Program Description

The Sparks IPO Academy has been predominantly designed for executives of Switzerland’s high-potential, fast-growing SMEs. This fast-track program prepares and equips scale-ups for a potential IPO on the Swiss stock exchange’s Sparks segment. It has been jointly developed with the leading capital market specialists in Switzerland.

Throughout the IPO Academy, full discretion will be exercised and the names of the participating companies will only be published with their consent.

Previous and current participants span sectors from robotics, to medtech, biotech, industrials, and fintech, and include several former Winners and Runners-up of the Top 100 Swiss Startup Award.

Benefits

The number of participants is limited, which makes it possible to directly interact with renowned industry experts and expand your network in the Swiss capital market ecosystem. In addition, you will benefit from the following: 

Gain certainty on whether an IPO optimizes the value of your SME.

Connect with key capital market specialists to assess whether an IPO is the right next step for your SME.

Know your next steps.

Whether an IPO is on your roadmap or whether you want to give your SME the ability to rapidly execute an IPO when the time is right, we have your individual needs covered.

Understand how to optimize the success of your IPO.

Learn the secrets of maximizing the impact of your IPO – our partners have decades of experience and have played key roles in IPOs during that time.

We were very happy and honored to be part of this first Sparks IPO Academy. For me as entrepreneur and CFO, it is important to explore all options that can take the company forward. At the Sparks IPO Academy, I learned that an IPO and such IPO on the Swiss Exchange could be one such option for us. Especially the direct and continuous access to growth capital on the public markets could enable us to achieve our business goals more efficiently in the future and to take our company to the next level. Personally, I look back on a valuable learning journey with top-class speakers and I also appreciated the exchange with our peers.

Martin Bott, CFO at Bioversys

Taking a company to the public market requires thorough preparation, a process that begins well ahead of the initial public offering. The Sparks IPO Academy guided us step-by-step through the process, emphasizing key elements and potential pitfalls. In retrospect, I can say that it is an instructive and valuable path that has brought my company forward in many aspects. By starting to make adjustments as early as possible, even if only small ones, we can speed up the going public whenever the right time for this next step will come.

Sebastien Tondeur, CEO at MCI Group

The Swiss venture ecosystem has grown tremendously over the past decade and has enabled numerous business ideas to be tested and products/services ultimately to be commercialized. The result is that we are now gifted with more scale-ups than at any other period in time. The many household names participating in the Sparks Academy show that the growth advantages of public markets continue to be valuable for these twenty-first century scale-ups.

Dr. iur. Alex Nikitine, Partner at Walder Wyss

With the startup ecosystem maturing so fast in Switzerland, we are excited to see that public markets are now ready to offer fast-growing companies new ways to raise capital, strengthen credibility, and offer liquidity to shareholders. This is highlighting the fact that Switzerland is not only an incredibly efficient incubator to launch new innovative startups, but that it is also able to accompany them in their scaling-up as they conquer the world.

Patrick Thévoz, CEO and Co-Founder of Flyability

By facilitating the access to capital markets, Sparks fills a void in the Swiss SME and scale-up landscape. With its less onerous listing requirements, the new segment caters to the needs of enterprises that reach an inflection point—seeking access to public equity investors to support their growth ambitions. The Sparks IPO Academy aims to demystify the process of going public, based on real-life case studies featuring recent precedents, enabling founders and entrepreneurs eyeing an IPO to navigate stumbling blocks and areas of focus on their way to the trading floor.

Lorenzo Togni, Partner at Homburger AG

Bringing SMEs to the public market requires a different skillset and investor base. But investor appetite for smaller scale-ups with growth ambitions and strong equity stories is there. So contrary to popular wisdom, smaller market capitalizations and free floats do not exclude companies from joining public markets. The IPO of Poenina is a case in point.

Dr. Andreas Neumann, Head Equity Capital Markets, Zürcher Kantonalbank

I have personally already gone through the IPO process in a previous life. And I can say with absolute conviction that it makes your company stronger, even if you don’t end up going public. The ‘Sparks Academy’ should therefore not only be seen through the lens of helping us in assessing whether going public is the right and feasible next step, but also as potentially bettering our businesses. Our first day in the program absolutely supports this view.

Michele Bomio, CFO of Securecell

The transformation process from a privately held to a publicly listed company is truly a metamorphosis — a series of planned, pervasive changes undertaken to achieve long-term objectives. Participating in the ‘Sparks IPO Academy’ is a first step in order to understand whether the growth benefits that public markets promise, such as ‘faster and more efficient capital raising’ or ‘access to more robust capital sources,’ are available for your company and to get ready for this exciting journey.

Tobias Meyer, Partner at EY

Public markets offer growth advantages that could be valuable for many scale-ups, from simplifying capital raising, to accessing robust financing channels that have recently allowed record levels of capital to be raised during the early months of the COVID crisis. Unfortunately, many of us are barred today from accessing these benefits because we are too small for the large investors that still dominate IPOs. We need a radical rethink in how shares are allocated in IPOs, similar to what has happened in foreign markets. The Sparks Academy makes me optimistic that established players are changing -- and if they don’t, I am convinced that a fintech will do to the IPO process what Swissquote did for trading twenty years ago.

Ben James, Group CEO of Tradeplus24

Some of the Companies That Benefit from the Program:

Structure

The training program is structured in three phases and extends over a period of six months. The Academy is set up so that it is compatible with entrepreneurs’ busy schedules. 

Seminar Topics

Each module will be presented by renowned industry experts of the relevant subject. This maximizes your learning and optimally strengthens your network. You can find more details on what will be covered in each of module below.

Costs and Time Expenditure

Snacks, meals and after-work drinks are of course offered. But the participants must themselves cover the costs for their accommodation during the two-day event in May as well as their travel and insurance costs.

Application Requirements

The program is aimed at C-level representatives1 of fast-growing SMEs

  • which want to get ready for public capital markets with the ambition of financing further growth.
  • where an IPO on Sparks is a likely scenario in the short-/mid-term.
  • which were founded over two years ago.

1 C-level commitment is expected for the entire duration of the training program.

Application Process 2022/2023

In order to ensure the high level of exclusivity of this training program, the number of companies admitted is limited to 15 every year, while five companies are nominated each year by Venturelab out of its Top 100 Startup Ecosystem.

The participants of the seminar are selected by the end of September of every given year. Admission is based among others on the above criteria and on the receipt of applications.

How Going Public Helps Your SME

By listing on the Swiss Stock Exchange, you ensure you go public in the most efficient way possible. Get your personalized advice from our experts.

Program Partners

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