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Picture by: Annie Spratt

Next to being the innovation vehicle for the Migros-Group through Venture Building, we have a dedicated team to strengthen those undertakings through growth equity investments. Diving deeper into this area of our operations, we take a close look at the Swiss Startup and Investor landscape together with Tobias, who is a Senior Investment Manager on our team at Sparrow Ventures while providing transparency about how we operate, what we invest in, our process and how we support our portfolio companies. Read on for more detailed information below.

What is your take on the Swiss Startup Scene? Where do you think it is heading?

Swiss startups are a vital driver for innovation across sectors. Switzerland itself is…


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Timo — Chief Venture Officer @ Sparrow Ventures

We sat down with Timo, who recently started as Chief Venture Officer in our team. Read on below to find out more about him as a person and what he is looking after in his role, where he is also giving insights about the possibilities but also challenges venture building holds along with his take on what he likes about Sparrow Ventures and why it is a great place to be and work.

Could you tell us a bit about who you are and where are you coming from?

For sure. Most recently I worked as a Team Lead at Stryber, a company builder and strategic partner for ramping up the Venture Building operations at Sparrow…


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Picture by: Markus Spiske

How would you describe your startup culture in one sentence? This seems like an easy question but in a lot of startups (or companies in general) “culture” isn’t really tangible and just a nice concept. So how can you build a startup culture that your employees feel connected to and why is it even important? And what has a gardening guide to do with it? Before we dive deeper into these topics, let’s first look at some basics to have a common ground of understanding.

What is company culture?

Let’s start with what the definition of company culture is. Startup culture is well known…


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Picture by Jonathan Smith

Bringing ideas to life and growing them into impactful companies that are loved by both customers and employees is a process that’s always captured my fascination.

However, at the beginning of my career, I didn’t launch myself into startups right away. I tried the traditional path first, but for me, it wasn’t very fulfilling.

In the search for my true passion, I got to know Toni, a coach at my university. He gave me this one piece of advice that I will never forget: “Silvan, with all the potential career paths that you could follow, imagine who you could become…


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Picture by Tim Mossholder

Hiring the right people for your startup, especially in an early stage, is arguably the most essential element on its overall road to success. But where do you start, what do you have to look for and what process can you follow in order to do so?

Start with thinking about employee happiness

With regard to people and peoples’ overall happiness, a good source for inspiration to get started is Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory, stating that the needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness are what is fundamental and universal.

Based on this, when considering candidates for the long term success of our work together, we…


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Photo by Pineapple Supply Co.

The general shift towards a more health-conscious diet has been impacting the food industry for the last few years from the rapid rise of dairy alternatives to plant-based food becoming the new norm. Even though Switzerland was already in flux with the advent of this new era, the Corona pandemic in the first half of 2020, will most likely strongly influence what we eat, how we eat but also the way we are going to interact with restaurants, bars and cafés in the future.

To thrive in the competitive market of changing demands, companies across all around the world are…


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bestsmile Zurich Bellevue

Founded in late 2018, bestsmile, a young Swiss startup is on a mission to make dental correction accessible to everyone who wants it. With clear aligners produced in Switzerland the team around Ertan Wittwer, Philip Magoulas, and Marcel Kubli is taking a new approach and has grown rapidly while creating a lot of buzz with numerous of its boutique-style practices opening throughout the country within a short period of time.

This has fully convinced us and therefore we invested in bestsmile at the end of 2019. …


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Antelope Canyon, Arizona — Photo by Ashim D’Silva

Originally product development, even in the tech industry, was a slow process. You would follow a waterfall process, first doing research, then writing a massive time-consuming product requirement document and then finally handing it over to engineering to be built. Once the product was finally released after many months, what would likely happen was a product that didn’t solve the customer needs and hence not meet business goals.

Fortunately, we have evolved from those days and now we are all familiar with agile and lean development. However, despite the new push towards agile, in the tech industry, we often see…


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The approach

At Sparrow Ventures, we follow a very detailed venture building process, where we validate numerous business models in the Seed Stage with the objective to bring several ventures into the Growth Stage each year. If they meet the criteria to progress to the Growth Stage, they receive funding and have the chance to become a fast-growing and successful startup within our portfolio.

During this venture building process, we follow a lean and data-driven approach, where we validate the most important angles of the specific business models. …


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Anja, Venture Architect @ Sparrow Ventures

Be an employee or be an entrepreneur? Many talents would like to go ahead and found their own business and also have the capability to do so, however taking one step further to do so is a big decision. Being an entrepreneur, you will enjoy the freedom to work in the way you prefer and do what you love and make success that you own.

However, as an entrepreneur, it’s hard to avoid the financial pressure, lack of resources or manpower, instability and certain degrees of isolation. If there is a third option, to have all the support and financial…

Sparrow Ventures

Building kick-ass ventures and investing in promising start-ups as part of Migros. Based in Zurich — CH.

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