Fotokite - "unleashed" tethered drones

The tethered drones from Zurich-based tech start-up Fotokite are used by fire brigades and police forces around the world. This success is the result of tireless teamwork. With fresh capital, the Swisscanto Growth Fund portfolio company is now rising to the next level.

Fotokite CEO Bart Slager launches a drone. Nils Granath (left) and Oliver Huggenberger (right), both from the private equity team at Zürcher Kantonalbank Asset Management.

Patented technology, a scalable business model, a team with optimally complementary skills and the necessary capital - that is the mixture for successful company growth. This fully applies to the ETH spin-off founded in 2014. Its wired flying robots, also known as tethered drones, now support rescue missions on all continents and demand continues to rise.

Excerpt from a promotional video by Fotokite (source:

The company recently secured additional growth capital of around 10 million Swiss francs. The Swisscanto Growth Fund joined as an investor in 2021 and also participated again in the current financing round. Zürcher Kantonalbank has held a stake in the start-up since 2018. The fresh capital will enable Fotokite to expand its customer base in the public safety sector, invest in research and development and capitalise on new market opportunities.

With help and advice

The milestone that has now been reached is the result of constructive interaction between Fotokite's management team, investors and the Board of Directors. This team has also guided Fotokite through turbulent phases characterised by challenges in the areas of management and market orientation. Nils Granath, Senior Investment Director, and Oliver Huggenberger, Deputy Head of Private Equity, have made a significant contribution to Fotokite's continued success with their expertise and personal commitment to the Board of Directors.

Flight lasting over 900 hours

The drones are manufactured locally at a supplier's production facility in Hombrechtikon ZH. The drone, which weighs just 1200 grams, is controlled via a tablet and can be launched at the touch of a button within 15 seconds. It can fly at altitudes of up to 45 metres - even in rain, snow and wind speeds of up to 45 km/h.


Thanks to the patented cable control technology, neither a drone pilot license nor a flight permit or GPS are required for operation. The simplicity and reliability of the drone is crucial for emergency teams, who are often under great pressure and whose success can make the difference between human life and death.


Power is supplied by cable. This guarantees uninterrupted flight operations until the end of the mission. In tests, flight times of over 900 hours were achieved - without the motors overheating. The drones are equipped with thermal imaging and RGB cameras and are therefore particularly suitable for various rescue and surveillance missions. This means that large areas can be optimally monitored not only during the day, but also at night.


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.

The fund is aimed exclusively at qualified investors with a medium to long-term investment horizon and a suitability for illiquid investments. The target return is 10 to 12 percent per year. The subscription period for the fund is concluded with a total volume of CHF 180 million. Follow-up programmes are being planned. Further information on Zürcher Kantonalbank’s current private equity offering can be found here.


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