Fongit is Switzerland’s largest innovation incubator. How was it born and who are the founders?
Swiss entrepreneur Jean-Pierre Etter who failed three times before achieving international success with his company LEM, today the market leader in providing innovative and high-quality solutions for measuring electrical parameters. His failures led him to create the Fondation Genevoise pour l’Innovation Technologique – FONGIT, to help entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes he made, and boost their success. In the past 10 years alone, Fongit has helped more than 100 entrepreneurs commercialise their innovations and create the top companies of the future and thousands of jobs. Today Fongit has become Switzerland’s premier innovation platform, supporting innovative tech ventures in Geneva with an excellent track record of building suc
cessful companies. As a private, non-profit foundation, benefitting from the support of the State of Geneva the Foundation’s mission did not change since the beginning: Transforming technological innovation into social and economic value in the Geneva region.
To achieve this vision, Fongit has always been run by innovators for innovators, and with state support.
Fongit has also launched the Fongit Innovation Fund (FIF) that aims to accelerate innovation processes within Universities, Hautes Ecoles and other Geneva-based research institutions, within startups, scale-ups, and SMEs experiencing rapid growth in a technological environment. The FIF focuses on any technological innovation applied to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and gives financing in forms of grants and loans of up to 400k CHF.
How many startups have you supported so far?
Fongit has supported more than 100 startups, that have raised more than 700M CHF in funding, and have created more than 1300 jobs in the Canton of Geneva. The foundation continues to support the innovators of tomorrow.
How many of them have reached a global level?
Many of our startups have gone globally, some of which have expanded to other countries such as France and the United Kingdom with offices there too. Others have not expanded through offices but rather through having global customers in almost all countries of the world. Some names to mention are Sonar Source, the youngest Geneva Unicorn that does clean code, Proton that focuses on email privacy and was born in CERN, Alohi that has just launched a digital signature product, TVP Solar that focuses on CleanTech and many more.
How long does the incubation program last and what kind of assistance and training do you offer?
The beauty of Fongit is that we work with our entrepreneurs to give them what they really need to succeed. To do so we cannot have a standard time frame, as each startup is different. Therefore we work with the entrepreneurs to understand first what their needs are and to support them to move to the next level. We provide office space, admin and legal services, investor relations, community management and events, as well as coaching, mentoring and financing without which the entrepreneur cannot succeed. Fongit is a player that supports your startups and ensures that we will do all we can to help you succeed in impacting positively the local economy and creating those jobs of the future.
How many applications come to Fongit each year? How can I apply for the program?
We continuously receive hundreds of applications every year. In order to apply one can go directly at www.fongit.ch and submit an application for our incubation programme.
The criteria includes:
Your startup must be based in Geneva or willing to move there.
You must have an innovative technology.
Your startup’s mission must be positively impacting society and contributing to the SDGs.
We are curious to know the most virtuous startups for innovation but also those most appreciated by the market.
The top 100 Swiss startups award is done by public voting and many Fongit startups are part of this. The number one ranked at the moment is Popety, a startup that uses Artificial Intelligence for real estate. This is probably a good indication to see what the public likes.