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Swiss Fintech Industry Bounces Back in 2022: Insights from IFZ Fintech Study by Lucerne University

The Swiss fintech industry has been growing steadily over the years, but it experienced a decline of around 5% in 2021, with a stagnation in employee levels.

However, growth has prevailed again in 2022.

Despite the industry facing tougher fundraising conditions, the recent results of the IFZ Fintech Study by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts provide insights into the dynamic Swiss fintech market.

The IFZ Fintech Study: An Overview

For the eighth time, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts has published the IFZ Fintech Study, providing a comprehensive overview of the Swiss fintech sector.

The study covers important changes and trends in the industry, and the complete report is available on the HSLU website.

Rising Numbers

The Swiss fintech sector has rebounded in 2022, with a total of 437 companies at the end of the year, representing a 14% increase from the previous year.

The growth was mainly caused by a total of 75 companies founded prior to 2022, which were not included in the database before.

Additionally, 14 companies were founded in 2022.

Blockchain is Back

Of the 14 newly founded companies in 2022, eleven focus on Distributed Ledger Technology, two on Process Digitisation/automatization/Robotics, and one on Analytics/Big Data/Artificial Intelligence.

The focus of the recently founded fintech companies is therefore mainly on blockchain-related technologies.

It is no surprise that ten of the 14 new companies are based in the canton of Zug, a global hotspot for blockchain technology.

Trend towards Sustainability

The study identifies 32 Swiss-based fintech companies that are sustainable and meet the eligibility criteria.

Compared to last year’s study, which reported 4.4% of the total sample as sustainable fintech companies, this year’s study reports a share of 7.3%.

The 32 sustainable fintech companies in the sample as of 2022 can be divided into ten green fintech companies, three social fintech companies, eight social-green fintech companies, and eleven fintech companies that provide sustainability supporting activities.

Back to Moderate Growth

The median number of Full-Time Employees (FTEs) employed by Swiss fintech companies has generally increased over the years but stagnated in 2022 at 20.

However, most existing companies expect an increase in the number of employees in 2023.

Of the 111 Swiss fintech companies that made an estimate on the development of the workforce for 2023, 22% expect strong growth, 68% moderate growth, and only 10% zero growth.

Fundraising More Complicated

All Swiss fintech companies were asked about the urgency of nine different challenges, with finding customers (6.9) and the availability of skilled staff or experienced managers (6.5) being perceived as the strongest challenges.

Access to financing follows in the seventh position with an average value of 4.9.

However, the year-on-year comparison shows that fundraising has gotten more challenging for fintech companies, with access to financing increasing the most (+17%) in urgency.

Best Environment in Singapore, Followed by Zurich and Geneva

Since the first Fintech hub ranking in 2017, Singapore has had the best conditions for fintech companies. This lead was further extended in 2022.

The two Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva, together with Stockholm, form the first chasing group, but with a striking distance to the leader from Southeast Asia.

Venture capital and joint venture activities correlate most strongly with the size of a FinTech sector, which indicates that the environment for investment and cooperation plays an important role in FinTech formation.

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