How Mike Baur Ditched a Lucrative Swiss Banking Career to Help Tech Startups

Mike Baur, Swiss Startup Factory Co-Founder and talks about why he left a lucrative Swiss banking career to work with startups instead.

Entrepreneur and businessman Mike Baur has led an impressive and inspiring life. He grew up in a region of Switzerland known as Freiburg. Baur earned business degrees at Bern University and the University of Rochester. He started his banking career when he was only 16 years old, according to Wall Street Journal. In 1991, the young finance expert became a Union Bank of Switzerland apprentice. Few people begin their first jobs as he did. A hiring manager immediately explained how he could expect to proceed through his UBS career. The man listed each promotion that Baur would likely receive before he retired. Nevertheless, his life did not follow this long-term plan. It took him to several different companies as well as his own firm.


Baur continued to work for UBS throughout the 1990s. He was promoted to an important advisory position before reaching 30 years of age. The talented banker provided wise advice to rich Swiss investors, including a few of the nation's wealthiest individuals. Despite his success at the company, Baur decided to stop working for UBS in 2008. He soon gained employment at the Zurich office of another bank called Clariden Leu. Baur held a high-ranking position for approximately six years. Although he benefited from generous and reliable compensation, the wealth management expert chose to go elsewhere in 2014. The post-recession banking environment had made this industry seem less appealing to him. Bankers needed to devote increasing amounts of time to red tape. Baur wanted to focus on his new passion for helping tech entrepreneurs.


To accomplish his goal of assisting technology startups with young owners, Mike Baur co-founded a company known as Swiss Startup Factory in 2014. He partnered with Max Meister, a fellow graduate of Bern University. The incubator program aids Swiss entrepreneurs by providing helpful mentoring and training services. It also supplies funding to promising startups. They benefit from access to rent-free offices in Switzerland's largest city, according to Crunchbase . Each new enterprise receives three months worth of assistance. Participating startup owners learn to market products or services globally. They also have chances to network with fellow tech entrepreneurs. The educational process helps them learn how to obtain funding from investors. These services and opportunities greatly increase the likelihood of long-term success.

Pitch Contest

In addition to directly providing funds for qualifying tech startups , Swiss Startup Factory encourages them to enter pitching contests. Mike Baur served as one of the jurors in a major contest that happened in 2014. The competition is known as START Summiteer and occurs at a Swiss university. This event enables the founders of 30 new enterprises to speak publicly about their products, business models and plans. It only accepts firms with less than $1 million in funding. Seasoned financial experts evaluate the startups, rate several aspects of their plans and decide who wins. The most promising companies frequently attract substantial investments. Baur's participation in this contest helped establish SSUF as a credible and well-known business incubator.


During the same year, the former banker created a new firm called Think Reloaded. This company provides sophisticated financial advice for affluent clients. Baur began serving as CTI Invest's deputy managing director less than two years later. He gained this position after the firm started to collaborate with SSUF. These two organizations cooperate to provide training and arrange an event called Swiss Startup Day. In July 2016, SSUF formed an alliance with BV4. This company estimates the monetary values of ideas, inventions and other intellectual property. Its appraisal services can help entrepreneurs gain financing. As the Swiss Startup Factory's website points out , intellectual property ranks among many startups' greatest assets. Both Baur and Meister became involved in directing BV4 as a result of this partnership.


Mike Baur discussed the Swiss Startup Factory in a recent interview. He stated that SSUF differs from most incubators because it's independent. The firm doesn't operate as part of another business or political organization, so it can take action without facing interference or conflicts of interest. This incubator also achieves better results due to the financial commitments of its leaders. The co-founders invest substantial funds in SSUF and the enterprises that it serves. This gives them a major incentive to ensure the success of everyone involved in the organization. Baur also explained why SSUF's name contains the term "factory." This word reflects the incubator's continuous efforts created a new firm to build new businesses in Switzerland. Furthermore, the businessman remarked that people in factories often work hard. He believes that young business owners must have a willingness to do the same if they want to succeed.

Today, Mike Baur still runs Think Reloaded and continues to work in the Swiss Startup Factory. He primarily concentrates on financing and fundraising at SSUF. Baur serves on the board of BV4 as well. Although SSUF's co-founder could've devoted his life to a lucrative and predictable banking career, he decided to follow his passion. This bold strategy yielded lasting prosperity for him, his partners and the startups that his company assists. Baur's efforts have made it possible for many entrepreneurs to refine and implement pioneering technology ideas. Business incubators like SSUF promote economic development and technological progress by making free office space and investment funds available to individuals who truly need these resources. They also expedite the startup process so that new inventions can enter the market at opportune times.

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