The Swiss entrepreneur convinced the jury with his efforts as a network maker in the field of fintech and as a business angel in Swiss scale-ups (startups in the rapid growth phase).
The SECA (Swiss Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association) has named Gian Reto Porta 20th Business Angel of the year. The Swiss fintech entrepreneur won the jury with his commitment as a fintech network builder and business angel in Swiss scale-ups (startups in the rapid growth phase).
Since the sale of his fintech startup Contovista in 2017, he has been actively investing in early-stage startups. Because of his experience, he knows how important it is to have experienced entrepreneurs as investors in this first phase of a startup. Indeed, in addition to the money invested, it is equally important for startups to have an interlocutor that is as uncomplicated and honest as possible, who helps them to set up their business successfully – on this point Gian Reto to Porta is now focused: ” Everyone has been talking about smart money, but I don’t just want to bring smart money to a business, but also fair, supportive and motivating money.”
Investments in Swiss startups and venture capital funds based in Switzerland
Over the past four years, he has invested in 16 start-ups, ten of which are Swiss. In addition, there are investments in six venture capital funds, three of which are in Switzerland. These developments clearly show how the Swiss startup ecosystem can benefit from a successful exit. This is also the opinion of the founders of the startups in his portfolio:
Philippe Sahli, Founder and CEO of Yokoy: “Gian saw the potential of our team early on and as an investor he has always kept the founders’ interests in mind.”
As a scale-up, the startup Yokoy, founded in 2019, has made a name for itself in the Swiss startup scene, since the last financing round of 80 million francs was executed in 2022 with Sequoia as investor. renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
Lav Odorovic, Co-Founder & CEO of Relio: “I was looking for a seasoned entrepreneur with banking experience to join our board. We quickly understood that Gian’s commitment is essential, probably because the entrepreneurial spirit and banking experience rarely go together as well as he does.”
Kevin Smith, Founder and CEO of Snipd: “I had my first startup experience at Gian’s startup – he was my boss and my mentor. Later on, Gian invested in my startup and supported me. This is the way to create a successful startup ecosystem: Rein vest in the ecosystem.”
The active involvement of business angels such as Gian Reto at Porta makes the establishment of a start-up in Switzerland attractive.
20 years Business Angel of the Year
For two decades, the SECA has rewarded exceptional business angels for their efforts and achievements as business angels. Past winners include Cornelia Gut-Villa, director of the Startfeld foundation, Dieter Meier, business manager of Yello, Daniel Borel, founder of Logitech, Joachim Schoss, founder of the scout24 group, or Professor Cuno Pümpin of the University of St. Gallen.
45 unicorns valued at more than 1 billion francs in Switzerland
As recently published by SICTIC, the largest business angel club in Switzerland, a total of 45 startups have managed to achieve a valuation of more than 1 billion francs in the past 12 years, earning them the title “unicorn” / unicorn. Venture capitalists are especially interested in it. However, before SICTIC, there were only six Swiss unicorns in international databases because, unlike the United States, people apparently don’t like to talk about financial success in public. Switzerland is well on its way to producing many more successful scale-ups with unicorn potential. But for that you need other private individuals with experience in the field of entrepreneurship, who, as business angels, provide the initial financing.