To ensure direct interaction with leading industry experts, the number of participating companies was limited to 15 scale-ups and SMEs. These companies were selected based on various criteria, such as management commitment, IPO maturity, track record, valuation, attractiveness of the business model/equity story as well as the likelihood of an IPO on SIX Swiss Exchange in the next 12-36 months. There was also a focus on diversity and an attempt was made to include companies from various sectors and regions across Switzerland. This year was also the first time that a company from outside of Switzerland took part.
Structure and content of the program
The exclusive six-month training program, which started with a kick-off event in November and ended with a two-day closing event in May, included eight online sessions and was supplemented with two additional in-person events compared to the first edition. On 9 February 2023, the participating companies got the chance to present their equity story and exchange ideas during speed dating session with public small-cap investors at the investors roundtable event, and on 30 March, a learning event on the topic of financial IPO readiness took place, followed by a networking aperitif in the Clouds Bar.
The program was optimized and taken to the next level. However, the core of the learning content was not changed too much and the companies were trained on topics in the areas of good corporate governance, legal matters and financial IPO readiness. Furthermore, there was a clear focus on how to create and communicate a successful public equity story, how to prepare a listing prospectus and what other rules there are to follow as a listed company.
How we stay in touch
Starting next year, the companies will be invited to an annual alumni event at which, in addition to the networking part, relevant IPO knowledge will be imparted and refreshed. In addition, we have launched another initiative, the Mentoring Pool, which enables alumni to get in touch with the partners of the Sparks ecosystem beyond the Academy and to benefit from free initial meetings. This allows us to build and maintain an attractive IPO pipeline for SIX Swiss Exchange with promising companies for the coming years.
What happens next
One month after the conclusion of the second round, the planning of the third Sparks IPO Academy has now begun. We have already received various applications from interested companies, which is very pleasing. Companies have the opportunity to register for the next program via this link. The final selection will take place towards the end of September, after the Top 100 Swiss Startup Awards and about a month before the start of the next Sparks IPO Academy 2023/24.