Mike Baur is someone who believes business ideas are everywhere, and if young people who have them are given the right direction and prodding with which to bring those ideas to life, capital invested in them can bring about the next disruptive company. The place where he brings these ideas to life is at the Swiss Startup Factory (SSUF) in Zurich which has become a place where Swiss and international investors have seen startups turn into brands with quick turnaround, and the brands range across a variety of industries. Baur believes that in order to take your business from its early startup idea to where it is now, you need to have the right mindset behind it.
The first step that Baur says businesses need to get to launch stage is to have their ground plan ready. That includes being able to know what your product sales methods will be, how the finances will be managed, how the product will be successful and what the roles of its administrators will look like. The second step is to make your business adaptable and able to change when change happens around it. The third step is knowing what risks you’ll be taking with your business and not being afraid to take them.
Mike Baur figured out that he could do more by investing in these startup businesses than he could at his old job in banking which he was a part of for more than 20 years at UBS Bank and Clariden Leu. Banking was basically the backbone of Switzerland’s economy when he started out as an apprentice in 1991, and for many years the nation was said to be the world’s best place to hold a bank account. But by the time Baur had become an executive at Clariden Leu, the rules had changed and due to the economic recession of 2008 that swept from the US over to Europe. It was no longer an enjoyable job for Baur but more of a tedious chore he felt he was doing, so he left banking and did not return in 2014.
Baur saw a lot more potential in investing in people rather than just managing accounts for the rich, and he enjoyed his new schedule of being able to be out and interact as opposed to just being in an office all day. The SSUF uses a variety of ways that entrepreneurs can use to generate ideas like outdoor activities, brainstorming sessions and participating in pitch contests. Baur has also been an investor in other companies and has been a partner with Red Bull Media and CTI Group, and he also helped start Think Reloaded and Fintech Fusion.