«CO2-detectives» and «robotic dogs» made in Zurich

The Swisscanto Growth Fund is now investing in two high-tech companies from Zurich. Their innovative solutions help to save greenhouse gases and alleviate the shortage of skilled workers.

Detecting gas leaks with Distran's ultrasonic camera (Image: Distran).

The Swisscanto Growth Fund has become a lead investor of Distran. Distran's sensors can detect gas leaks up to ten times faster than conventional methods. The company thus makes a direct contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With its technology, Distran aims to save more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2026. This is equivalent to the volume of greenhouse gases emitted by around 21 million cars annually.

«We were impressed by the ambitious team of founders, the multi-patented technology and the excellent economic outlook,» says Nils Granath, Senior Investment Director for the Swisscanto Growth Fund. He will also sit on Distran's Board of Directors.

Distran has produced a video on the round of funding.

The Zurich-based ETH spin-off develops ultrasonic cameras. These are equipped with 124 microphones, which acoustically register the smallest leakages from gas lines, for example. The noises in the ultrasonic range are then visualised on the camera image. These Distran "super ears" are even used on a NASA space mission. Their job is to detect leaks in the space capsule at an early stage. In May 2023, the company received funding from the federal government as part of the Swiss Accelerator programme for its great innovation.

The ultrasound camera is equipped with 124 microphones.

Zürcher Kantonalbank's Start-Up Finance department is also participating in the round of funding totalling CHF 10.8 million. The bank has been an investor since the beginning and already participated in the 2017 funding round. Oliver Huggenberger, now Senior Investment Manager for the Swisscanto Growth Fund, can still clearly recall the initial meeting: «When we met the founding team for the first time six years ago, the product was still in the prototype stage. This included a wired battery that had to be carried in a backpack.» Huggenberger will sit on Distran's Board of Directors as observer. Michelle Tschumi, Head of Start-Up Finance at Zürcher Kantonalbank, adds: «The high-tech device's further development to market maturity is tremendously impressive. The fact that Swisscanto is now taking on a leading role in financing the upcoming expansion phase confirms our bank's strong commitment to Swiss start-ups.»

(From left to right: Oliver Huggenberger, Senior Investment Manager; Joël Busset, CTO and co-founder of Distran; Florian Perrodin, CEO and co-founder of Distran; and Nils Granath, Senior Investment Director).

ANYbotics – robots on patrol

The second new investment is made in ANYbotics. The Swisscanto Growth Fund recently entered the Series B funding round. Spearheaded by internationally renowned lead investors, the company has raised a total of around USD 50 million.

ANYbotics has produced a video on the round of funding.

The ETH spin-off and growth company, which is also domiciled in Zurich, manufactures autonomous legged robots. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the high-tech machines, known as "ANYmals", are constantly learning and can find their way around the environment without additional aids. Resembling dogs, the robots are able to handle important routine inspection patrols independently in potentially dangerous locations such as offshore oil platforms, mines or production halls. This was usually done by engineers before. The four-legged robots thus help to improve the safety of industrial employees and soften the impact of the increasing shortage of skilled workers.

(From left to right: Andrea Timperi, engineer at ANYbotics; Nils Granath, Senior Investment Director; and Oliver Huggenberger, Senior Investment Manager).

About the Swisscanto Growth Fund

The Swisscanto Growth Fund has so far invested in 18 promising Swiss and international growth companies. Three of them have achieved a successful exit.

Swisscanto (CH) Private Equity Switzerland Growth I KmGK, or Swisscanto Growth Fund for short, invests in unlisted growth companies. The focus lies on companies with innovative technologies and business models in the areas of information and data services, industry and health. It is envisaged that around 70 to 80 percent of investments will be made within Switzerland. This makes the Swisscanto Growth Fund one of the first investment vehicles under the Swiss Collective Investment Schemes Act (CISA) to concentrate primarily on financing Swiss growth companies in the expansion phase.

Legal notices: This information is intended exclusively for qualified investors according to CISA, is for information and advertising purposes and does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to acquire, hold or sell financial instruments or to purchase products or services. The subscription period has expired, meaning that this limited partnership is not open to subscription for collective capital investments.


Private Equity