Jan Lederhausen from UBS together with young entrepreneur Sergio Studer from Carify.

The two young entrepreneurs Sergio Studer and Raffael Fiechter set themselves an ambitious goal when they founded their company Carify: Their start-up should be in the black after only four years. It quickly became clear that they could only achieve this goal with a strong partner. This is where UBS came into the picture: we referred investors to Carify and provided them with a growth loan.

Good prospects in the mobility sector

With Carify, Studer and Fiechter offer a service that is ever more popular. Instead of buying or leasing cars, customers purchase a flat-rate car subscription. “The advantage of the subscription is flexibility,” Studer says. “In contrast to leasing, vehicles can be rented for a few weeks or months.”

Business economist Studer and lawyer Fiechter got to know each other at their former employer. There, they decided to set up a company and saw the mobility industry as a good prospect for developing new digital offerings.

Today, Carify has several thousand subscribers. Unlike most competitors on the market, Carify does not own any of its own cars. The company acts as an intermediary, with over 1,000 cars on its online platform. The Carify subscription vehicles belong to a network of over 450 garages, importers and car manufacturers. The start-up has developed its own subscription solutions for Porsche and BMW – and another well-known brand is to be added soon.

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UBS supports the young company

Even though this business model is less capital-intensive than those of competitors with their own vehicle fleets, a young company with 30 employees that wants to grow is dependent on additional capital. The two start-up entrepreneurs were supported by UBS Growth Advisory, a team of specialists in questions of financing for start-ups. Since 2015, UBS has acted as an intermediary between investors and innovative, capital-seeking Swiss start-ups. “In this way, we combine the needs of two client groups,” says Jan Lederhausen, transaction manager at UBS Growth Advisory.

UBS became aware of Carify in 2021 when the start-up made it to the finals of the SEF.Award from the Swiss Economic Forum (SEF), Switzerland’s most important prize for young entrepreneurs. “At that time, we’d already been awarded the SEF.Growth High Potential Label,” says Studer. As a founding partner of SEF.Growth Initiative, UBS supports the Swiss young entrepreneur scene and offers tailor-made credit solutions to companies with this award. “Of course we found it cool that UBS came directly to us.”

The network for entrepreneurs

UBS does not just support entrepreneurs with our financial services, but also with an extensive network. In this way, we provide clients with access to internal and external contacts who are familiar with business challenges. We organize a variety of national and regional events for entrepreneurs, where they can exchange ideas with like-minded people. In addition, we bring together exciting Swiss entrepreneurs who share their know-how and expertise in our Growth Talks. You can find interesting insights and tips about entrepreneurship at UBS.com/Impulse. Advice is available for entrepreneurs on both the business and private side.

Stay independent even with additional investors

UBS arranged meetings with investors for Carify where the start-up was able to present itself. With success. “UBS was by our side throughout the entire process. In discussions with investors, we were always supported by a representative of UBS.” This round of external investment, the only one to date, raised a sum “in the upper single-digit millions.” It enabled Carify to continue to grow robustly. For Studer and Fiechter, retaining a majority stake in the company together with employees was also a key concern: “We wanted to decide for ourselves how Carify would continue to develop.”

UBS decided to work with Carify in 2021 for a variety of reasons, Lederhausen says. “The start-up has grown rapidly in a short time with a good, dynamic team and a do-it-yourself mentality.” Carify’s business model is also scalable. An additional advantage is its efficiency: Studer and Fiechter have achieved a lot with little capital. “Investors pay particular attention to that,” the expert says. Another indication of a functioning business model is well-known investors and business partners.

Since Carify was awarded the SEF.Growth High Potential Label, we were able to offer them a growth loan. “We received a credit limit of several million from UBS,” says Studer. This offers two advantages: “On the one hand, the company’s ownership is not diluted by other investors. On the other hand, UBS offers a fast and uncomplicated process.” This secures the liquidity of the company with good conditions. “We want to be financially smart at all times. The credit limit allows us to invest in growth and additional revenue without running into a liquidity bottleneck.”

Long-term client satisfaction as a goal

But why do we support start-ups beyond the necessary financial transactions? “The goal is to build a long-term client relationship with consciously selected young companies. Both sides benefit from this. Start-ups and entrepreneurs can not only draw on our comprehensive financial expertise, but also on UBS’s network. If necessary, we provide them with internal and external contacts that will help them with their business challenges,” says Jan Lederhausen.

Back to Carify. In the black by the end of the year – then what? “In 2024 and 2025, we want to continue to grow profitably, doubling our revenue annually,” says Studer. The focus remains on the Swiss market. “However, we are examining whether and with which partners international markets could be interesting. If opportunities arise, we’ll pounce.”

Financing for innovative start-ups and scale-ups

Are you looking for equity investors or debt capital to grow your innovative start-up? Find out more about the offering from UBS Growth Advisory.

Sergio Studer

Sergio Studer

CEO and co-founder of CARIFY

Sergio Studer has been active in the Swiss start-up scene for more than a decade and has already successfully built up several companies. 

Jan Lederhausen

Jan Lederhausen

UBS Growth Advisory 

Jan Lederhausen has been working in UBS’s Growth Advisory since 2017 – a team that matches companies seeking capital with potential investors. In his role, Jan Lederhausen supports the integration of private equity in dynamic and fast-growing Swiss start-ups.

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