The Swiss Startup Factory owes much of its success to Mike Baur, his 20 years of experience in the banking industry and his desire to make access to financing more accessible to entrepreneurs. His disruptive and innovative thinking resulted in an incubation process that connects investors, corporations and entrepreneurs. The process also provide the entrepreneurs with coaching, financial advice and mentors.
Despite naysayers saying there was no need or market for a private accelerator program in Switzerland because the country had so many startup programs already and most startup programs had government support, Mike Baur’s experience in banking told him to create a startup boot camp and offer a business execution platform that improves the quality of early stage start ups. He knew offering the startup teams a tough and execution driven experience would improve and accelerate the process. Mike Baur wanted to create an organization that would nurture entrepreneurial solutions to solve the current challenges and that could also withstand market turmoil. By creating the Swiss Startup Factory, Mike Baur offered entrepreneurs maximum freedom for innovation and agile flexible investors ready to act.
Mike Baur’s 20 years of success in the banking industry gave him valuable insight in the industry. From an apprenticeship at UBS, which led to his being appointed to assistant to the managing director of the private banking division, to his position managing Clariden Leu’s operations in Zurich, Mike Baur recognized business opportunities even in an uncertain market. His desire to adapt and take decisive action led to him and his co-founders Max Meister and Oliver Walzer starting what is today the number one privately financed and independent startup accelerator in Switzerland. Its stated mission is to take startups and turn them into global companies that disrupt prevailing norms, products and business models.
Mike Baur says the key to his success is letting the market tell you at an early stage what it does and does not want. This is achieved by creating a prototype of the product and testing it very early in the market to learn from market feedback, needs and validation. When asked what would he do differently if he had to start again, his reply was to become an entrepreneur in his mid twenties and not wait until his late 30s. Mike Baur’s 20 years in the banking industry provided him with mentors, business partners and a network of contacts that he now use to make the Swiss Startup Factory the place that bring the right elements together for the success of his clients and investors.