12 start-ups from Zug’s Crypto Valley to watch

12 Apr 20183.13k Views

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Aerial view of Zug, Switzerland. Image: Sam Chadwick/Shutterstock

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The Swiss region of Zug is also known as Crypto Valley because it has become an epicentre of fintech, cryptocurrency and blockchain activity.

The lakeside municipality of Zug in Switzerland has an ancient history and has endured the tumultuous changes of the Reformation and the industrial revolution, but will it survive and prosper in the cryptocurrency craze?

Nestled in a low-tax region, Zug is the name given to both the town and the surrounding canton, and is home to established industries and various tech and financial multinationals. The area has earned the sobriquet ‘Crypto Valley’, or the Silicon Valley of Finance, due to the massive concentration of fintech, cryptocurrency, e-commerce and blockchain start-ups.

This has firmly positioned Zug at the frontier of the wild west of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and token launches.

Switzerland has long been a financial centre but, in the era of finance 2.0, the pace of change may be faster than traditionalists would appreciate.

To establish order, the Crypto Valley Association of Switzerland recently created a code of conduct for ICOs to ensure they comply with the law and are upfront with investors.

The Swiss Finance & Technology Association (Swiss FinTech) works with fintech start-ups to provide mentoring while the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) is also a key supporter of the evolving fintech ecosystem in Zug.

And so, here are 12 of the many tech start-ups in Zug to watch.

Ambrosus

Ambrosus is building the world’s first publicly verifiable and community-driven ecosystem to assure the quality, safety and origins of food. Founded in 2017 by Angel Versetti and Stefan Meyer, it has raised $30m by way of an ICO.

Bancor

Bancor has devised a protocol for the creation of smart tokens or cryptocurrencies that can be convertible directly through smart contracts. Founded in 2016 by Eyal Hertzog, Galia Benartzi, Guy Benartzi and Yudi Levi, it has raised $152.3m through an ICO.

Dfinity

Dfinity is building an open, decentralised, blockchain-based cloud computer for enterprise IT systems. Founded by Dominic Williams in 2015, Dfinity has so far raised $64.9m through venture funding and an ICO.

Equippo

Equippo is a global online marketplace for used, heavy equipment that brings together manufacturers, dealers, leading companies and other trusted sellers and buyers. Founded in 2014 by Michael Rohmeder and Philipp Knobel, the company raised a six-figure seed funding round in 2015.

Jibrel Network

Jibrel Network specialises in blockchain implementation for banks and other organisations. It has built its own Ethereum wallet called the jWallet, which can store financial assets such as currencies, commodities, bonds and equities on the Ethereum blockchain. Jibrel Network was founded in 2017 by Talal Tabbaa, Victor Mezrin and Yazan Barghuthi. It recently raised $30m from crypto investors including TaaS Fund, Tech Squared, Aurora Partners and ArabianChain.

Melonport

Melonport is behind the open source Melon Protocol, a blockchain protocol for digital asset management built on the Ethereum platform. Founded in 2016 by Mona El Isa and Reto Trinkler, it has raised $2.9m in funding to date via an ICO.

Monaco

Monaco is a payments and cryptocurrency platform that has the ambition of putting cryptocurrency in every wallet. It allows users to buy, exchange and spend fiat currency and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum at interbank exchange rates. Founded in 2016, it has raised $26.7m from an ICO.

Muume

Located in Cham in the canton of Zug, Muume is a digital platform designed to facilitate shopping on smartphones, allowing users to pay for day-to-day consumption or larger orders. Established in 2013 by Daniel Gradenegger and Marco Samek, the start-up has raised €7.3m so far, including a €5.3m Series B round from undisclosed investors last August.

Saga Foundation

Saga Foundation is the creator of a reserve-backed digital currency designed to address the needs of public policy. Founded in 2017 by Ido Sadeh Man and Moshe Hogeg, it has raised $30m so far in a round involving Mangrove Capital Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Sapphire Innovation

12 start-ups from Zug’s ‘Crypto Valley’ to watch

Image: Sapphire Innovation

Sapphire Innovation is the creator of a liquidity management solution via software-as-a-service (SaaS). It helps provide corporations with clarity and predictability around cash flow. Founded in 2013 by Amin Moncef and Yngve Tvedt, it has raised more than $4.2m so far from investors including The GIG Ltd.

ShapeShift

ShapeShift enables immediate exchange between digital assets such as bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. Founded by Erik Voorhees in 2013, ShapeShift pioneered the concept of an exchange without user accounts. Last year, ShapeShift raised $10.4m in a Series A round led by Earlybird Venture Capital, bringing its total funding to $12.8m so far.

Status.im

Status.im has created a mobile Ethereum-based operating system that functions as a browser, messenger and gateway to a decentralised world. Founded by Carl Bennetts and Jarrad Hope, it has raised $99m so far via ICO.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com