"More money for the seed phase is urgently needed"

19.12.2018 11:06

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Pascale Vonmont

The Venture Kick program will be significantly expanded once again. We asked Pascale Vonmont, CEO of the Gebert Rüf Foundation and President of the Venture Kick Strategy Board, what lies behind the move.

Venture Kick will increase financial support to start-ups by 36 percent, to 4.35 million Swiss francs next year. Where does the additional funding come from?

Some of the Venture Kick's partners have increased their commitment, including the Gebert Rüf Foundation. At the same time, the Hauser Foundation joined Venture Kick as a new partner.
 

It is often said, that there is enough money available for start-ups in the seed phase and that it is becoming more challenging to find money only with Series A financing rounds. Do start-ups in the seed phase really need more money?

Exactly the opposite is true. For an incomplete team without products and customers and before the incorporation of a company it is still almost impossible to attract investors. This is exactly where Venture Kick steps in, making the founders "investor-ready”, creating visibility and credibility. When a solid business case has been developed, financing from investors is available. Since 2010, applications to Venture Kick have increased by 300% andcontinued to reach new highs every year. More money is urgently needed in the seed phase to strengthen the pipeline for the growing number of downstream investors.
In addition, projects applying for Venture Kick support have gained in quality and maturity in recent years. With the strengthening of stage 2, we are taking this into account and will foster the start-ups with additional funds to push forward and accelerate the market validation in this critical phase.
 

Venture Kick had already taken shares of start-ups that have received the full CHF130,000. Why  has thisswitched to convertible loans and why is this start-up-friendly?

Convertible loans are simpler, faster and cheaper. For start-ups in this phase, these are all relevant factors. In addition, the question of valuation can be answered in the first financing round. Convertible loans of start-ups usually have a discount of 20-30%. Venture Kick does without it.
 

Venture Kick's track record is impressive. What are the success factors?

Structure, focus and speed. Venture Kick is a clearly a structured program regarding content and time and is very competitive. The focus lies on rapid business development to convince and win customers, partners and investors. The decisions of the outstanding jury, consisting of entrepreneurs and investors, constitute  feedback from experienced market participants. The tightly scheduled program stages demand a high speed of execution from the start-ups, supported by the intense Kickers Camps and the unique network to downstream investors and the industry.

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