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Swiss start-ups raised CHF 2.6 billion in 2023

Business environment

30 January 2024

In 2023, Swiss start-ups faced a challenging investment climate, marked by a significant reduction in venture capital funding. Investment in knowledge-based young companies fell by 35% in 2023 compared with the previous year.

In 2023, Swiss start-ups faced a challenging investment climate, marked by a significant reduction in venture capital funding.

The Swiss start-up ecosystem experienced a notable downturn in 2023, with venture capital investment falling by 35% compared to the previous year, totaling CHF 2.6 billion. This decline, the first significant one since the 2008/2009 financial crisis, was highlighted in the Swiss Venture Capital Report, a collaborative effort by, the industry association SECA, and

This reduction in funding was particularly severe among more mature start-ups, which typically require higher capital. Despite the decrease in investment volume, the number of financing rounds remained relatively stable, increasing slightly from 383 to 397.

The challenging global venture capital market, which also affected countries like the US, the UK, Germany, and Scandinavia, contributed to this decline. Rising interest rates and general economic uncertainty led to a cautious approach from venture capitalists, who were more inclined to reserve funds for existing investments rather than committing to new ones.

Sector-wise, the impact was uneven across different fields. ICT and fintech start-ups faced the most significant challenges, with investments dropping over 60% to CHF 786 million. In contrast, biotech and medtech start-ups saw an increase in investment, with biotech up by 22% to CHF 492 million and medtech recording a record increase of 41% to CHF 379 million.

The year 2023 also saw a decline in the number of exits. Sales of venture capital-financed start-ups to larger industry-related companies decreased, with 38 start-ups finding new owners compared to 67 in 2022. Notable transactions included the sales of Zug-based fintech start-up nChain and Basel biotech company T3 Pharmaceuticals, each with a transaction volume of about CHF 0.5 billion.

Despite these challenges, investors remain optimistic. Thomas Heimann, a start-up manager at SECA, described the year as unprecedented. However, the annual investor survey conducted for the report indicates a potential rebound in financing activity in 2024. About 50 Swiss venture capital firms are currently raising funds for new investment vehicles, and as of January 1, 2024, around half of these funds already secured the finance for their initial investments. This suggests a potential uptick in investment inflows for the coming year.