Mike Baur is a man that you might say has a need for speed. No, he’s not a race car driver or a rocket scientist. He’s a man who loves hearing people’s business ideas and giving them the backing they need to get that business going immediately. He’s the founder of the Swiss Startup Factory (SSUF) and several other investment companies including Think Reloaded and the Innovation Lab Fribourg. Baur sees a world of brilliant young minds who might find a new way to conduct financial services or develop a mobile app that could greatly shift the way Switzerland’s culture operates, and he believes he can play a role as a mentor to these young people.
The SSUF is a 3-month program hosted at an institute in Zurich where Baur and a team of executives will be working with the entrepreneurs who are accepted into the program. Baur and the leaders have those who are enrolled in the program vetted thoroughly to see if they can match the tough demands it will put on them. The training program is nothing simple as the entrepreneurs are tested to see if they can survive the highly competitive business environment. But once they get through the tough training and bring their ideas to life, the SSUF leaders provide them with facility space and equipment needed to make their business a reality. So far the SSUF has helped companies such as Cadelis, Carhelper, Hello Vegan and many others take off and is eager to jumpstart many more.
Mike Baur came from a background of finance and banking that at one time was said would be where he would make his living. Baur was part of a Swiss tradition granted to young men with high financial acumen in which he became an apprentice at UBS Bank. He learned the job quite well and upon the recommendations of pleased clients and his immediate supervisor, Baur soon was promoted to a lower level manager and ultimately to senior funds manager. The 2008 financial crisis was not limited to the US and spread even to Switzerland’s strong banking industry, and due to management issues in UBS Baur had left even before then to work for Credit Suisse. He stayed there for several years and then moved to Clariden Leu. But in time he began to feel he could do so much more with his money, so in 2014 he became a venture capital investor and not much later co-founded the SSUF.