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In the heart of Europe, a small but formidable nation stands as a testament to innovation and resilience. Switzerland, known for its precision and quality, faced a significant challenge in 2023 as the startup investment climate took a downturn. 

The EY Swiss Startup Barometer H2 2023 report revealed a 29% decline in investment volume compared to the previous year, a trend that echoed across German-speaking neighbours but with Switzerland faring slightly better.

Despite the decline, the Swiss startup ecosystem continued to showcase its strength and diversity. The TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award 2023 celebrated the most promising startups, with HAYA Therapeutics, Planted Foods, and Yokoy Group leading the rankings. These startups, along with others, have created over 17,955 jobs and raised  €13.33 billion, demonstrating the dynamic and innovative spirit of Swiss entrepreneurs.

The resilience of Swiss startups was further highlighted by the continued interest from investors and the support from organisations like EY, which offers targeted assistance to startups from inception to scale-up. The EY Swiss Barometer emphasises the importance of adapting to changing dynamics, with a focus on strategic, legal, and financial issues at every business stage.

Venturelab, a private endeavour set up in 2004 to support Swiss startups and entrepreneurs, released its TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award 2023. According to the company, “having worked with over 90% of Swiss-based startups, Venturelab has established a stellar reputation within its international network spanning  Europe, the US, and China.”

With its report, Venturelab provided deep insights into the latest innovations, strengthening networks, and establishing new business relationships. This community of innovators under the “TOP 100 Startups” brand has become Switzerland’s ultimate startup benchmark, promoting a dynamic community of innovators.

The startup funding landscape in 2023, as reported by Founders Network – a curated community of over 600 full-time tech startup founders from around the world –  saw a significant slowdown in global venture capital funding, with the US experiencing a 42% drop compared to 2022. This decline impacted the startup ecosystem, prompting entrepreneurs and investors to reassess their strategies and adapt to the changing dynamics. Despite the overall downturn, pockets of resilience and innovation emerged, with climate tech startups continuing to garner substantial investment.

In the face of adversity, Swiss startups have shown that they can still raise funds and grow their businesses. As the first half of 2024 approaches, the Swiss startup ecosystem remains cautiously optimistic. EY’s latest report suggests that the first half of the year will be crucial in determining whether the falling figures observed since September 2023 will continue.