Mike Baur is a business startup guru from Switzerland who has taken a lot of mobile-based companies and industry disrupters from mere concept to functioning companies. He’s done this through his accelerator firm, the Swiss Startup Factory, and he often travels to market the accelerator and recruit entrepreneurs to join. Baur also speaks at university campuses and conferences like START Summit on how to build companies, and there are three keys he believes are necessary to do it.
Baur says entrepreneurs need to know the groundwork it’s going to take to build their companies and be able to set the work in motion for them on their own. Opportunities are never going to just come on their own for startups. Second, adaptability is a must because things will never stay the same in any industry, and when you see changes in trends you need to meet the new challenges. And finally, Baur says there will always be risks to startups financially, but you can’t let those deter you from going all in on it. Risk taking is even something Switzerland’s president challenged the business community with because traditional jobs that once anchored it’s economy were starting to move to the back burner.
Mike Baur has seen the seismic shift happen including Switzerland’s banking profession start to lose popularity. For many years that’s what Baur himself did was manage accounts and give investment advice for two of Switzerland’s largest banks. He learned the roles of his job by starting out as an intern at UBS Bank when he was 16 years old and worked his way up to various management positions from there. But by the time he had gotten to his advanced position at Clariden Leu Bank, the recession of 2008 had happened and the reputation associated with being a banker and the new laws that affected his job made him less passionate about it. Convinced it was time to look in another direction, Baur quit banking in 2014.
What Mike Baur wanted to do after leaving banking was look for tech companies, apps and other Internet of Things companies to invest in. With a lot of these new disrupters hitting the market, he believed he could find them if he created the right place to incubate them. He started floating the idea for the Swiss Startup Factory around various investment experts and marketing agencies, and it wasn’t long before its launch was ready. The SSUF has gotten startups off the ground by taking the entrepreneurs who founded them through a three-month program which if they pass with flying colors, they get funded to grow rapidly.