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WE OFFER
FINANCIAL SUPPORT

FONGIT supports innovative startups at different stages of their journey with
3 types of financing options.

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NEW FIF DEADLINE

March 13th 2024

FONGIT INNOVATION FUND (FIF)

FIF Supporters

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The FONGIT Innovation Fund (FIF) can provide financing for your startup in Switzerland.

 

The FIF aims to accelerate innovation processes within Universities, Hautes Ecoles and other Geneva-based research institutions, within startups, scale-ups, and SMEs experiencing rapid growth in a technological environment. The FIF focuses on any technological innovation that has a positive impact on people and the planet.

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Fongit Grant

CHF 50k

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Fongit Seed

CHF 100k

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Fongit Growth

CHF 400k

FIF GRANT

Amount

 up to CHF 50,000 

Pre-conditions

 Clear intention to create an enterprise that has a positive impact on people and the planet.

Beneficiary

Scientific research project developed at a Geneva University or a local research institution with the objective of launching a new product, process or service addressing a real economic or social need with a proven potential market.

FIF SEED LOAN

Amount

  up to CHF 100,000 

Pre-conditions

 POC (Proof of Concept) available, developments supported by intellectual property proving the technological and/or scientific feasibility. Has a positive impact on people and the planet.

Beneficiary

 Geneva-based high tech companies in the seed stage - in particular startups with an innovative product or service addressing a real market need.

 The company must have registered in the Canton of Geneva no more than three years ago.

FIF GROWTH LOAN

Amount

 up to CHF 400,000

Pre-conditions

 Fast-growing turnover, has a positive impact on people and the planet.

Beneficiary

 Geneva-registered SMEs developing  high tech innovations, seeking to accelerate their business development and/or experiencing digital transformation.

 The company must be registered in the Canton of Geneva.

Financial conditions

 Grants are allocated to the project leader with a reimbursement clause in case of success. Grant cannot be used as founding capital to set up a company.

Financial conditions

 Seed Loan cannot be greater than 70% of the total funding round which must also be financed by existing or new shareholders. Reimbursement through conversion into equity during the next meaningful funding round.

Financial conditions

 Growth Loan cannot be greater than 50% of the total budget/funding round which must also be financed by the company or third party funds. Reimbursement within 5 years - also possible earlier through conversion into equity. Interests amounting to the SARON+2.5%.

Grants and loans

APPLICATION

FIF GRANT

FIF SEED

FIF GROWTH

Your early-stage project needs financial support to transition from research institution to creating a new company.

Your seed stage company needs extra financial support to hit an eager market.

Your expanding company needs extra financial investment to support its fast-paced growth.

Finance application

What is the FIF?

Qu'est-ce que le FIF ?

