New SwissEF fund aims to support startups and innovative SMEs in Switzerland
Zurich (CH) — The “Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund” has been launched by SwissEF together with the insurer Mobiliar and the major banks UBS and Credit Suisse, the foundation announced on Thursday. The first investor is Mobiliar, which is contributing CHF 100 million.
The Financial Market Authority Finma approved the fund at the end of January. — This would allow the fund to be opened up to the target size of CHF 500 million over the next few months. The initiators hope that institutional investors such as pension funds, family offices and wealthy private individuals will also invest in the fund.
The fund aims to invest directly, but also via third-party funds, in innovative companies with growth potential. The majority of the investments are to be made in companies that have their headquarters or a “significant share of their value creation” in Switzerland.
Investment focus of the Allied Banks
What is unique is that the two big banks were jointly involved in an investment vehicle, according to SwissEF. UBS contributes its expertise in venture capital and private equity funds. On the one hand, it invests in established investment managers, but also selectively promotes the formation of new private equity funds. Credit Suisse, on the other hand, will be responsible for direct investments in startups and innovative SMEs.
The target is for 50 to 66 percent of investments to flow into Swiss companies, with investments also to be made primarily in companies from neighboring countries. Direct investments are to amount to at least 20 percent of total investments, and 65 to 80 percent of the funds will be invested in third-party funds. The fund money is to be allocated in a balanced way at different stages of development, i.e. in venture capital, in investments in fast-growing companies and in small to medium-sized “buyouts”.
Startup location Switzerland
The Swiss Entrepreneurs Foundation, which is supported by the private and political sectors, was launched in December 2017 under the patronage of then-Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann to address the “challenges facing Switzerland as a location for innovation and startups”. The foundation, based in Bern, has been under the patronage of Federal Councillor and head of the EAER Guy Parmelin since the beginning of 2019. Johann Schneider-Ammann will remain associated with SwissEF as Honorary President.
The foundation’s goal is for Switzerland to expand its “leading position as a location for business and innovation” and create new jobs. In doing so, it intends to take a two-pronged approach. In addition to the Swiss Entrepreneur Fund, which is now being presented, it also implements projects aimed at improving the framework conditions for entrepreneurship and innovative technologies.
Last year, he said, the foundation had already launched two projects. The “SwissEF UpScaler” program is intended to provide companies in the growth phase with a “tailor-made support program”. A team from a pool of 50 experienced “top entrepreneurs” and experts assist such companies. In the “SwissEF Shaper” program, entrepreneurs are to be brought into contact with representatives from national politics and sensitize them to their concerns. www.swissef.ch