A second venture-capital style incubator aimed specifically at blockchain start-ups has set up in Switzerland. The Zug-headquartered Blockchain Propulsion features five global accelerator hubs in Switzerland, Brazil, India, China and the United Arab Emirates.
Por Matthew Allen
The number of blockchain enterprises in “Crypto Nation” Switzerland had risen to around 750 by the end of last year, with about 60% of that number comprised of start-ups. But access to funding may be restricted, according to Swiss business angel investor Daniel Gutenberg, who last year said that the emerging technology is not yet advanced enough to attract traditional venture capital.
This has opened the field to investors who believe in blockchain enough to put their money into ventures that others feel are too risky. Blockchain Propulsion has stepped into that gap, offering business and legal coaching plus office space for around 40 to 50 companies in Switzerland.
“Today, many blockchain projects are not only struggling to raise capital but are often bogged down by challenges beyond their core competencies and mission, such as navigating complex regulatory hurdles. In addition, many projects are often too tech-heavy and miss the important strategy, business, marketing, and financial acumen,” said the incubator’s founder and CEO Stefan Deiss in a statement.
Last September saw the launch of Crypto Valley Venture Capital (CVVC), a $100 million fund that aims to help up to 1,000 blockchain start-ups get off the ground globally within the next five years. The first batch of 12 start-ups recently joined the programme in Zug, which offers office space, mentoring and CHF125,000 ($125,000) in seed capital.
CVVC, which has opened the next round of screening for start-ups, is also looking to set up offices in Asia and the United States.
Blockchain Propulsion has teamed up with hedge funds and other fundraising partners to supply seed capital to start-ups but does not say how much will be in the pot to start with. It aims to initially support between 20 and 25 projects per year. The Swiss arm of the incubator network has a presence in Zug, Zurich and canton Uri. Blockchain Propulsion plans to set up further global hubs in the United States, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan later this year.
One of the young projects already onboarded is the ambitious Polo Multimodal Pecém urban development in Brazil. The so-called “Smart Chain City” is a 20 million square metre area dedicated to the development of new technologies.