The Swiss entrepreneur convinced the jury with his commitment as a network creator in fintech and as a business angel in Swiss scale-ups (startups in the rapid growth phase).
SECA (Swiss Private Equity & Corporate Finance Association) named Gian Reto Porta as the 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 startups in the early stages. Through his experience, he knows how important it is, in this first phase of a startup, to have experienced entrepreneurs as investors. In addition to the money invested, it is actually just as important for startups to have as uncomplicated and honest a conversation partner as possible that helps them establish their business successfully – it is at this point that Gian Reto to Porta is now focused: “ Everyone is talking about smart money. But I seek not only to bring smart money to a company, but also honest, supportive and motivating money ”.
Investments in Swiss startups and venture capital funds domiciled 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 based in Switzerland. This development clearly shows how the Swiss start-up ecosystem can benefit from a successful exit. This is also the opinion of the founders of 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 considered the interests of the founders.”
As an upscale, startup Yokoy, founded in 2019, has gained its reputation on the Swiss startup scene since the final round of financing of 80 million francs was completed in 2022 with Sequoia as investor. Principal, a world-renowned Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist.
Lav Odorovic, co-founder and CEO of Relio: “I was looking for an experienced entrepreneur with experience in banking for our board of directors. We quickly realized that Gian’s commitment is essential, probably because the entrepreneurial spirit and banking experience rarely combine as well as with him. “
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, Gian invested in my startup and supported me. This is the way to go if you want to create a successful startup ecosystem: Genvest in the ecosystem. “
The active involvement of business angels like Gian Reto at Porta makes the creation of a start-up in Switzerland attractive.
20 years as Business Angel of the Year
For two decades now, SECA has rewarded exceptional business angels for their commitment and performance as business angels. Previous winners include Cornelia Gut-Villa, Director of the Startfeld Foundation, Dieter Meier, Business Manager at Yello, Daniel Borel, Founder of Logitech, Joachim Schoss, Founder of the Scout24 Group, or Professor Cuno Pümpin of the University of St. Louis. Gallen.
45 unicorns worth 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 last 12 years, which has given them the title “unicorn” / unicorn. Venture capitalists are particularly interested in it. Before SICTIC, however, international databases listed only six Swiss unicorns, because unlike the United States, people apparently do not like to talk publicly about economic success. Switzerland is well on its way to creating many more successful upscaling with unicorn potential. But for this you need other private individuals with experience in entrepreneurship, who are responsible for the start-up financing as a business angel.