Mike Baur is the Executive Chairman of the Swiss Startup Factory where he leads a team of business coaches and professionals that help those who want to be entrepreneurs build businesses through a systematic plan. The SSUF takes in a certain number of entrants per year to their mentoring program helps them turn abstract business ideas into concrete written and designed plan. One of the keys to making this work is having a forum where venture capital investors can see the products the entrants have to offer, and Baur and his team take the entrants through various drills in delivering effective presentations on how their company will work such as pitch contests. Baur emphasizes that delivery is everything and if they can get venture capital, the SSUF provides office space free for a period so they can use the capital to focus on their business execution.
Mike Baur was in banking before he became a cofounder of the SSUF. About 20 years ago, working for a big bank was considered to be one of the highest honors in business because many wealthy business executives and foreign companies had accounts in Switzerland’s highly secure and loosely regulated banks. Baur started at a UBS Bank branch when he was only 16 years old, and one of the managers who saw potential in him told him that all he needed to do was follow a plan and he would become a high-ranking official there and retire very rich. Baur did tremendous work and was considered one of the best account managers while still only in his 20s, and though his career at UBS Bank was going well, the 2008 crisis caused UBS to downscale and close down many branches including the one Baur worked at. He didn’t leave banking just yet as another big bank Clariden Leu offered him a position as an executive in commercial banking, and he stayed on there for about 5 years. But eventually he resigned from that position as well because changes in regulations and the way banking was done made it no longer appealing to him.
Mike Baur realized there was more to be found in the business startup world and saw what was happening with all the developments in disruptive apps. He believed there were many people who could create disruptive businesses and bring more competition than ever in Switzerland’s economy, but they lacked the financing to do it. Baur consulted with various private equity and investment banking connections he had and presented the idea of the SSUF. By 2014 it officially launched and has since added many new partnerships and expanded its portfolio of companies that have emerged from it. Mike Baur is also the founder of ThinkReloaded.