Mike Baur is the founder and Chairman of a company that can take entrepreneurs’ ideas and turn them into working companies within a short period of time. The way this works is by creating a network of investors who are interested in these entrepreneurs’ companies and connecting the entrepreneurs to those clients. If the business ideas can survive a three-month test at Baur’s company, the Swiss Startup Factory (SSUF), they will get the funding they need. Baur has three ingredients he believes are needed to turn these startups into successful companies.
First, Mike Baur says entrepreneurs need to be willing to make everything happen. Nothing ever happens by chance when building a business and it’s up to you to make sure you have a real plan to beat your competitors. Second, Baur says every business founder needs to have a plan to change and adapt because things will always be changing amidst the technology revolution. And finally, all businesses that grow must be willing to take risks along the way. Baur has certainly seen this as a change in thinking from the old Swiss way of being risk averse.
Mike Baur remembers how it was before the technology revolution took off and Switzerland was a country built heavily on its banks. Baur at one time sought to be one of those bankers when he enrolled as a 16-year old apprentice at UBS Bank back in 1991 and was told how he could move up the ladder until he reached retirement. He was a brilliant young man who was already managing client investments by the time he reached his 20s and received several commendations from UBS’s Board of Directors. In 2008 not long before the recession hit, Baur became head of the commercial banking division at Clariden Leu and everything seemed to be going just as he had planned. But after the recession, Baur saw how banking was changing and not for the better, so in 2014 he left it and decided to pursue his own ideas.
Mike Baur became good friends with Max Meister and Oliver Walzer who had also decided to leave banking and go elsewhere after the recession, and they decided they could invest in new businesses if they had the right structure to accelerate them. The SSUF was launched near the end of 2014 and has become a partner company with CTI and Fintech Fusion. Baur has also traveled around to various universities introducing his company and hosting seminars with incentives for students to pitch their ideas to investors.