  • What is FONGIT?
    FONGIT, the “Fondation Genevoise pour l’Innovation Technologique” is The Innovation Platform. We support entrepreneurs with the expertise, resources and financing they need in transforming innovative ideas into sustainable companies. Established in 1991, we are a private, non-profit foundation supported by the State of Geneva. Our mission is to de-risk the entrepreneurial journey, transforming innovation into economic and social value. We currently support over 170 startups who are active in ICT, Advanced Engineering, and Life Sciences.
  • What is the goal of FONGIT's support programs?
    FONGIT's programs are designed to support your journey of transforming an idea or technology into a viable product, taking you to the first rounds of funding. Our objective is to shape and de-risk your project and raise your valuation as fast as possible by achieving smart value inflection points. We support for 3 years and our startups often interact with us on a regular basis even after they have left our premises. Examples of how we have helped entrepreneurs include: • setting up the company • preparing the full pitch • creating product market fit & finding commercial partners • improving the business model • developing the financial plan and defining the fund raising strategy • negotiating term sheets.
  • What are FONGIT's 3 support programs?
    FONGIT offers 3 support programs: Innovation Initiation, Startup Support, and the FONGIT Innovation Fund (FIF). Innovation Initiation is designed for early stage, projects which need shaping and de-risking before deciding to launch the startup. Our Startup Support program is for more advanced, deep tech projects where the company is ready for foundation, or is already founded, and has a full pitch deck and engaged team. Many of the top Swiss startups have progressed from initiation to full support in their path to success. The FONGIT Innovation Fund (FIF) provides 3 types of financial support: FIF Grant, FIF Seed and FIF Growth. If you are solely looking for financial support for your project, you can read more about the FIF here: FONGIT Innovation Fund.
  • What support is included in Innovation Initiation?
    During Innovation Initiation, FONGIT offers a cycle of 3 coaching meetings with an innovation coach, which will be preceded by a gap analysis meeting. Your innovation coach will support you in shaping and de-risking your project, as well as to prioritize your activities for maximum impact in terms of value creation. The goal will be to upgrade your value proposition that is validated by stakeholder insights, with the deliverables of an updated written elevator pitch, and a corresponding executive pitch. Each cycle of Innovation Initiation support will be finalized in the 3rd coaching meeting with your coach to decide with you if you are either: ready to complete the program, ready to proceed to “initial startup support”, or should be awarded another cycle of Innovation Initiation support During this period of Innovation Initiation, you will gain access to FONGIT workshops and networking events. These include opportunities to perfect your pitch, attend workshops given by startup thought leaders, and connect with the full startup ecosystem. You will have the possibility to work at FONGIT’s HQ during office hours, and to use a desk in our “nomad” co-working space. This will provide you the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs, and gain insights from their experiences. We encourage you to be present at least one day per week. Innovation Initiation support is offered to you free of charge. You can apply for this support on our application platform.
  • What is included in startup support?
    During initial startup support, FONGIT will provide you with intensive startup coaching. Over a 10-week period, your startup coach will help you upgrade your strategy and pitch deck, evaluate your needs and prioritize them for maximum impact in terms of de-risking and value creation. You will have the possibility to work at FONGIT’s HQ during office hours, and to use a desk in our “nomad” co-working space. This will provide you the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs, and gain insights from their experiences. We encourage you to be present at least one day per week. You will also gain access to FONGIT workshops and networking events. This initial startup support process is offered to you free of charge. It will be followed by a meeting between us to decide whether to proceed to full startup support. If we both decide to proceed to full startup support, a bespoke program will be tailored to your needs according to terms and conditions to be agreed upon. You can apply for this support on our application platform.
  • What is full startup support?
    Full startup support is the next step after Initial Support. Startups that are accepted for full support can benefit from modules including coaching, hosting, administration, accounting, legal, IP, regulatory, and also financial support.
  • Which program should I apply to?
    If you want all round support – just apply here. Our selection committee will guide you to the optimal program. Since this support adds value to your project, it makes sense to have some coaching to perfect your pitch deck before applying for the FONGIT Innovation Fund. If you're only interested in financial support, then check your eligibility for the FONGIT Innovation Fund here.
  • How much does FONGIT support cost?
    Innovation Initiation and the Initial Startup Support are both provided free of charge. If we both decide to proceed to Full Startup Support, a bespoke program will be tailored to your needs according to terms and conditions to be agreed upon.
  • What are the requirements to join FONGIT?
