When Mike Baur quit his job as a banker to form Swiss Startup Factory (SSUF) together with Max Meister and Oliver Walzer, many wondered why he left a generous and reliable compensation, as well as a high-ranking position. Mike had experience and knowledge after 20 years in service on the struggles entrepreneurs go through to start up a firm. Mike reasoned that entrepreneurial ideas have the capacity to bring new innovations that will change the status quo, introduce new services and innovations and in the process create new business models.
He says that the Swiss banking industry is changing especially after the post-recession a fact that makes the industry less appealing. It is for this reason that he chose high-tech entrepreneurship path, helping startups.
With a three-month plan support for startups, SSUF provides operating funds, support, training, coaching, and mentorship to early startups. They enjoy rent-free offices and are linked with SSUF wide range network of investors and entrepreneurs. In 2016, he led SSUF in partnering with Fintech Fusion, CTI and the Goldback Group in raising more funds for SSUF tech startups. He encourages startup entrepreneurs to enter the Pitch Contest held annually at St Gallen University. Here, they can publicly air their business plans and products where they are judged by experts standing a chance to attract investments.
SSUF is an independent incubator without links and association with other businesses or organization. Mike says this has helped them avoid conflict of interest and interference even as the co-founders invest significantly in funding SSUF and its enterprises under it. He said that the word factory in SSUF stands for building new businesses and just like factory people who work hard, young business owners should also work hard to succeed.
To make it as an entrepreneur, Mike Baur advises people with innovative ideas to test them early in the markets. They can develop a prototype and test it while measuring the market. The feedback is the learning part for the entrepreneur from where they can make changes to their plans. Early testing enables entrepreneurs to know what the market wants and what it does not. Mike usually validates results using market feedback and needs as he continues to develop the product.
To be productive involves focusing on the vital and most urgent matters that need to be straightened so as to nurture a daily high-level of productivity. He recommends rising up early to check and respond to all emails, then moving out to work personally with the team involved.
Mike Baur holds an MBA from University of Rochester, New York and an Executive MBA from the University of Berne.