With all the technology departments in Switzerland’s universities and young entrepreneurs graduating out of them at a pretty good rate, investors in this country are realizing that these new companies may be the new catalysts for the nation’s economy. Mike Baur is especially excited about what these new businesses can bring, and that’s why he’s investing in them with his new accelerator company the Swiss Startup Factory. This company is only a few years old but already it’s been gaining the attention of financial experts across Europe and various investment firms in the US as well. Baur’s mission at the SSUF is to turn entrepreneurs’ ideas into fully operational companies in only three months, and by helping these entrepreneurs make successful pitches he’s able to do just that.
Mike Baur’s resume includes over 20 years in banking where he originally thought he might retire just as many others before him had done. His career was even plotted on a piece of paper by a senior manager at UBS Bank when Baur first started, and the manager explained how Baur could get promotion after promotion. Things looked very good for Baur in the early years of his career, and by the time he turned 30 he had already become a key advisor at UBS. But things started to take a different turn around 2008 when the banking crisis came to Europe, and many banks started needing government bailouts just to stay afloat. UBS closed down not long after the crisis, but Baur still hadn’t given up on his career and had now become a manager at Clariden Leu. He stayed at this bank for 6 years, but after seeing how government regulations were changing banking, he decided to leave it for good in 2014.
When it came to startup investing, Mike Baur knew a real opportunity existed if the thinking of big investors changed and they were willing to take risks on emerging companies. But he also knew they needed to know that these companies could thrive even when the competition got stiff instead of folding within the first few years. So that’s why he, Max Meister and Oliver Walzer started intense training programs and coaching at the SSUF including some physically challenging tests as well as critical thinking sessions. But those who can pass those tests and successfully prove their companies will last can get office space and equipment as a starting point for their new companies.