Here’s why Switzerland is a world innovation leader
September 30, 2020
min read

Here’s why Switzerland is a world innovation leader

Adnan Pavlovic
Adnan Pavlovic

Besides being known well for cheese fondue and beautiful snow slopes, Switzerland is also famous for its banking sector and for being at the forefront of technological innovation. Ranked the most innovative country in the world by the Global Innovation Index, the country's furious digitalization process emerges from rapid banking and financial sector transformation, creating a robust innovation-driven ecosystem.

In terms of remuneration, startups can’t compete with corporates in key Swiss tech industry clusters. However, they are securing their share of top tech talents by offering more exciting and challenging roles in the world of fintech. Moreover, the Swiss government is generously helping to make the startup process more streamlined and to reduce bureaucracy that continuously blocks so many startups in Europe. 

Fintech cluster in Switzerland

We can comprehend the sheer scale of the fintech industry in Switzerland with an estimate that 10 % of all European fintech business is located there, mainly in the city of Zurich. 

From more than 220 fintech companies located in Switzerland, 100+ are operating in the crypto and blockchain industry, representing the most developed fintech segment.

Fintech industry in Switzerland

2017 was recognized as the year when the Swiss fintech industry had matured and become recognized as an important innovation driver as the startups managed to penetrate the financial system on different levels. Especially when the banks become aware that the way to ensure their future is generated through systematic automation of business processes. 

It’s hard to understand Swiss tech industry without mentioning the biotech cluster as well. Switzerland is perceived as one of the most innovative biotech hubs in the world. Local companies hold leading positions throughout many sectors and attract capital, partnerships and talents. Key to success is to design networks driven by renowned universities and highly specialized companies and startups. In 2019 the Swiss biotech industry generated revenues of almost CHF 4.8 billion, proving that it is still a magnet for fresh capital and investments, according to Swiss Biotech Report 2020

A glimpse into Switzerland tech hubs 

As a forefront leader in fintech and biotech industries, tech hubs in Switzerland have geographical distribution and diversification in terms of focus on a specific technology. We handpicked Lausanne, canton of Vaud, and Zurich to explain how Swiss tech ecosystem works. 

Biotech industry in Switzerland

Lausanne, the capital of the Vaud region of Switzerland, is well known for being a city of energy, and also for its quality of life. Startups based in the Vaud region provide a supportive and robust ecosystem, well known for the various opportunities. 15% of all startups from Switzerland are from Vaud canton, mainly because most important universities (such as EPFL) have very successful spinoff companies. Lausanne and its universities are perceived as key drivers of innovation in terms of energy and health tech.

Switzerland has also developed into an innovation hub for blockchain. Crypto Valley, originating in Zug, has now become a global hub for international development in blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is used in the fields of supply chain management, the insurance industry, energy provision, and logistics. 

The canton of Vaud is the leader in investment in healthcare IT, with startups from the canton attracting more than two-thirds of the total money.

Switzerland invests almost 3.4 % of its GDP in research and development, one of the highest percentages in the world. That creates for companies and startups from Switzerland platform to rely on excellent state-provided research platforms that ease up the setup process and reduce turbulence during startups' formative years. 

Last on our list is Zurich. It goes without saying that this is a fintech hub in Switzerland, but also the main fintech hub in Europe. Even with full focus on fintech, companies and startups continue to grow their focus on AI and mobility. One of the well recognisable features of Zurich ecosystem is the fusion between government, entrepreneurs and venture capital representatives. 

WeAreDevelopers in Switzerland

Our launch in Switzerland comes in demanding times for whole humanity, as well as the global economy. However, it’s also an excellent time to think positively and to contribute to keeping the momentum inside the tech world in one of the most fast-developing markets. 


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