Is Switzerland the Newest Tech Hub?

39 thoughts on “Is Switzerland the Newest Tech Hub?”

    1. This is a good list, i know all of these startups and they represent the swiss ground for startups very well, since all of them stand for a good product.
      The Creative Commons Licence movement and generally Open Source get much support in Switzerland too.

  1. Logically, as everything ‘big’ disaggregates, one could foresee silicon valley and its concentration of ‘big’ venture firms going the same way. Reality however often trumps logic.

  2. Om, Zurich has turned into a gem…the large corporates discovered this first and keep locating or moving their EMEA HQs to Zurich and Geneva. A clear trend, and above you could also have added IBM, Cisco and 15-20 other companies who joined the party in the recent past.

    Having had one foot solidly in Silicon Valley and one in Zurich for the last 15 years, my companies have been based in Switzerland by design. No capital gains tax, pre-event tax rulings, low company- and even lower personal income taxes, mortgage rates below 2% ….and so on.

    Zurich is obviously not SV though. By far. Valuations are lower, the acceptance of ‘creative failure’ non-existent, and investors could learn from their colleagues in Palo Alto. Also, the time to exit can be significantly shorter in the Valley. You will therefore over here end up with a product usable in all corners of the world, which is the point you make above. There’s also plenty of talent, great universities, low cost of capital and an awesome quality of life here. Makes it easy to motivate key talent to come and work for you.

    Being in a position to take a peek behind the scenes I can also say that the start-up pipeline is high-quality and high-potential, also from a SV perspective. Very impressive on the Life Sciences side.

    Personally I chose to relocate to Zurich…may I suggest for good reasons 😉 Come and check out the place.

  3. Om, you got the OECD star wrong. It is 33 connections per 100 inhabitants. The way you phrased it makes it sound like only 33% of the Swiss have broadband, when it’s nearly double that.

  4. Swiss is NOT a newest tech hub. It’s ALWAYS a tech hub. Did we forget where web born? -> CERN lab in Geneva.

    IBM has a research lab in Zurich and technopark in Zurich is an interesting place with lot’s of startups.

    I worked in India, Swiss(basel & zurich) and last 10 years here in silicon valley. IMO, Swiss is a great place to do basic/fundamental research. The eco system supports it. I always love to go back & work there…

    From commercial product development perspective, the problem is multi-language + limited set of technical resources.

  5. Interesting article.

    My wife just accepted a job in Basel and so we’ll be moving there this coming Friday. I’ll have a B-class work permit and so I can work in Switzerland. I’m an American with 15 years programming experience with about 10 years of that in Silicon Valley with small start-ups (one of which is quite large now), and I’ve founded a couple of companies myself, worked closely with partners in India, etc.

    I’m a programmer and looking for contacts in small tech company startups in Basel – I’m not that interested in working for a large company but I can do it in a pinch

    I see that there’s a Zurich Entrepreneurs meet-up group (the leader of which just stepped down). Can anyone give me pointers on meeting start-ups in Basel?

  6. Om – we met a year ago when we went with Faisal Galaria to the movies.
    Zurich is definitely growing in Start-Up numbers.
    The last Tech-Crunch event Zurich was a big success with over 40 companies presenting.

    Whenever you come, get in contact and we’ll organise a get together with interesting entrepreneurs.

  7. It helps to speak german, but almost everybody speaks english. It’s actually difficult to use your german, since the swiss like to practice their english skills on all foreigners 🙂

    shameless plug: we are actually a Zuerich Startup too 🙂

  8. Don’t forget little old Geneva….! We will be launching an angel site shortly, designed to let investors in tech start ups interact with investors and industry mentors..

    Switzerland maybe small, but its perfectly formed!!

  9. Zurich is a GR8 place. Switzerland on the whole is a great place. As founder, INVENTOR OF CORE TECHNOLOGY Ex CTO of Atlantium Ltd, Atlantium Lasers and Atlantium technologies a world leader in water treatment technologies (UV), I had great interactions with honorable Swiss investors. I love Switzerland. The food is great, the people are credible and super intelligent. I recommend anyone doing business in Switzerland. The truth of the matter, there are numerous centers for doing business in all fields of technologies around the world. There is place for all and all should be developed.

    I wish anyone developing Switzerland as a technology hub great success.

    With utmost respect

    Zamir Tribelsky

  10. If California Assembly Bill 178 and other individual state laws pass, there may be a flood of Internet talent moving to Switzerland. CA AB 178 will kill tens of thousands of California jobs and small businesses, put a huge damper on Internet innovation, and get this, be a net revenue LOSS to the individual states as companies move their business relationships to companies in other states. That is exactly what just happened in NY. But hey, it will get a few clueless politicians a few votes because they claim it is “fairness” and will raise taxes to pay down the deficit in their state. And of course, punish those “bad people with them new-fangled ‘puters” on the Internet from other states.

  11. Hi,
    Internet has narrowed down boundaries and made the globe a village. India has emerged as leader in software development. Switzerland has talent, technicians and money.There are consumers also.

    Zurich, Switzerland has potential to be a tachno hub. However will it not be better to get works done in India and control it from Zurich? Will it not be cheaper? Will it not be more profitable?

    I see a collaboration between India and Switzerland.

    Vardhaman Gems

  12. Switzerland has the potential to evolve as a center of excellence in the emerging knowledge era provided well defined and focussed action plan is drawn and implemented in a mission mode manner to upgrade and build up a state-of-art knowledge acquisition and dissemination system so as to make the country a focal point in the incoming knowledge era.

  13. Om, thanks for such an advert for our home town (Tallinn) – I guess it was wiki-linked because it seems to be less known to general public than those other cities from your list.

    Unfortunately enough, I can’t see Tallinn thriving of many startups. Of course, Skype and fotki.com are made here, but there are no other big hyped names at the moment. It seems that in Zurich innovation meets capital more easily. I hope situation changes as we are taking the global recession as a sign to boost innovations

  14. Hey, my German ancestors hale from Tallinn. I see a collaboration between the world and Switzerland.

    “I look upon Switzerland as an inferior sort of Scotland.” – Sydney Smith 😉

    Israel has developed many of the technolical parts that are used by mobiles and many other IT uses. The only problem is they don’t get the credit for it.

  15. Switzerland is becoming a tech hub. The country has been manufacturing sophisticated machines since long time such as watches.
    Switzerland has the ability to be a tech hub.
    Thanks for a nice post.
    Darshan

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