Category: Uncategorized

9. December 2020 by kmoeller 0 Comments

Financing round: ANYbotics

ANYbotics closed CHF 20 million Series A financing round!

Our portfolio company ANYbotics was a spin off from the Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule Zürich(ETH).The company has developed ANYmal, a four-legged robot that can see, hear and move around in challenging environments. In the future, it will inspect and monitor industrial plants or canalizations, for example, as well as take on dangerous maintenance tasks. Today, the ANYmal has already worked autonomously in Zurich's canalization system and carried out fully autonomous monitoring missions on offshore oil platforms. ANYbotics also cooperates with companies from the construction and energy industries, as Péter Fankhauser, co-founder and CEO of ANYbotics, explains.

To accelerate the large-scale rollout of its robotic solution, ANYbotics is entering into another round of financing with a group of well-known investors. The round is led by Swisscom Ventures and co-investors including us, EquityPitcher Ventures and Ace & Company as well as others.

We are proud to have been one of the first venture capital investors to recognize the potential of ANYbotics' cutting-edge technology prior to Series A and look forward to further collaboration with the ANYbotics team.

You can find out more in the video below.

24. November 2020 by kmoeller 0 Comments

Financing round: Guuru

Guuru closed USD 7.9 million Series A financing round!

Our Swiss SaaS start-up company GUURU Solutions Ltd. announced today that it has completed a USD 5 million expansion of Series A, bringing the total Series A financing to USD 7.9 million. The funds will be used to expand market reach in Europe and support GUURU's ambitious growth plans.

Guuru offers cloud-based services that allow brand ambassadors to provide live chat support to new and potential customers of a company. The solutions enable companies to outsource customer service and sales support. Companies can save up to 50% on costs compared to traditional customer service functions. Companies decide independently who will be appointed as Guuru. For each question asked, a proprietary algorithm finds the appropriate Guuru within a very short time. Well-known brands like SKY, brack.ch, Freitag or Intersport already rely on Guuru. Wir freuen uns auf die Zukunft und die weitere Zusammenarbeit.

Find more information here.

23. July 2020 by kmoeller 0 Comments

Finanzierungsrunde: vestr

vestr closed an oversubscribed Series A round led by Six Group

Our portfolio company vestrwhich provides issuers of Actively Managed Certificates (AMCs) fast, flexible, and cost-efficient alternative to investment funds, has closed its Series A led by SIX Group. However, the amount invested has not been shared publicly.

The SIX Group, operator of the Swiss Exchange, led a group of professional investors, including EquityPitcher Ventures, Zuercher Kantonalbank, and the European Angels Fund, a sub-fund of the European Investment Fund (EIF). EquityPitcher Ventures and SIX have previously invested in vestr in 2018.

The funding will be used to further develop the platform, onboard additional issuers, and become the de-facto market standard for AMC issuers.

Stefan Wagner, Head of Business Development at vestr said,

"Bank Julius Baer is an early adaptor of the vestr platform."

 

Mehr zu vestr finden Sie hier.

Der Nacht entgegen auf der Autobahn

COVID-19 and Value Chain

Corona crisis and the change in value chains

Especially in times of crisis, the waves crash over a start-up. Questions of financing security, own liquidity, but also manifold are the entrepreneurial challenges of the customer market. However, changes often do not only occur on the customer side. Rather, the current pandemic crisis teaches us how vulnerable international supply chains are today. Continuous, reliable sourcing chains with trustworthy partners are immanent for a start-up and guarantee speed for market entry.

Global sourcing chains can be interrupted

The internationalisation of trade flows with the procurement of components, raw materials and technologies is standard practice today in our world of division of labour. Likewise, employees with specific skills are engaged abroad and their results from research and development flow into products and services at the company's location. The current crisis situation now makes us aware of the vulnerability of these global sourcing chains. Be it the unavailable parts due to ordered plant closures, or an export ban by sovereign decree, as well as the simple logistics interruption in the transport routes. For a start-up, such restrictions can be serious and lead to existential distortions.

