March 28, 2017
Swiss ICT Investor Club Guest Editorial
Passionate about Tech: Switzerland’s Fastest Growing Business Angel Club
The Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC) is a business angel investor network focusing solely on early stage tech startups with a strong information and communication (ICT) component. Dr. Thomas Dübendorfer, Co-Founder and President of SICTIC says “smart money investors add the most value to a startup if they help the startup to prepare and take risky decisions early in order to find a scalable business model faster and hence avoid future costly mistakes.”
The startups that SICTIC accepts must be (or plan to be) incorporated in Switzerland, but investors of SICTIC can be from anywhere in the world. In the last two years, 128 investment opportunities (39 in 2015 and 89 in 2016) have been pitched at SICTIC Investor Days in Zurich, Lausanne, Geneva and Lugano. Five investor events were held in 2015, and 10 were held in 2016 (see all startups presented at www.sictic.ch/past-investor-days). Thanks to an online platform that provides comprehensive information on the startup deals, angels from Germany, Austria, Spain, UK, US and further afield spot investment opportunities also without attending pitching events. Not only does this virtual proximity save time and money, it provides startups with a wider pool of expertise and networks, and gives investors valuable insight to Switzerland’s tech startup scene.
SICTIC’s tech focus includes a special ‘vertical’ for fintech startup investments. Under the SICTIC Fintech Angels (SFA) programme, the organisation hosts the Swiss Fintech Investor Day, the largest fintech only investor event in Switzerland, where multiple angel clubs come together to meet the selected fintech startups. SFA thus plays a leading role in advancing Switzerland’s thriving fintech ecosystem by helping investors to build a compelling early stage portfolio. Thomas Kern, SICTIC Board Member and SICTIC Fintech Angels Program Lead: „Our objective is to provide the best deal flow to investors interested in investing in tech startups based in Switzerland.”
SICTIC is completely free for startups and offers investor events and full dealflow access for an attractive annual flat fee of CHF 500.- for investors. SICTIC is run as a not for profit association that does not charge either party a finder’s fee or commission. As a result, 100% of the capital raised is received by the startups and invested in their growth.
Despite requiring a minimum investment sum of CHF 20’000 per startup investment and investor, the SICTIC investor community is expanding rapidly. In 2016, 103 investors joined and by the end of 2016, SICTIC had 122 investors in its community. This makes it the country’s fastest growing business angel club for tech startups. Indeed, the relatively large investment requirement creates ownership and buy-in on both sides of the deal.
As an organisation founded and run by a group of passionate and highly experienced tech and finance professionals, SICTIC offers much more than a match making service. Beyond facilitating deals, every member of SICTIC’s Board works to foster and champion Switzerland’s tech ecosystem. The organisation’s Diversity Program is an example of this commitment. Nina Portier Reinhart, SICTIC Board Member and Diversity Strategy Lead says “diversity is a priority at SICTIC: it is equally important for our community of business angels to have women investors so that together we make better decisions and find creative solutions to startup challenges, as it is to attract women startup founders or CEOs.” To help achieve this, SICTIC has developed a comprehensive training and networking programme tailored to investors and women who are new to business angel investing.
As traditional sources of finance become increasingly scarce and volatile, organisations like SICTIC can play a pivotal role in promoting tech entrepreneurship by providing much needed expertise and capital. In the case of SICTIC, this support is grounded in an intrinsic desire to advance Switzerland’s tech startup ecosystem and enable its growth.
The Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC) has advisors that are strongly networked with the startup ecosystem.