For many years, Switzerland’s economy was rooted in banking and if you wanted the best paying job in that nation, you sought to become successful in investment banking. But that’s not really the case anymore as one former banker can attest to, and he’s now feeding a new entrepreneurial spirit that’s taken hold of Switzerland. That former banker is Mike Baur, the former head of commercial banking at UBS and Clariden Leu and the current President of the Swiss Startup Factory. Instead of managing financial capital for the nation’s wealthiest investors, he’s now managing human capital and helping these new entrepreneurs take their wildest ideas and put them into a real business plan that can become reality in a very short time. Baur is very picky on who he chooses to invest in, but the SSUF has already seen thousands of brand new companies take off from its portfolio.
Banking was said to be the beginning and final destination of Mike Baur’s life since entering into it as a teenager. He was accepted to the apprenticeship program at UBS Bank and he was told by an older manager that if he accomplished certain goals and got his education within a time frame, he would get promoted at points in that road map and reach his retirement goal at the right age. Baur loved what he heard and worked hard at his career, and even while he was only in his 20s he started seeing how that road map was working out. However, he started having a change of heart about staying at UBS sometime later, and it wasn’t long after leaving it for Clariden Leu that the bank went under. Baur worked for Clariden Leu until it was bought out by Credit Suisse, and then quit the banking career for good upon clashing with upper management.
Mike Baur looked for new business opportunities upon quitting banking, and upon noticing how many entrepreneurs were coming out of college with the knowledge to succeed but lacking the capital to do so, he decided to start the accelerator so they could get that capital quickly. In 2014, he and Max Meister teamed up with Oliver Walzer and some other investment firms to make it happen. From training conferences to live coaching and instructing its entrants on how to make investment pitches, the SSUF puts ideas to the test to see if they’re truly actionable plans. Fintech Fusion and CTI Group have also made this accelerator possible.