Mike Baur is a Zurich based entrepreneur and co-founder of Swiss Startup Factory. Prior to switching to entrepreneurship, Mr. Baur was a banker for about 20 years, serving at Clariden Leu and UBS. In December 2014, Mike Baur, Max Meister and Olive Walzer partnered and co-founded the Swiss Startup Factory. This is a privately funded accelerator that aims to help Swiss startup firms of tomorrow. According to Mike, there are several publicly funded accelerators, but Swiss Startup is independent with entrepreneurial structure.
Mike Baur’s Career Profile
Mike Baur began his career at UBS as an apprentice. He served as deputy managing director at the bank. After eight years, Mr. Baur was named as Clariden Leu’s Chief Executive Officer. This firm was formed following the merger of numerous privately owned banks. When Mike left UBS in 2008, the bank was hit hard by the financial crisis. Mike took advantage of the situation and hired former staff of UBS who move with their clients to Clariden Leu. According to Mike, the crisis offered them the opportunity to grow their firm. Mike believes executives in the private banking sectors are reluctant to accept change and it is killing the industry. He cites the digital transformation that is being experienced currently in the industry, and many are still acting in denial.
In 2011, Mike was appointed as the director of Clariden Leu, and a few months later Credit Suisse acquired the bank. Mike was not prepared for that acquisition, and was added more responsibilities that risked the entrepreneurial network he had build while serving at Clariden. He decided to call it quit following the advice of Jean-Claude Biver, his mentor, and from the support of his wife. Mr. Baur then met the other co-founders of Swiss Startup Factory, and the same time he started to offer advisory mandates for some of the Switzerland’s largest assets. According to Mike, he has invested 35% of his time to these mandates today, and the rest to the accelerator.
Mike Baur says he could still be working at Clariden Leu if the merger had not taken place. Today, Mike is regarded as one of the most successful entrepreneurs. In fact, he had been offered several chances to address emerging entrepreneurs and learners at several universities. In early 2016, CTI and Swiss Startup partners and Baur was named deputy MD of CTI Invest. Last year December, Mike career from the banking industry to startup investments was profiled by the Wall Street Journal.