Foundations as Promoters of Life Science Start-ups


  • Pascale Vonmont Gebert Rüf Stiftung, Foundation Office, Bäumleingasse 22/4, CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland.



Asset class, Foundations, Start-up, Valley of death


Because private foundations have only modest financial resources compared to public and private-sector research funding, the only way in which foundations can play a key role is in the initial and risk financing of gap areas. This is generally in what is known as the 'valley of death', but even there an additional focus is needed. One promising field is the very early-stage support for high-risk but high-potential business cases in order to increase the number of start-ups, not only but very often in the field of life sciences. The pre-seed fund venture kick, an initiative by private foundations, is a good example of success. There is still a gap in the innovation chain in Switzerland from the first research results to becoming a successful life science company. However, for the first time promising solutions are on the way, and here too, foundations can play an important role.