Swiss start-ups: TOP 100 Award helps start-ups with financing

100 Swiss start-ups with great market potential 

The TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award picks the most promising start-ups in Switzerland and brings them to the attention of international investors. For start-ups, this can open the door to financing.

Great opportunity for start-ups

This year saw 37 Swiss firms make it onto the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award list for the first time, and at the Award Night on September 9 they were able to showcase themselves to the investor community. A place in the rankings provides a great opportunity for companies seeking capital, because it confirms that they have tremendous potential in the market place.

Start-ups cannot put themselves forward: Only those that attract the attention of investors and are nominated have an opportunity to be included in the rankings. A prerequisite is that companies are less than five years old. Investors choose their top 100 out of all 100,000 new firms set up over the last five years. A company can theoretically appear in the list up to five times before being eliminated again due to age. "However, there is no such thing as automatic participation for firms that are already on the list," says Stefan Steiner, Co-Managing Director of Venturelab and organizer of the event. "Year after year they need to reconvince the 100 members of the jury.

International investors are looking at start-ups in Switzerland

The TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award has existed since 2011. Since then, the event has become bigger and attracted international attention. The award-winning start-ups have raised a total of CHF 5.4 billion in investor capital and created more than 9,553 jobs. This has not escaped the attention of international investors from Silicon Valley, Boston, and China, who attend the TOP 100 Swiss Investor Summit in order to invest in the most promising start-ups.  

The successes of the TOP 100 start-ups in Switzerland are impressive 


start-ups made it onto the TOP 100 list 


start-ups were the subject of an IPO 


new jobs were created 


billion Swiss francs of capital has been raised by the start-ups 

As well as an investor vote there has also been a public vote for the last three years. This too can be a door-opener for start-ups. Fact is, they become familiar to potential future customers. "That's exciting for all those start-ups that are not primarily on the hunt for capital," says Stefan Steiner. Acatena was the firm that attracted most votes in this year's public ranking. With its mobile end-to-end marketing system, the Zug-based start-up enables the tracking of products from place of manufacture to consumer.

Start-ups hoping for finance

The event is important in terms of getting young companies and investors into the same room. "It's a vital, productive meeting point on the Swiss start-up scene, and I always find it unleashes lots of positive energy," says Maurice Pedergnana, Managing Director of the Swiss Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association (SECA). He sees a place in the TOP 100 as a significant achievement.

This is confirmed by Dorina Thiess, co-founder and CEO of Piavita. The veterinary medtech specialist made it into the top ten in 2019 and the top three in 2020. "The TOP 100 ranking provides support in a multitude of ways. It creates trust among customers and partners, and facilitates a high degree of visibility within Switzerland and beyond. This has already proved very useful in the search for personnel and investors," says Dorina Thiess. Last but not least, it's fantastic recognition for the company itself, she adds.

Start-ups from Switzerland are internationally competitive

Major international interest in the event shows that the Swiss start-up scene can easily compete with Silicon Valley and others. "We have no reason to hide," says Stefan Steiner. Quality levels are high on the technical front in particular, thanks to the ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne. The start-ups from these institutions are much in demand, and have often been acquired by tech giants such as Apple and Facebook.

The innovative skills of young Swiss entrepreneurs are also on show in other sectors. Among this year's TOP 100 start-ups are firms in the healthcare, biotechnology, life sciences, medical technology, cleantech, drones, and fintech sectors. Although start-ups from Zurich and Lausanne are over-represented, entrepreneurs from the whole of Switzerland also feature on the list.

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