The Top 25: Dominique Mégret, Swisscom Ventures

In 2005, Dominique Mégret started Swisscom Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of telecoms firm Swisscom, an early-stage fund that runs on an evergreen model where returns are reinvested in new portfolio companies.

Mégret has been instrumental in the creation of a global network of information and communication technology corporate venturers and, in July last year, a SFr200m ($199m) external fund called the Digital Transformation Fund was raised.

The new fund, to which Swisscom committed about $50m and included an oversubscribed offering to third-party investors, will co-invest alongside Swisscom Ventures III fund. It will target early to later-stage companies mainly from on Switzerland, but also eyeing the US, Europe and Israel.

Swisscom Ventures has already invested in about 60 startups resulting in 25 exits, including the sale of Switzerland-based business software provider Bexio for a reported $110m in July last year.

Other Swisscom deals which resulted in exits include:

  • US-based tradeshow promotional material generator Poken which was acquired by show services provider GES in March 2017.
  • US-based high-speed wifi chip maker Quantenna which went public in October 2016.
  • France-based fixed and mobile semiconductors provider Sequans which went public in April 2011.

Most recent investments by the unit include:

  • leading a series A round for Sweden-based automated troubleshooting software developer Netrounds in January 2019.
  • co-leading a Sfr2.75m ($2.74m) seed round for Switzerland-based artificial intelligence-empowered clinical diagnostics technology developer Scailyte in December 2018.
  • co-leading a $11m series B round for autonomous inspection drone producer Flyability in November 2018.
  • co-leading a $6m series A round for US-based cloud-based networking infrastructure developer Rtbrick in October 2018.

Regarding Swisscom Ventures’ investment thesis, Mégret told Global Corporate Venturing in an interview held in September 2016: “We invest in core telecoms and IT services, in technology that will emerge in that space and transform our business within the next three years.

“We also invest in technologies that manage customers and improve customer experience. Then we try to discover new areas of growth which will emerge within the next three to five years for Swisscom.

“That is why we have been taking some bets in areas which seem, at this point, remote but are getting closer to the core business of Swisscom, such as e-health, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, wearables and even fintech.

“So, overall about half our investments are important new technologies bringing efficiencies to our industry, while the other half consists of technologies that will or may become important to us, thus giving us differentiation in the broad customer management and experience field.”

Initially, Mégret joined Swisscom in 2002 as head of the group strategy department, a role he held for two years before he went on to create of the corporate venturing unit.

Before that, Mégret was an entrepreneur in the UK, strategy consultant in the European telecoms industry and country manager for an IT company in Germany. He co-founded venture firm Kick-Start Ventures.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the European Partnership of Business Schools and an MBA from Insead.