Corporate Press Release
Credit Suisse now making CHF 200 million of venture capital available to Swiss SMEs
Credit Suisse has announced an expansion of its venture capital vehicle Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG on the occasion of today's Entrepreneurs' Day and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Escher. With the additional capital, the bank wants to further expand its commitment to Switzerland as a center of economic activity and contribute to the sustainable advancement of entrepreneurship in Switzerland.
As a leading bank for entrepreneurs, Credit Suisse places great importance on strengthening and promoting the Swiss economic center and entrepreneurship in Switzerland by means of a wide range of measures. Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. (formerly SVC – Ltd. for Risk Capital for SMEs) has so far invested venture capital amounting to CHF 130 million in more than 50 SMEs at different stages of development. Credit Suisse is commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Escher by expanding this successful investment vehicle by a further CHF 70 million to a total of CHF 200 million.
Didier Denat, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG and Head of Corporate Clients & Investment Banking at Credit Suisse in Switzerland, comments as follows: “Turning a vision into reality and facilitating progress require capital. Alfred Escher recognized this back in the 19th century, and it is no less true nowadays. In particular, young companies at the beginning of their life cycle require venture capital if they are to make their ideas marketable and expand. With Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. we are not just investing in the companies themselves, but also seeking to ensure that Switzerland remains a globally leading center of innovation and business in the future too.”
Multifaceted investment areas with clear criteria
Investments are made in Swiss start-ups and SMEs from all industry sectors. The focus is on three groups in particular:
- Established companies that require capital to invest in growth or expansion.
- Small businesses with significant regional importance, in order to ensure that their locally based jobs are secured.
- Start-ups in the areas of robotics and automation, medtech and fintech with innovative ideas that require support to implement their business plan after achieving market acceptance.
Unlike the recently launched Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund, which was set up by Credit Suisse and is now distributed jointly with UBS, the investment sums involved in the majority of the participations of Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. are significantly lower, and typically range between CHF 250,000 and CHF 8 million.
Successful track record to date
Thanks to its commitment spanning many years, Credit Suisse has made a name for itself in the venture capital market through its investment vehicle: “Every week we receive an average of 15 financing enquiries, and that number is on the rise,” observes Elios Elsener, CEO of Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. Of the 52 investments implemented so far, 29 remain actively managed within the portfolio, with Helvetica Capital Ltd. managing the operational side. A number of stakes have been sold at a profit since 2010. “In contrast to the first few years, the vehicle is now profitable and self-sustaining,” emphasizes Elsener.
Most recent investment: Zurich based start-up “Fotokite”
The most recent investment of Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG is a start-up based in Zurich called “Perspective Robotics” (d.b.a. “Fotokite”; also see separate press release). Fotokite develops and produces tethered drones that can be operated autonomously over unlimited periods of time. Fotokite is dedicated to improving the safety and speed of public safety team operations, such as fire brigades. The company, which was founded as a spin-off of ETH Zurich back in 2014, now comprises a team of 25 people. The seven-figure investment of Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG will allow the company to accelerate its growth and create additional jobs in Switzerland.
Further information on Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital AG:
The achievements of Alfred Escher continue to have a lasting impact on Switzerland as an economic center to this day. Escher's formula for success, namely that prosperity and progress are inextricably linked to a strong infrastructure and positive operating conditions for companies, is no less true today than it was back in the 19th century. In the same way that banks are needed to grant loans and facilitate growth, a healthy economy requires entrepreneurs with the courage to realize their visions.
Against this background, Credit Suisse has decided to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Escher not just by invoking the past, but also by shining the spotlight on the present and future of entrepreneurship in Switzerland. For that reason, today, February 20, the bank is holding the first-ever Swiss-wide day dedicated to the theme of entrepreneurship – Entrepreneurs' Day – to recognize entrepreneurial spirit and showcase the achievements of more than 600,000 Swiss companies.
The activities being held by Credit Suisse in connection with Entrepreneurs' Day build on two publications released at the end of 2018 – the Credit Suisse Progress Barometer and the special issue of the client magazine "Bulletin" entitled "Courageous decisions. Learning from Alfred Escher." Alongside its presence on various communication channels, Credit Suisse is joining forces with STARTUPS.CH to offer prospective entrepreneurs the opportunity to found their own company today free of charge. Furthermore, discounted memberships of two network organizations – the Swiss Venture Club and Switzerland Global Enterprise – are being offered.
Further information on Entrepreneurs' Day can be found at