The TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award 2021 celebrates Switzerland’s most promising startups

top 100 Swiss startups

The 11th edition of the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award celebrated Switzerland’s best startups: Planted Foods (1st), CUTISS (2nd), and 9T Labs (3rd) were the top picks of the expert jury. A selected audience of startups, investors, and key partners of the TOP 100 were present at the event, held at the newly renovated startup space in Schlieren. The award show was also live-streamed for a global audience. The 11th edition of the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award was organized by Venturelab and facilitated by its presenting partners Credit Suisse and Swiss Venture Club.

Within a decade, the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award has become a benchmark in Switzerland’s startup ecosystem. The award show connects the most promising Swiss startup CEOs with Swiss and international investors, executives, and journalists. What started with a first publication of the ranking in 2011 has turned into a comprehensive collection of events and activities, including an invitation-only Award Night, the Investor Summit that allows handpicked TOP 100 startups to pitch to selected Swiss and international investors, regional pitch events organized together with presenting partner Credit Suisse, the scale-up ranking. The TOP 100 Swiss Startups magazine covers all these events and news with editorial content in German, French, English, Chinese, and―in 2021 for the first time―in Japanese.

“The last year has not been easy, but the Swiss startup ecosystem has shown that it is resilient and thrives under pressure. Celebrating the TOP 100 is celebrating all entrepreneurs in these turbulent times,” said Jordi Montserrat, managing partner at Venturelab. “We are starting the second decade of the TOP 100 Swiss Startups not only with a new location but also with a wide range of innovations that will positively impact our lives and strengthen Switzerland’s position as a global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The evening’s two keynote speakers illustrated the strength of the Swiss startup ecosystem and highlighted the potential of the TOP 100 startups: Ulf Grawunder is the founder and CEO of Basel-based NBE Therapeutics, a TOP 100 Startup that was acquired by Boehringer Ingelheim for EUR 1.18 billion in December 2020. Fabien Jordan is the co-founder and CEO of TOP 100 Startup Astrocast, a Lausanne-based company that did an IPO in August. “NBE Therapeutics and Astrocast recently made headlines―during a pandemic that was challenging for many―and we are excited that they share their experiences with the TOP 100 entrepreneurs, investors, and partners,” said Stefan Steiner, co-managing director of Venturelab and TOP 100 director. “Having such role models and a strong ecosystem to learn from is critical to continue to transform world-class innovation made in Switzerland.”

Startup ranking: Planted Foods, CUTISS, and 9T Labs take home the top prizes

Three startups from the foodtech, biotech, and engineering sectors lead the TOP 100 Swiss Startup ranking 2021. Planted Foods, CUTISS, and 9T Labs showcase the diversity and potential of the swiss startups: They are, on average, three years old, have created over 140 new jobs, and have raised CHF 80 million in investment.

See here for a complete list of all TOP 100 Swiss Startups 2021 and the 10 winners of the TOP 100 Public Voting


First place: Planted Foods | Kemptthal (ZH) |

Turning plants into meat The Zurich-based startup revolutionizes the food industry by creating plant-based protein made of 100% animal-product-free ingredients. Planted Food’s vegan meat alternatives do not include any additives, chemicals, GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones. Planted Foods was founded in 2019 by Christoph Jenny, Eric Stirnemann, Lukas Böni, and Pascal Bieri. The startup ranked 37th in 2020.

Eat planted

Second place: CUTISS | Schlieren (ZH) |

Developing unique personalized skin technology to treat skin defects CUTISS is a biotech startup able to bioengineer large quantities of individually customized human skin grafts: denovoSkin™ is a safe, effective, and accessible therapy for children and adults who suffer large-scale burns or scalds. CUTISS’s human skin grafts are expected to result in a minimally scarring outcome after transplantation. The Zurich-based startup was founded in 2016 by Dr. Daniela Marino (CEO) and Dr. Fabienne Hartmann-Fritsch (CCO) and was ranked first in 2020.


Third place: 9T Labs | Zurich |

Creating a new way of manufacturing carbon composites Zurich-based 9T Labs offers a manufacturing solution that makes performance parts easily accessible. The startup’s all-in-one hardware, software, and material solution provide customers with an inexpensive and easy way to design and mass-produce ultra-lightweight parts in areas such as the medical industry, aerospace, and automotive markets. The engineering startup was founded in 2018 by Martin Eichenhofer, Chester Houwink, and Giovanni Cavolina and ranked sixth in 2020.


Tracking the growth of Switzerland’s scale-ups

In 2019 and 2020, just over CHF 2 billion were invested in Swiss startups on an annual basis for the first time. Despite the coronavirus crisis, Swiss startups raised this amount by July 2021 and are heading for an impressive record high. Significantly more than half of this investment volume is attributable to alumni of the TOP 100 Swiss Startups―including wefox’s USD 650 million fundraising round or SOPHiA GENETICS IPO on Nasdaq. To lay a solid foundation for future fundraising success stories, the TOP 100 Investor Summit, which took place before the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award 2021, invited selected startups that are raising new capital to connect and pitch to handpicked Swiss and international super angels, venture capitalists, corporate investors, and family office representatives from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and Switzerland.

To do justice to these success stories, the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award featured the scale-up ranking. As startups cannot appear in the TOP 100 for more than five years after incorporation, a growth jury was asked to select the TOP 25 scale-ups. These companies, aged five up to 10 years, show the greatest potential for further growth.

See here for the complete list of all TOP 100 Scale-ups 2021.