Women on the Rise in Swiss Startups

24 June 2019

Occlufit CEO Dr. Monica Tocchi is one of the 100 female bosses in Switzerland featured by startupticker.ch.

Although the Swiss start-up scene still has only a few female bosses, an analysis by startupticker.ch shows that at least their numbers are now increasing strongly.

Women at the top of start-ups are still rare. This applies worldwide; for example, a study by the US consulting firm Peter S. Cohan & Associates showed that only about 2% of all unicorns in the US have a female CEO. In order to shed more light on the situation in Switzerland, startupticker has created a map of start-ups run by women. In addition, we examined how much is invested in these start-ups, based on the Swiss Venture Capital Report.


The updated map identifies more than 100 start-ups run by a female CEO.The most striking feature of the analysis is the confirmation that the number of start-ups with female bosses has grown significantly in recent years. Three phases can be distinguished: until 2012, 2013 to 2015 and from 2016. We were able to identify only one to three start-ups founded per year between 2004 and 2012, and six to seven founded per year in 2013, 2014 and 2015. This was followed by a strong increase in 2016, 2017 and 2018, when about 20 companies were founded per year. However, compared with the total number of newly established start-ups per year – about 300 – the share of women-owned companies is still below 10%.

An evaluation of the two most recent Swiss Venture Capital Reports comes to similar conclusions. In 2017, 5.7% of all start-ups that attracted risk capital were led by a woman; in 2018, the share had increased significantly to 9.1%. There was also significant growth in invested capital: in 2017, only about 2% of the total capital went to start-ups with a female CEO, but almost 7% in 2018.

The potential for further increase is clear, as the proportion of women in founding teams is clearly higher. An analysis for Innosuisse, published in 2017, showed that 25% of all Swiss start-ups had at least one female co-founder. Venturelab came to a similar conclusion: about a third of the projects funded by Venture Kick in 2018 had at least one female member. And of the start-ups selected for the Top 100 Swiss Startup Award in 2018, 28% had a female co-founder.

Source: Startup GUIDE 2019 / 2020 by Startup INVEST.




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