Swiss exploring got me realizing how beautiful diversity is. Aside from the fact that the startup community is very well developed in Switzerland, the country is a perfect example of diversity in natural beauty, nationalities, cultures…
I’m the type of girl that falls in love with cities. Whenever and wherever I travel I like to explore, meet locals, find the hidden gems of the city, not just seeing the touristic sights. But what leaves a great impression with me are the people I meet on my journey in that particular community.
After meeting so many people from different countries that have found a home in Switzerland, I was excited to meet a native Swiss. I met my guest for this #StartUpSelfie story, through the #SwissEP organized peer-to-peer exchange. He was a visiting guest mentor at our sessions, for a full day and was always surrounded with people eager to get his know-how.
Luckily, soon after, I had the pleasure of hosting him in Skopje, where he was on a mission as a #SwissEP Short Term Expert, to meet and work with the startup community.
In the afternoon before his departure, we went sight seeing and to hear the story and learn more about Mike Baur, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Swiss Startup Factory.
“Well, my professional journey started as a 16 year old ambitious Swiss boy fascinated by banking and the stock markets. For me it was very clear that I will work in a bank and luckily enough I got a job as a banking apprentice at UBS which was great for me. Today, I realize that being an Swiss investor and Swiss entrepreneur already made me have a very clear entrepreneurial DNA and that I was not the typical employee. More the guy who did things different took more risk, went always the extra mile and worked very hard and always focused on performance.
At that time I was already very ambitious and had clear career goals and made a plan how to get there. Opportunities actually didn’t fall from the sky but I had to create my own opportunities and catch them, which I did 🙂
I think this is a very important topic. Everyone creates his own opportunities, people just waiting for them have no chance to succeed in my opinion.
But for sure UBS was a great platform and gave me that chance to become a top banker and top manager at a very young age. I progressed very well in my career and met a lot of very, very interesting people as private banking clients. A lot of them where entrepreneurs and since I was managing their wealth I very often knew their detailed life stories. I was amazed by these entrepreneurial stories and was honored to actually advise the wealthiest people of Switzerland.
Since private banking has a lot to do with trust, some of them over the years became friends and they always told me: Mike you tick like an entrepreneur, you should jump out of the plane and take the risk!
Years later (2012) when I was a top executive at the third biggest private bank of Switzerland, I jumped out of the plane and started my great journey as a Swiss entrepreneur building up today’s No:1 Swiss ICT Startup Accelerator, which is purely privately financed and a great success story.
At the same time I became one of the most active Startup Investors in Switzerland and a real mover and shaker of the digital transformation in Switzerland. Today I’m really where I always wanted to be actually, and I love what I do. This gives me the inner power to be very good in what I do and for sure being very authentic. People tell me that at 42 I’m in a perfect age, not too young to be a role model and not too old to be a boring old guy :))) So let’s rock the boat !!!” – Mike says with a smile.
With his experience and involvement I was eager to hear his thoughts on what is it about startups that you see that is lacking, year after year in the Swiss eco-system?
“We still lack the risk takers, the ones to jump out of the plane and create the next big thing out of Switzerland!
Switzerland is a great hub to create a startup, here we really have everything that is needed. Top Universities means top talents, global big corporations who are across the street, we are a wealthy country with investors and many support organizations. We have a very stable political and economical situation and we are THE innovation country No:1 in the world.
BUT the mindset of Swiss people still needs to be transformed more in a entrepreneurial direction. I’m very convinced that your generation of people in Switzerland will be much much more entrepreneurial and startup focused then of my generation. So this is very good news!” – said Mike.
What drives Mike Baur? Why does he do this? When was he the proudest of his professional life by far? Something I wanted to hear very eagerly.
“Working with the startup teams, the different people in the teams, the different backgrounds in the teams as well from each person’s culture, but also in terms of each persons business educational background. Helping them to merge their diversity to one team, one goal, one company is the most fascinating thing for me. Motivating them and pushing them to business execution and celebrating great results!
I was personally very proud last December 7th when the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about me. Quite a lot of banker dream about being featured in a top newspaper like the WSJ. I actually did it when I wasn’t a banker any more, which is even more fascinating and cool.
Also, early this year in January we announced our Swiss Startup Factory Advisory Board and I was very proud because the 10 Advisory Board members are all absolute high level entrepreneurs, executives and top sports people. It is such an honor having them in our advisory board and it was hard work to get them since they first wanted to see great results of our work for the first two years.” – proudly says Mike.
Share your piece of advice to all young and aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
“Be different, go different ways than mainstream, be a hard working person and set yourself very clear goals what you want to achieve. Always reflect your path and adapt. Nothing is impossible in today’s connected global world. Be passionate and find your mission in life. Love what you do because only with this you can become the best in it!
Swiss Startup Factory pushes and accelerates the top startup talents with their startup project to become the next world champion in what they do. So if you think you are an absolute outliver and a top talent in what you do together with you startup team contact me and we challenge you! Be ready!” – said Mike.
For me this was an absolute pleasure, learning more about Mike, sharing his story, passion and motivation. Do not hesitate to get in touch with him and try to be in the top group of Swiss Startup Factory.
I will for sure follow their work.
More startup stories from the Swiss community coming next on StartUpSelfie!