Romandy, the French-speaking part of western Switzerland, is home to a burgeoning fintech community with several homegrown startups including NetGuardians and InvestGlass, rapidly emerging as regional leaders.
Geneva’s fintech ecosystem
Romandy combines unique banking expertise and first-rate technical skills, thanks to its close proximity to École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), one of the best tech universities in the world.
In the canton, the city of Geneva is emerging a fintech powerhouse, currently home to the third largest pool of fintech startups in Switzerland (37), after Zug (126) and Zurich (118), according to the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts’ 2020 IFZ Fintech Study.
The report ranks Geneva as the world’s third largest fintech hub, recognizing the city for its political stability and legal framework, and technological environment.
Today, Geneva is home to some of the country’s most successful and innovative fintech companies including InvestGlass, an integrated wealth advisor platform, and Mt Pelerin, an upcoming crypto bank built on blockchain that has applied for a Swiss fintech license.
Other notable fintech startups from Geneva include MoonX, a decentralized hybrid exchange platform that facilitates cross-border and cross-asset trading, Taurus Group, which is building a next generation platform to trade, invest, and protect digital assets, and Kiwi, a micro-payment solution for merchants.
Geneva is also the location where the Libra Association, a Facebook-led consortium of large companies with the aim of launching a global stablecoin, has chosen to be based.
Unveiled in June 2019, the Libra stablecoin project has faced criticism and opposition from central banks, following which several high-profile members including eBay, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard decided to step back from the project.
Industry trade groups are another key component of the Genevan fintech ecosystem. These include the Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA), an organization founded in 2018 by Lenz & Staehlin, Swissquote and Temenos aimed at creating standards around facilitating the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the field of capital markets. It focuses on creating standards for issuing, distributing, and trading tokenized securities.
There is also the Geneva Fintech Association, an organization founded in 2019 that aims to promote the development of new technologies, with a special focus on crowdfunding and DLT. The organization advocates and supports the education on new technologies and seeks to bring together stakeholders from the fintech ecosystem.
The Fongit Innovation Incubator is another active member in the Genevan fintech space. Founded in 1991, the incubator seeks to support tech ventures and currently hosts selected Swiss fintech companies such as InvestGlass, TokenEstate, Quantreex operated by Algoright System, Taurus Group, and Impaakt.
Vaud’s fintech ecosystem
After Geneva, the canton of Vaud in Romandy ranks as the fourth biggest fintech hub in Switzerland with 28 companies, according to the 2020 IFZ Fintech Study.
Lausanne, the capital city and the biggest town of Vaud, is home to some of the canton’s most notable fintech startups.
These include Global Impact Finance, which operates international money transfer services comparison platform Monito, Biowatch, a Bluetooth and near field communication (NFC)-enabled wearable watch for making payments and authentications, and Azqore, a provider of software solutions for private banks and wealth managers.
SwissPay.ch, a payment gateway serving e-commerce companies, NVISO, an artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning company, and CashSentinel, a payment services provider for marketplaces, are also fintechs from Lausanne.
Christian König, founder of the Fintech News Network, stays the next weeks close to the city of Montreux and would be more than happy to meet up with region’s players. Don’t hesitate to reach out!
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