Swiss Fintech Pitch: Is There a Lack of Investors?by Fintechnews Switzerland September 14, 2015
In Zurich, fintech professionals and experts are building up projects and multiplying initiatives in order to boost the local fintech startup scene.
Two prominent events occurred this past two weeks, the first one being the opening of SIX Fintech Incubator F10, a new innovation center located in Zurich. Created by SIX, the center seeks to provide the facility and adequate environment for entrepreneurs to realize their business ideas by providing technology solutions, developing and prototyping tools.
Contrarily to an accelerator, SIX Fintech Incubator aims to help fund innovative projects at the earliest stage of a venture.
SIX’ innovation center focuses on four innovation fields: financial service utility, payment ecosystem, regulatory services and technology exploitation and prototyping.
The second important event was the inaugural Swiss Fintech pitch event, a competition occurring in Zurich as well. The event was the opportunity for ten startups to receive feedback from judges and the audience, as well as access to top corporate partners.
Swiss Fintech is a non-profit association that seeks to serve as the hub for Switzerland’s fintech ecosystem.
Its mission is to connect the Swiss fintech scene with leading global centers, advocate and mediate for a “more supportive business, regulatory, and innovation environment,” as well as strengthen Switzerland as a financial center.
Bernard Lunn, Partner at Daily Fintech Advisors, attended the event. In a blog post summarizing the day, he said:
“The Swiss Fintech pitch event was remarkable because this was a highly professional event that was created by volunteers (with some cash from sponsors). […] This is the same spirit that has created so much value in open source.”
The selected Fintech startup participants on the event were:
Tawipay, a comparison site for remittances services, won the pitch competition. Alongside Tawipay, the nine other startups that participated were:
Advanon: a Swiss invoice financing platform;
Anivo: an online insurance broker with individual advisory;
CrowdHouse: a Swiss real estate crowdfunding platform; (2nd place)
Fundbase: an asset management platform that focuses on the investor community;
Go Beyond Investing: an early-stage investing platform;
MetaCo: a blockchain infrastructure that allows smart contract trading;
Muume: a mobile payments platform;
Qumram: a Big Data platform for compliant cross-channel recording, e-discovery and user experience intelligence;
Quotip: a management platform for structured investments;
While the event was insightful and overall “remarkable,” Lunn noted the absence of investors in the room.
“Hopefully that will change,” Lunn said. “If not, both Swiss investors and Swiss entrepreneurs will continue to fly to London in order to meet. The nerds and rich people should be connecting in Switzerland.”
However, we the organizers disagreed with this quote: We counted around 20 investors in the event, that’s 20% of the audience. However, there was a lack of big international investors, which is something which should be improved.
Furthermore, the participants talked about Switzerland’s startup ecosystem, highlighting the advantages of building a fintech startup in the country. “I think the success stories will come from global plays, specifically global plays that leverage Switzerland’s strength as a global Wealth Management center,” Lunn said.
There was also a panel discussion about the regulatory framework were also a participant of the the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) attended (Noel Bieri)
“Fintech ventures seeking expertise, partners, distribution and clients have plenty of choice in the Wealth Management space. If that combines with the kind of jurisdictional advantages that made Xapo and Ethereum choose Switzerland, one can envisage Fintech in Switzerland taking off like the proverbial rocket.”
Xapo, a bitcoin vault and wallet service, made headlines earlier this year when the company announced it had relocated its corporate headquarters to Zurich.
Xapo, which was initially based in Palo Alto, California, cited Switzerland’s long history of neutrality and stability as the main reasons as to why the company decided to move to Switzerland.
“We decided to do what they had been asking us to do for a while, move our main company to Switzerland and benefit from the safeguards,” Wences Casares, CEO at Xapo, told CoinDesk.
“This is to protect privacy. There are some customers that will bring more balances if we do this and there are some customers who have said we will work with you if you do this.”
(Picture Credit ginettateam)