Mike Baur spoke to entrepreneurial blog Ideamensch not to long ago to talk about what it was like starting his accelerator company, the Swiss Startup Factory and how he’s learned from experiences he’s had with it. Baur started the SSUF in 2014 along with Think Reloaded to go in a different direction than banking, and he told Ideamensch that most people told him at the time that the market didn’t exist for the kind of startup program he was looking to implement. But he proved most of his critics wrong and was able to get the SSUF in motion quite quickly through partnerships with CTI Invest in Switzerland.
Baur says he has long days of activities he has to get through quickly because in the kind of environment he runs, there is always something happening on the business front. Baur believes that most ideas come to life and breed success if you have a way to test how well they might do in the open market and what the demand for them might be. He suggests entrepreneurs start with a prototype and keep testing it to see where things go with it.
Mike Baur has been followed by different business media outlets in Switzerland and even the Wall Street Journal in the US. Before he had thought about running a business accelerator, Baur had planned to follow a path set before him in banking which he began as a young teenage apprentice. It was while he was in a manager’s office at UBS Bank one day that he was told at each turn what his financial career would look like if he did everything right. Baur did quite well and earned promotions just as that manager had said he would, and by the midpoint in his career he was a banking executive at Clariden Leu. Despite the success he had in finance, he began to feel it was time to go elsewhere with the great recession of 2008 in full swing, and the overall environment in banking not being appealing anymore.
Baur teamed up with Max Meister, Oliver Walzer and several others to turn the SSUF from concept to reality in 2014 and knew with the backgrounds they had in investing that they could turn it into something special. In a short time they began bringing in many early startups and through a three-month program were able to start putting those businesses in office spaces and out into the market at a more mature stage. Baur often travels to deliver lectures on accelerating businesses.