Credit Suisse Explores Game-changing Ventures
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Credit Suisse Explores Game-changing Ventures

10 pioneering companies presented their ideas at Credit Suisse's 3rd Private Innovation Circle

Imagine a world where you can scan any object with your mobile phone to educate yourself more on it; where all your devices work on safe and remote wireless power; where recruiters use neuroscience to assess candidates, eliminating subjective bias; where you can present your family or friends with a real tree growing in another corner of the world whose growth you can monitor on your smartphone. Well, that world is here and now, as shown by some of these trailblazing ideas presented at the 3rd Private Innovation Circle.

What is the Private Innovation Circle?

The Private Innovation Circle, instituted by Credit Suisse in 2014, showcases excellence in innovation, facilitates the exchange of ideas and fosters networking. Its aim is to build a thriving community of successful innovators and entrepreneurs who engage with and benefit from each other on a regular basis.

An unprecedented 150 UHNWI guests and investors of the bank, from about 20 countries, gathered at the Shard, London on December 01, 2016.

Spirit of Entrepreneurship is part of Credit Suisse

"The spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation has always been part of Credit Suisse", said host Iqbal Khan, Chief Executive Officer, International Wealth Management, invoking Credit Suisse's founder Alfred Escher, who founded the bank 160 years ago to help finance his dream of linking Switzerland to the rest of Europe with privately funded railway networks.

Building on Credit Suisse's extensive global networks, the 3rd Private Innovation Circle showcased 10 pioneering ventures that have successfully introduced groundbreaking innovations. Handpicked from 100+ nominations, they were selected on the basis of the innovative power of their business ideas, their revenue generation potential, and the track record of their management team.

The day started with each venture introducing itself in a five-minute "elevator pitch". They represented a diverse range of fields – artificial intelligence, financial technology, big data analytics, bio materials, human resources technology, the sharing economy and eco-preservation – to name just a few. The entrepreneurs came from around the world – from Switzerland, Germany, the United Kindgom, Italy, Panama, Japan and the United States. It's also noteworthy that at least three of those companies had their origins in academic institutions – MIT and Stanford University in the USA, and ETH in Switzerland.

Highlights from the 3rd Credit Suisse Private Innovation Circle

Source: Credit Suisse

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The pitches were followed by a panel discussion on Fundraising: how to access venture opportunities. Panelists Luca Rancilio, angel investor and founder, Rancilio Cube; Alex Snow, Deputy Chairman and Co-Founder, Oxford Sciences Innovation Plc; and Elan Zivotofsky, General Partner, OurCrowd, shared their expertise on venture investing opportunities with moderator Nicole Arnaboldi, Vice Chairman, Credit Suisse Asset Management and Head, Direct Equity Partners.

The discussion ranged from how investing in innovation fits into a portfolio to the motivations behind early stage venture investing, to how crowd-sourcing works to where interesting investment opportunities lie.

High Speed of Change

From an investor perspective, Alex Snow looked upon innovation as an opportunity for growth but also highlighted the downside of every industry being subject to disruption. Pointing towards the speed of change and disruption, he cited how the average lifespan of an S&P company has shrunk from 60 years in 1960 to a mere 20 years now.

Luca Rancilio emphasized the need to follow your heart in investments and talked about his own personal motivation to "go to the beginning of a story". Despite striking a more emotional chord, he balanced it with practical advice – always partner with an experienced professional mentor if you are new in the ventures space.

Elan Zivotofsky, expressed his strong belief in the democratization of the playing field of venture investing but was very clear that "venture investing is not a passive sport"; it needs continuous engagement, discipline and professional expertise.

Mr. Zivotofsky identified solutions that will address big problems or disrupt entire industries as interesting investment areas, and gave "digital health" as an example. Mr. Snow was keen on genomics and big data.

Interesting Time for the Industry

The panel felt it was an interesting time for the industry with the financial reach of the big tech companies in the venture space; and with financial and academic institutions increasingly huddling together. Mr. Snow termed the latter development as an "incredible opportunity to create value in a way which is out of reach of the global tech ventures". Moderator Nicole Arnaboldi mentioned the increasing role of individual sponsors in academic research in the start-up space with governments playing a retreating role in many countries.

After addressing wide-ranging questions from the audience, Ms. Arnaboldi wrapped up the panel discussion by emphasizing the importance of risk diversification and risk tolerance for a wide dispersal of returns.

Before concluding the 3rd Private Innovation Circle with a networking lunch, the ventures presented themselves in greater depth and held Q&A sessions with our guests in their company stands. The audience got a closer view of how these ventures are pushing their boundaries to, in the words of Bob Parker, Senior Advisor to Credit Suisse and moderator for the day, not just transform existing markets but create new ones.

The 3rd edition of the Private Innovation Circle was an affirmation our common belief that innovation is a great lever to transform the world, that economic value can be unlocked anywhere, and that effective networks can be enabled across countries, regions and corporations.

Ventures at a glance

Company Industries Mission statement Website


Augmented reality, visual search, artificial intelligence

To enhance life through a new behavior – blipping – so people discover more about the world around them.


Financial technology

To create a fraud-free world.


Financial services, artificial intelligence

To enable companies to attract, engage and transact with their customers through intelligent conversations anytime, anywhere.


Consumer electronics, wireless systems, power delivery

To make a world, in which devices are smart to better serve humankind, a reality.


Human resources technology

To optimize and democratize the hiring process.


Mobile messaging, marketing, mobilization, payments

To become the best way to connect with the people and the things you love by adding precision, relevance and impact to mobile messaging.


New generation biomaterial development

To establish a new category of sustainable, high-performance manufacturing materials by enabling the industrial production of synthetic spider silk and other artificial protein polymers.


Big data analytics

To partner with telecom carriers to transform their data into valuable insights about consumer behavior, without ever compromising an individual's data privacy.

The Pub Hub

Sharing economy, co-working, real estate

To transform bars, which are only open at night, into affordable and productive co-working spaces, during the day. The long term goal is to create a network of these spaces throughout Europe and the US.



To enable anyone to plant a real tree anywhere in the world just by using their smartphone or PC, while directly supporting a local farmer