Showing the impact of funding with figures

For the last 20 years, Gebert Rüf Stiftung has been providing risk capital in the form of targeted initial funding and making projects eligible for follow-up sponsorship. In certain cases it will support projects through to the consolidation phase and until they achieve financial independence. Gebert Rüf Stiftung is currently supporting and monitoring 169 projects – with varying levels of funding and coaching. Since the foundation's inception, with CHF 192 million almost 950 projects have been approved for support, 770 of which are now closed.


Since it was established, Gebert Rüf Stiftung has released a total of CHF 210 million in funding, CHF 192 million of which has been invested in direct project support (as at 31.12.2017). The annual funding volume developed as follows:


Providing fresh impetus

Gebert Rüf Stiftung sees it as its task to take risks and provide financing in order to help businesses get off the ground. By supporting projects with a clear identity, it strives for measurable leverage. It positions itself in the long-familiar funding gap known as the "valley of death", where the funding chain breaks down for many innovative projects, no more basic research funding is available and venture capital is not yet accessible.

Thanks to its flexible support strategy, Gebert Rüf Stiftung is able to provide research with fresh impetus where government support bodies leave gaps due to an institutional aversion to risks. Under its areas of activity, Gebert Rüf Stiftung regularly launches new themes. Success is ensured if these themes become sustainably embedded in the funding landscape.

Showing impact

After 20 years of funding activity from 1998-2018, it is now time for the foundation to take stock of the results and impact of its funding among all its partners in relation to the foundation’s core criteria: Gap function, Effectiveness, Trigger.

The following summary is a synthesis of the evaluation of approximately 70% of all finished projects. Projects covering specific areas of activity were evaluated separately and as a whole.

  • Gap function: 94% of projects closed a critical gap in terms of innovation/start-up momentum; 70% of which in terms of innovation, 78% in terms of start-up momentum.
  • Effectiveness: 82% of projects had an impact; 66% of the projects resulted in a product and 30% in the launch of a startup.
  • Trigger: 75% of projects helped trigger a partnership: with industry (47%), service providers (33%) and the public sector (67%).
  • Leverage effect: The projects financed by the foundation with total investment of CHF 200 million were able to trigger further funding totalling CHF 4,000 million.

Funding based on area of activity

Gebert Rüf Stiftung’s areas of activity address different funding priorities which are periodically redefined. The following selection of closed areas of activity shows the impact of a support strategy based on areas of activity:

"NETS": New Entrepreneurs in Technology and Science, 1999–2005

The NETS – New Entrepreneurs in Technology and Science programme was launched by Gebert Rüf Stiftung in 1999 and was a unique entrepreneurship training programme for young knowledge-based entrepreneurs at Swiss universities. In 2006, due to the success of NETS, the National Entrepreneurship Training programme was launched by the Swiss Federal Government’s Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI)/Innosuisse. In 2007, GRS launched the follow-on programme Venture Kick, still a very successful initiative today.


"Rare Diseases": researching rare diseases for the direct benefit of patients, 2009-2014

With the goal of developing diagnostics and drugs for treating rare diseases, in 2009 Gebert Rüf Stiftung launched a corresponding area of activity: Rare Diseases – New Approaches. Some 332 projects were submitted during the 6-year period; of these, 31 were accepted with a total budget of CHF 12.3 million. Almost half of these projects have achieved a diagnostic or therapeutic success.
During this time, significant successes were achieved at many levels. The development of an urgently needed National Rare Disease Policy has been launched by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and prepared for implementation. The Swiss National Science Foundation joined the E-Rare network with its transnational call for funding multinational research projects in the field of “Innovative Therapeutic Approaches for Rare Diseases”. The umbrella organisation ProRaris was founded in 2010.