Mike Baur: Swiss Banking Star Turned Start-up Guru
Mike Baur, who spent more than twenty years in the Swiss banking industry, found himself taking an unexpected career turn in the last few years. Once a rising star in the industry who advised some of the richest people in the world concerning managing their wealth, Baur has found a new position as Executive Chairman of Swiss Startup Factory, and has been spending much time and energy sharing his expertise as a mentor to young Swiss entrepreneurs.
Originally from Fribourg, Switzerland, Baur began his career in finance at the age of 16, like many young people at that time, as a commercial apprentice at Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), one of the country’s most prestigious financial institutions. Apprentices were then expected to follow a lengthy, secure and prosperous career trajectory in the Swiss banking industry. And sure enough, Baur worked for many years at UBS as well as at Clariden Lieu, another well-known financial institution in Switzerland. Baur, who has an MBA from the University of Rochester and an Executive MBA from the University of Berne, has also served as board member at some of Switzerland’s bigger private banks.
Things began to change for Baur in 2008, when the financial crisis occurred worldwide—especially affecting the banking industry. And so at age 39, Baur willingly forsook the sizeable regular salary he’d been receiving from the banking industry for many years, and together with his partners Oliver Walzer and Max Meister, founded Swiss Start-up Factory in 2014—which has grown to become the biggest and best early stage start-up accelerator in the country. At Swiss Start-up Factory, Baur’s primary roles are fundraising and financing rounds.
Swiss Start-up Factory has done exceedingly well since its inception. Two years after they began, Baur and his partners at Swiss Start-up Factory became partners with CTI Invest, with Baur being named deputy managing director of CTI. Almost simultaneously, Swiss Start-up Factory entered into a partnership with Fintech Fusion, and began its accelerator program with the Goldback Group.
Outside of Swiss Start-up Factory, Baur has been on the panel of judges at the pitching competition at Switzerland’s University of St Gallen START Summiteer. He was also one of the key speakers on the Investor Panel at the WorldWebForum Next Generation. Baur’s career path is so notable that profiled in the Wall Street Journal last December.