When Mike Baur made the decision to start a business accelerator in 2014, he was making a big change that went from simply managing clients’ money to now taking risks on brand new businesses with no previous track record. But for Baur, he found that to be very rewarding because there are so many new small businesses particularly in financial technology that could be disruptors and game changers that just needed a little capital to reach their goals. So Baur’s new investment company, the Swiss Startup Factory allows these entrepreneurs to present working models of their ideas and plans to potential investors and financing companies, and if they can procure the capital they then get access to office space and equipment to get started.
Mike Baur initially loved his career in banking because he was once told he could move up a very high ladder in it. Banking was Switzerland’s biggest economic driver when Baur started as a 16-year old apprentice at UBS Bank. A manager told him that he just needed to follow a certain path and he would make it from apprentice to upper management and eventually retire. Baur certainly worked hard to get there and by his mid-20s was already an advisor at the bank. But as Baur advanced in his career, there were changes in banking and its regulations and ultimately the international 2008 economic crisis took a hit on Switzerland’s banks and even brought about the closure of some including UBS. Baur still had some ambition to stay in banking and took a new management job at Clariden Leu, but he soon realized that change had come and was there to stay and by 2014 Baur grew tired of banking and left it for good.
Other people had seen what Mike Baur had seen in banking, and upon understanding that he planned to join the new investment movement in startups, Max Meister, Oliver Walzer and CTI Group decided to form the new partnership and it became a tremendous success. What Baur does is put the entrants to the SSUF through a 3-month training program filled with both rigorous physical activities as well as office and business activities designed to help the entrepreneur make sound decisions when under pressure. Only a select few entrants whose startups have passed the tests are chosen to receive funding at the end of the three-month period. Baur is also the founder of Think Reloaded.