Three Swiss startups connected with IMD and a digital bank founded by an MBA alumnus have successfully raised funds from investors.

The firms – covering the ecotechnology, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries – raked in a total of 670 million Swiss francs ($715 million) in just one month, underscoring IMD’s success in selecting and nurturing promising early-stage ventures.

  • Climeworks, a 2011 EMBA startup competition winner specializing in technology to remove excess CO2 from the air, raised 600 million Swiss francs ($641 million) in equity funding to accelerate the direct air capture industry. Their Orca carbon capture plant in Iceland came online in 2021, and is the largest direct air capture facility in the world.
  • Bcomp, which worked with the EMBAs in 2012 and uses flax to create composite materials for cars, boats, planes, and trains, closed a 32 million Swiss franc ($34 million) financing round from BMW, Volvo, Porsche and Airbus Ventures.
  • Altoida, a 2015 EMBA startup competition winner, brought in $20 million in Series A funding. The company has built a platform to accelerate and improve drug development, research, and care for people with neurological diseases using data captured with standard smartphones.

Every year since 1998, the IMD Startup Competition offers young companies the chance to collaborate with MBA and EMBA students. These experienced managers analyze and challenge the companies’ business plans and strategies, and, in the case of the EMBAs, pitch the startups to venture capitalists and angels in Silicon Valley.

Jim Pulcrano, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at IMD, praised the fundraising news, adding, “Though IMD is deservedly well-known for the work we do with large successful companies, we have worked with over 500 Swiss startups since 1998, and many of our alumni have gone on to found successful companies – something we hope to accelerate in the years to come. This news shows we’re on the right track.”

Another IMD success story is fintech group Alpian founded in 2020 by IMD MBA 2017 Schuyler Weiss. The company recently raised an additional 19 million Swiss francs and obtained a banking license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, and plans to launch in Switzerland later this year. Fellow IMD alumni Marion Owczarczak-Fogli (EMBA 2017) and Gianmarco Bonaita (MBA 2019) are also founding team members.

The firms are the latest in a string of former competition winners that have performed well. Biopharmaceutical company AC Immune went public in 2016, followed by textile technology firm HeIQ in 2020. 

Past acquisitions include Dacuda, whose 3D division was acquired by Magic Leap in 2017, Doodle by TamediaEndosense by St. Jude Medical, FaceShift by Apple, GlycArt by Roche, picoDrill by Asahi Glass, HPL by Dow, Kooaba by Qualcomm, and Lemoptix by Intel.