Risk management and political changes get a price tag

As part of annual risk management, a company and in particular its strategic bodies have the opportunity to assess existing and potential risks with regard to the probability of their occurrence and possible extent. Now, as a result of the findings of the Corona crisis, the risks associated with the interruption of the company's own supply chain have been added. Since political instability will continue to increase in some countries, the dangers of logistical disruptions become obvious. Monopolistic dependence on individual suppliers is potentially dangerous and existential. Furthermore, these risks are given a relevant price tag in audits and, especially in the case of start-ups, financiers are likely to demand a realistic and serious assessment of the current situation even more in the future.

Trusting, intact value chains result in speed to market

Value chains form the basis for a healthy and stable economy with an intact labour market and are regularly mapped in so-called clusters. Starting with education and research, via suppliers and regulation, through to producers and service providers at the end customer and on to downstream specialised services - all players are important and lead innovations to the market. The trust among the partners along these links enables successful cooperation. It is also a guarantee for speed in innovation. And how often, especially in our dynamic world, it is not only the differences in products and services on the market that are decisive. The winner is often the provider who is first on the market and can thus secure a data advantage. Regional ecosystems with successful clusters offer an ideal breeding ground for start-ups due to technological and personnel overlaps between the value chains. The knowledge gained in one environment flows into other areas and opportunities arise for new, innovative companies. Knowledge about social changes, general market trends and disruptive products or service developments are part of the foundation of an economy with intact clusters, which knows its opportunities but never neglects the risks.

Bruno Sauter (@brunosauter) | Twitter

Bruno Sauter

Four busy experienced businesspeople wearing casual formal-wear discussing delegation company growth income at modern industrial loft wooden interior workplace workstation
25. June 2020 by kmoeller 0 Comments

Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship

How venture capital can counteract the gender gap in entrepreneurship

The gender gap plays a major role in the field of start-ups and innovative companies. It can still be observed that women founders are not only an exception, but generally encounter more barriers in the search for investment capital[1]. In addition to the more restricted access to capital, there are other factors that lead to a gender gap in society, which are not addressed in detail below. The focus of this article is to identify measures that capital providers and investors can take to counteract the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

Diversity remains too weakly perceived

New and innovative ideas are primarily generated when problems can no longer be solved in the conventional way. The more flexible and thus the more diverse the approaches are, the easier it is to find a suitable solution. For this reason, companies with gender diversity in their teams are generally noticeably more successful and above all more flexible[2]. This is also revealed in a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)[3]which states that the global market economy would increase by 3 - 6 percent if women were to become entrepreneurs to the same extent as men.

The gender gap is shrinking - but not everywhere

There is very clear evidence worldwide that the gender gap in entrepreneurship is tending to narrow and has been sustainably reduced in recent years and decades. Figures from 2019 show that female founders were able to raise an average of $1.2 million in the seed phase, while male founders usually raised $1.35 million[4]. At first glance, the difference does not appear to be very great, but these figures can only be qualified in part. These figures say nothing about the number of start-ups and above all about the number of successful implementations. Above all, however, it is clear that America is again very different from the German-speaking countries in Europe[5]. In Switzerland in particular, it has been recorded that not only is there a gender gap in entrepreneurship, but that it is even growing in some areas[6].

Why women entrepreneurs have a hard time

When it comes to setting up a company and, above all, raising the necessary start-up capital, women have a much harder time than their male counterparts. This is shown, among other things, by a study from the USA, which compared how a pitch is perceived by different genders. The study showed that when pitching the same business idea, men are around 60 percent more likely to[7] were more successful than women. And this was not because the men and women argued differently, but mainly because of the perception of the other person. It still seems to be the case that women are assumed to have considerably fewer competences in the fields of technology and business. There is thus a deeply rooted defensive attitude on the part of the mostly male donors to evaluate an idea equally among women and men. In order to overcome this problem, we believe that a change is needed, especially on the part of venture capital investors.

