Mike Baur has a firm that can take someone’s vision for a future business and turn it into a real life company that may have otherwise never been able to take off on its own. This accelerator firm is the Swiss Startup Factory in Zurich, Switzerland and it has several layers to its approach for building businesses. It has investors who come to the firm and get to know just what the accelerator’s participants hope to accomplish with their company, training sessions helping entrepreneurs learn how to make the right pitch to venture capital firms and even physical survival skill sessions that are meant to give participants an idea for the kind of environment they’ll be running a business in.
Mike Baur has a three-month program he uses to bring businesses online, but his accelerator can really actually be broken down into two accelerators in pre-acceleration and growth acceleration. The pre-acceleration phase is where most of the mentoring takes place, and with the assistance of professional consultants and market researchers, the startup’s product starts to take shape and IT support is also included. The actual growth accelerator is when the capital starts moving into the startup, and in this phase actual leadership structure is formed, branding takes place, accounting and tax compliance is now being done and other administrative tasks are being managed. Mike Baur has put a lot of work into forming his networks, but it took many years in banking for him to reach where he is today.
In Switzerland, the banks were once the pride of its economy. This is because many foreign entities chose to bank in Switzerland due to relaxed regulations and good returns on investments. Mike Baur enrolled in a banking internship program when he was only 16 since this was the way most people entered the workforce at the time. For many years Baur was successful as an advisor and manager at UBS Bank and later Clariden Leu, but when the government brought new rules to banking after the 2008 crisis resulting from Swiss banks being heavily invested in US mortgages, things changed in Baur’s world. It soon became apparent to Baur that banking was no longer the way to go. But upon leaving his bank office, he became certain that his new plan to pour resources into startup ideas would work. He discussed his plans with independent venture firms and media executives, and by the end of 2014 the Swiss Startup Factory was open. Since that day, hundreds of startups have come through the accelerator and are now operating.