Mike Baur is one of the founders of one of the world’s top business accelerators, the Swiss Startup Factory and he and CEO Max Meister announced a new member on the executive board; Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Gasser. The SSUF board asked Gasser to join them because he has many accomplishments in media and public relations including at one time running his own radio show and later founding the Swiss Startup Media GmbH. Baur and Meister commended Gasser for his knowledge of corporations that the SSUF seeks to partner with, and his expertise in organizing media events. The SSUF has been in operation since 2014 and has connected investors to proven startups and entrepreneurs, and through a 3-month program has given those companies a foundation to launch from.
Mike Baur went into startup investing because his longtime banking career was no longer as rewarding as it was earlier on. Baur was once told as a young apprentice at UBS Bank that he just needed to follow certain steps to earn promotions and he would reach wealth and retirement as planned. He was often commended by his superiors for his acumen in finances and investing, and some of Switzerland’s wealthiest investors trusted him with their accounts. Baur may have joined the executive board of UBS eventually, but the bank had to scale back operations dramatically when the 2008 financial crisis reached within Switzerland’s borders. He left UBS and managed the credit division of Clariden Leu bank for a few years, but then quit altogether in 2014.
Why did Mike Baur specifically decide to go into startup investing? He was noticing that a lot of young people in Switzerland were joining the tech revolution and buying into disruptive companies like Uber. He knew these young people had ideas and the skeleton resources for their startups, but they lacked the funding to make them happen. With banking no longer on the rise, Baur began partnering with investors and started a program by which he encouraged them to invest in these startups, but would also make sure they were vetted and tested to be sure the ROI would be high. For entrepreneurs, the SSUF provides sessions of mentoring and training as part of a 3-month accelerator program run twice a year. Entrepreneurs become part of the investor network and if they can pass the 3-month intense training sessions, they can get office space with equipment and support to run their business.