The Coronavirus epidemic since March 2020 has had an impact on fundraising in Switzerland. Nevertheless, investors have financed Swiss startups in a stable manner: 2.1 billion francs in 2020, versus 2.2 billion francs in 2019. In the canton of Vaud, the year 2020 recorded a very slight decrease of investments, linked to the lockdown in March and the fact that many investors pressed on the brakes until the second half of 2020. Vaud investments nonetheless reached CHF 409.1 million in 2020, against CHF 455.7 million in 2019. The number of financing rounds in our canton has significantly increased, from 48 in 2019 to 55 in 2020, a record figure since the first systematic survey carried out in 2012. The trend is the same throughout Switzerland: While the cumulative volume of venture capital investments has decreased, the number of funding cycles has increased by 16% compared to 2019, reaching 304. This is indicated by the latest Swiss Venture Capital Report, produced by Startupticker.ch online information portal in collaboration with SECA (the Swiss Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association).
Vaud startups have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic but are resisting the storm. Investors’ confidence is still present and, as a reminder, the cantonal authorities were the first in Switzerland to put in place emergency financial aid measures for young technology companies. In 2020, Vaud startups attracted CHF 46.6 million less than in 2019, as investments slowed down sharply from March 2020. Commitments restarted and became more numerous as of summer 2020. This trend is confirmed nationwide.
2020: A year without "mega deals"
In 2020 at the national level, investors focused on making startups resistant to the crisis. Less funds were put into new projects. There has been no funding of more than CHF 200 million in Switzerland. Despite this, five Vaud startups together managed to raise CHF 272 million in 2020: SOPHiA Genetics (CHF 110 million), Kandou (CHF 84.1 million), Polares Medical (CHF 37.9 million), Lunaphore (CHF 23 million) and NetGuardians (CHF 17 million). SOPHiA Genetics, Kandou, Polares Medical and Lunaphore enter the TOP 20 of the most important fundraising rounds in Switzerland in 2020.
First place in Vaud in digital health and Medtech at the national level, ICT on the rise
The canton of Vaud ranks first nationally in terms of investments in digital health, thanks to the fundraising from SOPHiA Genetics (CHF 110 million). This sector reached CHF 114 million in our canton in 2020, compared to CHF 78.6 million in 2019, an increase of 45%. The canton of Vaud also ranks first in Switzerland in 2020 in Medtech with CHF 97.05 million, thanks to fundraising from Polares Medical (CHF 37.9 million) and Lunaphore (CHF 23 million). Investment in information and communication technologies (ICT) increased by 4.5% in our canton, from CHF 110.4 million in 2019 to CHF 115.45 million in 2020. Follow, the Vaud investments in Fintech (CHF 35.5 million), Cleantech (CHF 25 million), micro-nano technologies (CHF 17.7 million) and Biotech (CHF 4.4 million).
Boom in the Biotech sector in Switzerland, the canton of Basel takes the benefits
Swiss biotechnology startups collected more than CHF 800 million in 2020, an increase of 31% compared to 2019. This is linked, on the one hand, to the fact that innovation in drug development is taking place on long term and, on the other hand, to the constant growing worldwide trend of investments in Biotech. Because, for the first time since 2017, more money was given in Biotech than in ICT startups, the ranking of the Swiss cantons has also changed. After years that the first two ranks have been occupied by the two cantons where the EPFs are located, Zurich and Vaud, Basel has taken the second place in terms of investment in startups behind Zurich, followed by the canton of Vaud in 3rd position.