At only age 39, Mike Baur had already spent 20 years working as a banker in Switzerland. He had earned two MBAs, one from the University of Rochester New York and another from the University of Berne. Baur had then taken an entry level position with UBS, followed it up by working with Clarden Leu and eventually got a position on a major financial institution’s board of directors. It had been a dream come true for Mike Baur who had dreamed about a career in banking ever since he was a child. In 2014, Baur decided to retire and begin investing in startups.
After investing in a number of startups, Baur realized many of the entrepreneurs running those companies needed help in order to succeed. Realizing that he had the training and connections to help young entrepreneurs get on their feet and improve their companies, Baur and his two of his friends, Max Meister and Oliver Welzer decided to create a new business incubator to help them. So in 2014 they created the Swiss Startup Factory. The company selects several startups each year and provides them with the training and mentoring they need to build a solid foundation.
The program they created runs for three months. During that time the entrepreneurs are taught the business skills they need to get their companies up and running. Once the startups complete the Swiss Startup Factory program and are on solid footing, Baur and his team connects them to investors and business contacts all around the world. This has helped the startups to flourish and have the wherewithal to overcome any challenges they encounter In addition to his work with Swiss Startup Factory, Mike Baur works with a number of other business incubators in Switzerland.
Working to make Swiss Startup Factory Switzerland’s top privately-financed startup incubator keeps Baur very busy. The Wall Street Journal did a feature on his work with Swiss Startup Factory in December 2016. They pointed out that SSF plays an important role in the development of numerous Swiss digital startups. Baur is both an investor and board member in many of them. This leaves him with a ‘hurricane schedule’ that changes rapidly based on the needs of the companies. To ensure he’s being the most productive, Baur focuses on the urgent and important issues and only works with companies with a good chance for success based on market research.