG of Cham, canton of Zug: A pioneering company in the production of dried fruit that avoids the use of preservatives without compromising on quality.

- Consenda AG of Gstaad, canton of Berne: This company's LocalPoint product is an attractive solution for the digital dissemination of news for local newspapers.

- Elmove AG of Zurich: Elmove AG's highly efficient power train for electric motorcycles significantly improves the driving experience and the efficiency of the vehicle.

- HeiQ Materials AG of Bad Zurzach, canton of Aargau: Winner of the Swiss Innovation Award 2010. Produces sustainable chemical coatings for industrial, textile and medical applications.

- Me2Me Holding AG of Baar, canton of Zug: Offers its customers services and digital platforms in the field of Voice2Text (e.g. dictation) designed to optimize efficiency and archiving in these processes.

- Omnisens SA of Morges, canton of Vaud: Manufactures measurement, control and navigation instruments for highly sensitive installations such as oil pipelines and power transmission lines.

- Poken SA of Lausanne, canton of Vaud: Links the online and real worlds through the digital exchange of information, facilitating the exchange of contact data, network profiles and company documentation.

- Royal Tag SA of Muzzano, canton of Ticino: Produces innovative radio frequency identification (RFID) chip applications for counting and measuring in cattle breeding and industrial laundry services.

- Selfrag AG of Kerzers, canton of Fribourg: Utilizes the enormous power of artificial lightning to fragment stones, concrete, electronic scrap, glass and other solids.

- Silentsoft SA of Morges, canton of Vaud: The leading European provider of telemetry-based solutions for energy optimization in large buildings and bulk inventory monitoring.

- Solar Industries AG of Niederurnen, canton of Glarus: Active in the field of solar energy. As the largest Swiss producer of solar modules, it will establish itself in the Swiss energy market as an important partner.

- Sonic Emotion AG of Oberglatt, canton of Zurich: Focuses on the development of 3D sound technologies that significantly enlarge the listening area of conventional audio systems and create the perfect sound.

- Stratpharma AG of Basel, canton of Basel-Stadt: A specialist in the development, licensing and global marketing of new types of pharmaceutical products.

A Future-Oriented Venture Capital Funding Model
It is evident from the great interest shown by Swiss SMEs in SVC Ltd. since its establishment in May 2010 that it meets a funding requirement in the sector. By the end of 2013, the capital available to it is expected to have been fully invested in 40 to 50 companies in all relevant industrial sectors and regions of Switzerland. The long-term outcome could be the creation of over 1,000 new jobs in Switzerland.

Both clients and non-clients of Credit Suisse in any sector and any geographic and linguistic region of Switzerland may approach SVC Ltd.. The funds available are awarded according to a defined list of criteria. These include:

- relevance to the creation or preservation of jobs in the long term
- fully developed business ideas that are innovative and have potential and for which there is proven market demand
- promising and future-oriented projects that promote Switzerland's competitiveness.

The purposes for which venture capital funding may be used include implementing growth and expansion plans, resolving succession problems, investing in plant and machinery, increasing the range of products and services, expanding abroad and launching new products in the market. An independent investment committee decides on the allocation of the capital. Investments are generally for amounts of up to CHF 3 million with a timeline of four to seven years.