The Swiss fintech startup scene has been growing steadily during the past year, expanding from 157 startups in November 2015 to 185 players in June 2016, according to Swisscom’s Fintech Map.
Despite the growing industry, Switzerland’s fintech sector is lagging behind the likes of New York and London. Industry observers have pointed out the lack of governmental and institutional support in comparison to these front-runners.
A report released in February by EY and the Swiss Finance + Technology Association on the Swiss fintech sector argued that there were “clearly some room for improvement regarding governmental support,” adding that Switzerland had yet to leverage its strong position as a financial center in Europe to become a global fintech hub.
Swiss financial regulators have been slow to react to the emergence of the digital economy. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has recently introduced a new ruling to facilitate client on-boarding through digital channels.
At the Swiss International Finance Forum in June, FINMA’s director Mark Branson said:
“The financial revolution is evolving so rapidly that we can’t get bogged down striving for a 100% perfect legislative solution. We are advocating swift action that we can fine tune later.”
That said, there are several reasons to be optimistic about Switzerland’s nascent fintech sector. The country’s strong data protection laws, tax regime and political neutrality have attracted a number of foreign companies and organizations including the Ethereum Foundation and Xapo.
Switzerland has notable competitive advantages as a fintech hub in comparison to the likes of London or Berlin. To mention here the stability and reliability in general (financial, legal, government, and so on), which continues to be a hard value for other locations to match. The existing financial services expertise remains another strong advantage. However, the high salaries in Switzerland is another story.
Today, a number of Swiss fintech startups are standing out. These are covering varied industries and applications ranging from wealth management, blockchain technology, to insurtech and crowdfunding.
Crowdlending/ Financing and Peer-to-Peer Lending
Based in Zurich, DealMarket is a Swiss fintech startup provide three distinct products: a global marketplace for fundraising and deal sourcing, connecting the private equity industry; a browser-based deal flow management and deal exchange tool; and the DealMarket Intelligence which offers affordable access to third-party data, research and services.
Another crowdlending platform is Splendit, which focuses on allowing students to access a fair source of financial their education. The platform matches students and investors in an auction process, issues documents and manages payments.
CreditGate24 is a highly automated platform that connects borrowers with private and institutional investors, offering an efficient and scalable settlement of loans. The company applies a strict credit check based on classic credit assessment methods, Big Data analysis, as well as the insurance and the solidarity arrangement.
Xapo, one of the bitcoin industry’s best-funded startups, provides bitcoin storage services and a digital wallet. Initially headquartered in California, Xapo relocated to Switzerland in May 2015 in a bid to boost customer privacy protections. The startup has raised US$40 million in funding so far.
The Ethereum Foundation is the organization overseeing Ethereum, the open source decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run as programmed without possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference. Ethereum’s crowdfunding campaign is one of the most successful campaigns to date, raising over US$18 million in bitcoin.
iProtus is a company that provides consulting services on blockchain technology and helps businesses implement new business models with distributed ledgers.
Knip is undoubtedly one of the most visible insurtech ventures in Switzerland. Founded in 2013 by Dennis Just and Christina Kehl, Knip has now over 100 employees based all over Europe. Knip provides users with a digital insurance manager and a mobile app that allows for the management of existing insurance politics, tariffs and services.
Wealth Management and Personal Finance Management
True Wealth is an online wealth management platform and an automated investment solution based in Zurich. True Wealth is an independent asset manager and a member of the Swiss Association of Asset Managers (SAAM).
Qontis is an online personal finance management (PFM) platform that provides users with the ability to document and organize data from all instances of private income and expenditures.
MoneyPark is an independent provider of personalized financial advice on mortgages, providing pension planning and investment guidance. MoneyPark is a financial intermediary that is subordinated to FINMA and holds a license as a distributor of collective investment schemes.
Other ventures worth mentioning include Qumram, a cybersecurity firm; Advanon, an invoice financial platform; CashSentinel, an online platform focused on facilitating the purchase and selling of vehicles; TawiPay, a financial services comparison platform focused on money transfers and remittances; Amnis, an online platform for currency exchange and foreign currency payments; Contovista, a digital banking software company; and Run My Accounts, an automated online accounting platform for SMEs.
See the Full List of all 30 Swiss Fintech Startups to Watch HERE