How capital providers and investors can counteract the gender gap in entrepreneurship

1. Shift in the mindset
Often it is our own preconceived and unsupported opinions that guide our actions. You can only counteract these opinions with hard facts. It is not easy to free yourself from your own prejudices. However, many studies now show that diversified teams are more powerful, more resilient and more efficient than teams of a homogenous gender. If investors are aware of this fact and believe the studies and their results, the chances of a lasting profit are significantly higher with mixed teams. Those who look beyond their own horizons and focus primarily on the bare facts usually quickly change their own view of the world and thus their own behaviour.

2. Change your own corporate culture
This measure is closely linked to the first point. An investor who acknowledges that the performance of mixed teams is significantly better should also question his own corporate structure. If VCs want to honestly oppose the gender gap, they should also ensure diversity in their own company. And not on the basis of a quota prescribed by law, but on the basis of performance and quality. Quotas usually cause injustice and can make open exchange at eye level impossible.

An investor identifies with entrepreneurs who have a similar background, interests or background. This statement is also confirmed by research on the gender gap in entrepreneurship[8]. It can therefore be concluded that gender diversification among investors counteracts the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

3. Create, support and use networks
VCs, but also companies and social organisations should build networks and enable an exchange of experience. By connecting with successful female and male founders, exchanging ideas and, above all, critically examining them, female founders should be supported in building up a business. It is often the case that established networks do not offer any access for women, or access is more difficult[9]such as the Zürcher Zunft, student fraternities or even the Basel Fasnacht. Networks should open up so that sectors are not kept gender homogeneous and the above-mentioned identification points can take place. Investors and VCs are therefore more in demand than ever to set up new structures and create new opportunities.

Conclusion
Our proposed solution to counteract the gender gap should not be forced by law, but rather through a general social change in thinking. VCs should question whether fair and parity conditions really prevail or whether ideas of women are generally considered more disparaging than the ideas of male founders. Equality and equal rights always begin in the mind with one's own attitude. Only those who treat all genders equally can learn to judge the idea itself.

 

Autorin: Andrea Buhofer

 

 

Literatur

[1] https://www.ft.com/content/e5341062-4eb8-11e8-ac41-759eee1efb74

[2] https://hbr.org/2019/02/research-when-gender-diversity-makes-firms-more-productive

[3] https://www.bcg.com/en-ch/publications/2019/boost-global-economy-5-trillion-dollar-support-women-entrepreneurs.aspx

[4] http://about.crunchbase.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Funding-To-Female-Founders_Report.pdf

[5] https://www.forbes.com/sites/ninaangelovska/2019/05/12/europe-we-have-a-problem-8-facts-about-female-entrepreneurs-in-the-digital-age/#78cb317c4d42

[6] https://www.bcg.com/en-ch/publications/2019/boost-global-economy-5-trillion-dollar-support-women-entrepreneurs.aspx

[7] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/10/five-ways-policy-could-close-the-gender-gap-in-entrepreneurship/ and https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/84bd6dea-2351-11e8-ac73-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

[8] Greenberg and Mollick, 2017, pg. 343

[9] https://rotary.de/gesellschaft/frauen-bei-rotary-ja-aber-a-13665.html

18. June 2020 by kmoeller 0 Comments

Welcome ANYbotics

With ANYbotics we are pleased to add another promising startup to our constantly growing portfolio. Founded in 2016 as a spin-off from ETH Zurich, ANYbotics develops autonomous, mobile robots that increase the productivity and safety of industrial plants. We are very happy to be the first VC that becomes part of ANYbotics and see great strategic growth potential.

ANYbotics specializes with its robot ANYmal on challenging environments such as industrial plants that are difficult to access, where the use of employees is very dangerous and costly. The robot gets continuously further developed and improved. Through the interaction of software and hardware, even in uneven terrain the ANYmal can operate autonomously and through various portable devices, such as a sound meter, it can detect changes that are invisible to humans. Furthermore, the data recorded by ANYmal is processed directly, resulting in a fast response time.

