Mike Baur loves young entrepreneurs who have ideas that bring disruptive technology to the table in the business world. Whether it’s a brand new app or an idea for a full-scale enterprise in IT or finance, Baur’s Swiss Startup Factory (SSUF) is there to be the home for those ideas to take root. The goal of the SSUF is to coach up the entrepreneurs and put them through rigorous training to prepare them for the competitive business world. What Mike Baur believes is that businesses don’t need years to start becoming self-sustainable, but with the right funding and access to resources they can start becoming profitable immediately.
Mike Baur formed the SSUF in partnership with several venture capital investors and entrepreneurial architects. The SSUF got its name because Baur thinks of what he does as producing entrepreneurs and growing new companies. He sees this company as a true investment in the future and something that can have a lasting effect even greater than financial institutions which come and go as he well knows. For some people who view banking as the backbone of Switzerland, they might have seen Baur’s endeavors to change his career to startup investing as a big gamble that had no rewards. But they would be wrong because Baur has seen the rewards of his labors already with various startups like Velohub (blinkers.io), and Struckd (struckd.com). But Baur also has seen how these startups may have a chance to fill the void in the Swiss economy that’s happened on the downside of the banking industry.
Mike Baur began in banking when he was still quite young. As has been customary in Switzerland, Baur entered the profession as a 16-year-old apprentice to UBS Group AG. Baur learned the ins and outs of investing and fund management and most of the bank’s clients were very wealthy and powerful individuals. Baur even formulated an investment strategy that targeted even more institutional investors and special clients that the bank’s assets had high numbers. In 2008 Baur left UBS because the recession had hit it, and he then became a high-ranking officer at Clariden Leu. He was a managing director at this private bank for about 7 years, but then he decided the venture capital world was where he wanted to go. It wasn’t long after Baur launched the SSUF that Clariden Leu shutdown, and the banking industry as a whole was on the decline.