This is a story of 3 startups, starting in 3 different ecosystems, with similar solutions for Invoice Financing.
Here we will be looking into their funding rounds to learn about the differences between the startup ecosystems of Zurich, London, and San Francisco.
First of all:

What's Invoice Financing?

Scenario: You're a web developer, and you get paid 30 days after the invoice was sent. Until then, you need to pay your rent/business expenses, what do you do? A bank loan is the traditional solution (but it takes time). Invoice financing is a modern solution to this, providers give you the money in return of some interest, and you pay them back within several weeks/months.

The companies we're looking into

  • Advanon - A Zurich based startup. Total Funding: 13.92M USD (13.6M CHF)
  • MarketInvoice - A London based startup. Total Funding: 58.26M USD (45.8M GBP)
  • Fundbox - A San Francisco based startup. Total Funding: 107.5 USD
When looking at the numbers, this comparison symbolizes the stark difference between the ecosystems.

Advanon, being a Swiss startup, has only gone through 2 rounds in the last 4 years. Noticebly, having a pretty large Series A round of 13.5M CHF. This is a very solid indication of the Swiss tech market as a whole, funding rounds aren't as quick, but they are definitely enough for a lean burn rate (keeping in mind the local salary ranges) and steady growth.

MarketInvoice, a London based startup, has gone through 5 rounds in the last 5 years. With a hefty series B round of 26M GBP (33.09M USD).
Most importantly - MarketInvoice has recently partnered up with Barclays, one of the largest banks in the UK, which is probably the biggest partnership a startup in this field could hope for.
This indicates that London startups still have the best funding opportunities when it comes to European VC funding. This also amplifies the importance of being headquartered right next to a large number of Financial Institutions who are actively looking to partner with innovation providers.

Fundbox, a San Francisco based startup, has gone through 4 rounds in the last 5 years. With 90M USD of funding secured within 6 months (That's Silicon Valley for you!).
This indicates that SF and Bay Area startups by far have the best access to funds in the western world.
The massive funding rounds also show that while SF is lacking in terms of institutions (especially financial institutions), it certainly makes up for it with massive amounts of VC funding.

So, as a general (non-binding) rule of thumb:
  • For lean and steady growth - Zurich may be the answer for you
  • For better ties to the industry, as well as the most funding opportunities in Europe - London may be the answer for you
  • For growth, growth, and growth due to its massive funding opportunities - San Francisco (shocking) would be the answer for you