Business 4 March 2019

Admir Aljic

Swiss fintech sector rapidly growing

There is growing concern about the fintech market across Europe these days, but not in Switzerland. There, it was reported that the country had 365 fintechs in operation, a 62% increase over the previous year. This has led many across Europe to wonder how it is that Switzerland was able to develop its markets while others are failing.

According to a study provided by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, the Swiss fintechs have continued to thrive over the last two years. The study concluded that for the fourth time an in-depth review concluded that their fintech market had actually increased. The study also found that both Zürich and Geneva ranked second and third as the best fintech cities in Europe for the third year in a row.

According to the report, the Swiss fintech industry has spread across a diverse array of business types. This included investment management, banking infrastructure, deposit and lending institutions, as well as payment and analytics companies. The study further concluded that Switzerland has quickly become the second highest company in terms of the amount of money that has been raised through ICOs, raising nearly $238 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 alone.

The news of the success of the Swiss fintechs comes at a time when German performance in this industry is on the decline. While Germany has the largest economy in Europe, they only added 90 fintech startup companies in 2018, one of the lowest on the continent. This puts them at a total of 464, which is still the second largest on the continent, but shows that Switzerland is quickly gaining ground.

While many are wondering why it is that Germany is struggling and Switzerland is thriving, the answer seems to be a simple one. It is clear that the Swiss government has played an active role in promoting these types of companies, and it has resulted in a number of startups with innovative ideas.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken positively about aiding these types of fintech startups, but that has been pure fiction. Little has been done by the government to actually assist in helping these businesses to get started, and this has opened the door for the Swiss to become the innovators.

The result of this has been a dramatic increase in venture capital supplied to the Swiss companies. In 2017, they raised 130 million Swiss Francs, but that number nearly tripled to 324 million in 2018. With $386 million added through initial coin offerings, that brings the total amount generated to nearly $700 million.

This number surpasses German fintechs by over $50 million but is still only a microscopic amount in compared to what British fintech companies have attracted, reaching over €13.6 billion in 2018. This has become a growing concern as Great Britain prepares to leave the European Union, driving the Swiss government to develop their own markets to become the leader in the British-less EU.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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