 

ANYbotics has completed the world's first autonomous offshore robot mission and has major industrial customers as well as scientific institutions as clients. Currently, the company is still involved in partnerships and development projects with pilot robots, but the launch of certified and commercial ANYmals is continuously being pushed forward.

With their strong team and the great interest of industrial customers and scientific institutions we are looking forward to the development of ANYbotics and are happy to support the team on their way.

VC during COVID-19

Why the promotion of the start-up ecosystem does not stand still at EquityPitcher and in Switzerland despite COVID-19

 

Young entrepreneurs in particular are feeling the effects of the now worldwide economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Start-ups, which often have low liquidity, can quickly face financial bottlenecks due to declining sales. Depending on the industry, many start-ups are facing great challenges and are therefore more than ever dependent on additional financial resources from investors or loans. According to a survey by Venturelab 3% of the 660 surveyed start-ups in an existential danger and are uncertain whether they will survive this crisis.

In such times of uncertainty it would be a natural and understandable reaction as an investor to reduce investments and wait and see. The risk and the uncertainty whether the start-up will get through the crisis and can nevertheless be successful is too great.

However, we at EquityPitcher do not adopt this way of thinking for various reasons. We are convinced that especially during this crisis the start-ups are dependent on our support. Likewise, previously innovative and successful start-ups should not have to stop generating value in society because of the pandemic, which would be a loss for all of us. For this reason, we have not put a stop to investments and attach great importance to actively accompanying our portfolio through these difficult times.

However, it is important to distinguish between companies that have only experienced financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic and those that were already in difficulties before the pandemic. For the latter, this crisis should be an occasion to address the problems that have usually already existed for some time, which have become even more obvious due to the increasing pressure of the pandemic, and to work together on them. As these companies would most likely have run into a liquidity bottleneck in the future even without COVID-19, support in the sense of a purely social assistance service towards investors is not justifiable.

At this point in time, we note that a large part of the companies from our Portfolio has mastered the current situation very well and is developing well despite the crisis. Due to their already existing dynamic and agile way of working, the start-ups can react quickly to changes in the outside world. It is admirable how many of our portfolio companies are taking concrete measures and in some cases adapting their business units. In this way, the companies can contain the negative effects of the pandemic.

From an overall portfolio perspective, we therefore feel confirmed that a diversifizierte Investitionsstrategie is the right approach to ensure that a portfolio can continue to perform through a crisis. The near future will show what new possibilities and opportunities will open up for us, especially in the healthcare, media and telecommunications sectors, but also in the entire field of digitalization.

The Swiss government is also increasingly recognising the importance of young companies and will offer supplementary support for innovative start-ups from May 2020. The previous bridging loans have provided little relief for start-ups, which is why the federal government is now joining forces with the cantons to provide loans of up to 154 Millionen Swiss francs vouched for. This measure is to be warmly welcomed and shows that the Swiss government is not ignoring the importance of the start-up ecosystem and that Switzerland will continue to be promoted as a location for innovation.

The combination of the proactive, forward-looking start-ups with their dynamic and agile structure, coupled with government assistance and our support as a VC allows us to look forward to a thoroughly positive future. If many start-ups survive this crisis with the help of the government and their investors, Switzerland's start-up ecosystem will continue to grow in the long term and provide for innovation, value creation and prosperity.

24. February 2020 by kmoeller 0 Comments

Record Year in VC

Venture capital in Switzerland breaks all records

 

A growth rate of over 80% led to total investments of almost 2.3 billion Swiss francs in Switzerland. A record that proves once again that venture capital has become an integral part of the Swiss financial industry. The dominant sector is ICT, closely followed by biotech and fintech. In the canton of Zurich, more than 85% of the money went to ICT and Fintech start-ups, while biotech investments are particularly popular in Basel. It should be noted, however, that a large part of the capital, especially in the later growth financing, comes from abroad. More commitment from Swiss investors is needed here.