    We have slightly different criteria for each of our programs: For Innovation Initiation: we are looking for early stage, high impact, and/or deep tech projects, with high potential. We will help the innovator to shape and derisk their project, connect them with our innovation nation, and build a compelling value proposition and pitch deck. For Startup Support: We are looking for more mature, deep tech projects and fully committed teams. A prototype and IP should exist, as well as a pitch deck. You can apply for both of these instruments on our application platform. The requirements for the FONGIT Innovation Fund are provided here.
  • Is it difficult to complete the application form?
    If you already have a pitch deck, it should only take you 15 minutes. We understand that your innovation project is evolving rapidly, so don’t worry if everything is not perfect. The sooner you apply, the sooner we can start helping you.
  • How does FONGIT evaluate projects?
    We look comprehensively at the novelty, potential and maturity of your venture. The screening process takes up to 3 weeks. You must first apply via our application platform. After the review of your application file, we invite you for a formal presentation to our screening committee. Together, we explore how we can support you best, and assess if your project is best served by one of our programs. If your project does not fit in our programs, we will redirect you to other programs and support tools.
  • How mature do we need to be before we apply?
    We accept applications from teams that are at various stages of maturity. Some have simply a new technical invention, while others are almost ready to incorporate their company, and some are incorporated and revenue generating. Our support programs has added value to companies in each of these stages.
  • We've already been working on our startup for a while. Is FONGIT appropriate for us?
    We have supported startups at all stages of their growth. We are positive that we can provide value to any innovative startup.
  • Can you help us set up our company?
    Yes – we help set up several companies per year. We provide all the legal documentation necessary to set up a startup right. We put you in contact with experienced lawyers and notaries who provide a package to startups. This will save you time and effort!
  • Do I have to be in Geneva to participate?
    We accept applications from all over the globe. To participate in the program, however, you need to come and be a part of our community. We can help you to incorporate your venture in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Can you share some success stories or exits?
    Our startups have raised over CHF 750 M, and launched 100s of innovative products and services. More than 10 Fongit startups have had successful M&A exits in the past ten years and many more keep developing, providing sustainable economic and social value for Geneva. You can read more about them here. Their success rate is much higher than that of non-supported companies!
  • What level of commitment do you expect from entrepreneurs?
    Projects in Innovation Initiation are at a preliminary stage of shaping and evaluation, and as such, some of our entrepreneurs are working part-time or completing their research. For our Startup Support program, we are looking for teams where the founders are committed to growing the business. If you are currently part-time, we understand the dilemma of starting a business while having a family and bills to pay. We help you to evaluate your options, de-risk it, and grow at your own pace. Acceptance into one of our programs can be just the encouragement you need to jump into it at full strength!
  • Do you accept single founders?
    We do and we strongly support single founders to build a strong team.
  • Will you sign a Secrecy Agreement?
    The policy we have is not to sign NDAs for first meetings. The reasons are simple: (i) we review many companies during the year and do not want to risk any conflict by signing NDAs too soon; (ii) we are a foundation financed by the State of Geneva therefore we comply with confidentiality rules as part of everyday business. As such, in your application please provide us with all the possible information you can, without entering in any breach of confidentiality. All the verbal and written information will be exchanged in full confidence.
  • Do I have to stay in Geneva after the program?
    The majority of our companies choose to remain headquartered in Geneva as they find that our region provides compelling business incentives & opportunities.
  • Can FONGIT get us work visas?
    If you are not eligible to work and live in Switzerland, unfortunately we are unable to help. If you know people from previous companies who came from outside Switzerland, we suggest you ask them for advice.
  • Does FONGIT help in fundraising?
    Our coaching helps startups prepare for fundraising and design a smart financing strategy. Our process has enabled our startups and alumni to raise over CHF 750 M. We coach you in preparing a crisp elevator pitch, an investor pitch deck, a succinct executive summary, realistic financials and a reasonable valuation. After this we can recommend non-dilutive funding, smart angel investors, institutional funds, corporate venture capitalists and VCs.
  • We've already taken some funding. Can we still apply?
    Yes, indeed!
  • How much funding do you provide?
    FONGIT can provide seed capital to supported startups. A total of CHF 150K can be invested per supported company. This investment is made in tranches, that are milestone-dependant and matched by funds from independent, accredited investors. NOTE: FONGIT also offers several additional financing tools, most importantly the FONGIT Innovation Fund. If you are only interested in financial support, then check your eligibility for the FIF.

FUNDING FAQ

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