Start-up Study 2023: The Value of Recruiting for Founders and Recruiters

The start-up ecosystem is a vital component of the Swiss economy, driving innovation and economic growth. While Switzerland's start-up scene has seen significant growth in capital investment over the past decade, it still doesn't rank among the top global ecosystems. However, the landscape is rapidly evolving, and understanding its current challenges for all stakeholders involved. For example, the 2023 Start-up Study reports that 46% of Swiss startups struggle to recruit the right talent in the Swiss ICT labor market.

Key Insights from the Start-up Study 2023:

Dynamic Growth: The Swiss start-up scene has witnessed considerable growth in invested capital over the past decade, indicating a thriving ecosystem. For example, in 2022, start-ups in the Canton of Zurich attracted more than CHF 2.1 billion in investments, encompassing more than half of Switzerland’s total investment volume.

Growing Support Systems for Swiss Startups: Credit Suisse, recognizing the potential of Swiss start-ups, initiated a start-up support program in 2021. This initiative aims to provide start-ups with a range of services, from debt and equity financing to networking opportunities. The bank has established a network of 45 experts across Switzerland, organized into four start-up hubs. These hubs focus on fostering start-up communities, sharing market expertise, and organizing events to support start-ups and investors. Similarly, SICTIC, co-author of the Swiss Startup Report 2023, offers networking and investment opportunities for Swiss startups.

Recruitment difficulties: A major Concern for Swiss Start-ups

Recruiting the Right Talent: While there's abundant data on funding and financing rounds for start-ups, there's limited information on the current actually challenges they face. For example, one of the most crucial challenge that Swiss startups are facing is a significant shortage of qualified workers, with 46% struggling to find suitable candidates on the Swiss labor market. Recruiting foreign personnel poses additional challenges, especially when it comes to the recruitment of people from nonEU/EFTA countries. It is therefore not surprising that most start-up founders support the idea of a start-up visa. 

The Value of External Recruiters for Start-ups:

One of the significant challenges repeatedly highlighted in the study is the difficulty start-ups face in recruiting the right talent. This is where specialized tech recruiting agencies like Rockstar Recruiting AG come into play.

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Focus on Core Strengths: Founders are visionaries, innovators, and disruptors. Their primary focus should be on building their dream companies and disrupting markets. By partnering with cost-efficient recruiters, founders can delegate the recruitment process, ensuring they attract the best talent without diverting their attention from core business activities. If done right, an external tech recruitment agency has exactly the right incentives to deliver the best talent in the market that is available.

Costs and Opportunity Costs: Founders who juggle between fundraising, attending recruiting fairs, and other operational tasks experience significant opportunity costs. By offloading the recruitment process to experts, they can optimize their time and resources, leading to faster growth and market penetration. When comparing total cost of recruitment, an internal Talent Acquisition team or hire can lead to costs that are much higher than a specialized recruitment agency that only is paid if the perfect candidate has been found and hired.

Speed: Compared to founders recruiting themselves - or relying on job boards alone, a specialized tech recruiting agency can help to win talent faster. A crucial advantages, especially for (pre-seed) startups that have ambitious roadmaps and timelines. Here, a time-based mandate can be an ideal setup to ensure a timely delivery of suitable candidates by a tech recruiting agency.

Winning Top Talent: Specialized recruiters are deeply routed within the (deep tech) community. They also have the expertise, talent pool, and tools to identify and attract top talent that aligns with a start-up's vision and culture. This ensures that start-ups have the right team in place to drive their mission forward. In addition, it is cost-efficient since they are present at industry/tech events, so that you don't have to bear the costs, time and material to sponsor and attend all those industry conferences yourself.

Here at Rockstar Recruiting AG (, we are 100% committed to the startup/scale-up ecosystem and offer flexible solutions: Special conditions for startups, zero-risk success-based recruitment, try & hire models, equity/crypto-based compensation are just some of the best practice models that we follow when working together with startups. Please contact us to learn more about our startup conditions and offerings.

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Dr. sc. ETH Zurich Klaus L. Fuchs

Co-founder 78 246 48 46

I am a Co-founder of Rockstar Recruiting, where we re-invent tech recruiting. Having affiliations with ETH Zurich & University of St. Gallen, I understand the exciting opportunities that exist when research & industry work together. Let's connect!