One of the most important Swiss investor initiatives is the Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund, which was able to raise 250 million Swiss francs after the second closing. An amount that will now benefit innovation in Switzerland. We congratulate the initiators!

 

Also in 2019, a ranking of the Global Innovation Index was published, which shows that Switzerland is at the top of the list in terms of innovation. On the one hand, this is certainly due to the political stability and the excellent business environment, but not to forget the top universities, which send highly qualified students into the job market. We are pleased that some of these young innovation drivers have founded start-ups and found their way into the EquityPitcher portfolio.

We at EquityPitcher have looked at over 1000 pitch decks in 2019 and have had the honor of meeting many exciting founding teams. It was an extremely interesting and instructive exchange that we greatly appreciate. We are actively expanding our portfolio and are proud to be able to contribute to the venture capital scene in Switzerland.

It can be assumed that this positive development will continue in 2020 and new records will be set. The many positive initiatives for the development and promotion of new ideas, the steady increase in professional start-up investors and venture capital funds, the increased support from politicians, public initiatives and the steadily rising media coverage of start-ups will provide an ideal basis for this.

18. January 2020 by kmoeller 0 Comments

Welcome Viselio

The latest newcomer in our 2nd portfolio is called Viselio and is the first fully automated visa service provider worldwide. Viselio is integrated with travel booking systems and TMCs worldwide and is the first option for companies, travel agencies and individuals when it comes to booking a visa. With the successful completion of the Series A financing round in the amount of CHF 3M, the company plans to expand its sales activities significantly. The round is intended to build up traction to promote Viselio, especially in the B2B2C and B2B(2B) area, and to achieve a "multiplier effect" through integrations. Additional countries are to be added.

Viselio has already been able to show in the B2C and B2B2C (travel) sectors that the solution convinces customers. However, the greatest potential of Viselio lies in the integration of and partnerships with travel booking software, TMCs and profile management software. These enable Viselio to achieve a large scaling potential. First partnerships in this area have already been established, such as with Umbrella Faces, which manages more than 2 million travel profiles of 270 companies and actively recommends Viselio to its customers. Currently, 77% of all customers already purchase additional services together with their visa. This is particularly exciting in view of the fact that the margins for additional services are very high at 50-80% (insurance: 40-70%, passport photos: 45- 80% and letters of invitation: 55-88%). Viselio is planning to add additional services to its offering, which should encourage more customers to purchase additional services. We are very excited to see how Viselio develops and look forward to the new addition to the portfolio.

 

Lern more here about other portfolio startups

18. January 2020 by kmoeller 0 Comments

Welcome Opinary

With Opinary we have made another investment in a Berlin start-up, together with prominent co-investors such as Project A, monkfish equity or Rocket Internet. Opinary, with offices in New York and Berlin, will use the capital to strengthen its presence in the US and deepen its relationships with publishers, brands and agencies. The funding will also contribute to the further development of tools and technologies. 

 

Opinary has optimized a way for users to share their opinions in online content. The startup was founded in 2016 by siblings Pia and Cornelius Frey and their co-founder Max Meran to help millions of monthly users share their opinions at the touch of a finger and understand opinion developments at a glance. 

 

 Opinary visualizes debates by creating highly interesting content for users. With their algorithm and semantic orientation they guarantee a scalable integration of the required topics in all thematically relevant articles in large publishing networks in Germany, Great Britain and the USA. The platform offers users the opportunity to engage with interactive content that gives users a voice and helps publishers and brands reach, understand and convert their most valuable audiences. Publishing partners - including world-leading companies such as The Times, HuffPost, NBC, etc. - use Opinary to reach and monetize their target audiences, while global brands such as Toyota or Mastercard increase attention, generate conversions and generate insights.

 

Finden Sie hier weitere Portfolio Unternehmen