During 2014, Mike Baur co-founded the Swiss Startup Factory (SSUF) along with Oliver Walze and Max Meister. It has the goal to support entrepreneurial efforts starting new companies, which introduce market disrupting innovations that have the potential to become global companies. These innovations may change the status quo, introduce new inventions, services, and products as well as create new business models.
The companies that the SSUF supported so far include:
My Base Camp:
- My Base Camp: A mountain tour guide company
- Base58 Capital: Cryptoassets management fund
- MoveAgain: Instant price quotes for moving
- Evolute: A wealth management company
- Snowcookie: An Internet of Things sports platform
- GetLocal: Online concierge
- GOWAGO: Digital car buying
- IDUN: Body monitoring electrodes
- Avaneo: Automated bookkeeping service
- Joineer: Employee loyalty programs
- WeaVR: Social Virtual Reality
- Beaconsmind: Point-of-sales services
- Carhelper: Booking service for discount car repairs
- Struckd: Game creation system for mobile apps
- Diplomero: Online learning and teaching system
- Blinkers: Bicycle safety system
The core support offered by SSUF is a three-month long program for early-stage startup companies, which provides operating funds, support services such as office space, as well as mentoring and coaching. SSUF also has access to a large network of investors and entrepreneurs that can help early-stage companies.
Mike Baur’s History
Mike Baur spent over two decades as a Swiss banker. Before creating SSUF, he worked for Clariden Leu and UBS. He left the banking sector to pursue his interest in investing in startups. Baur served as a judge on the panel for START Summiteer to review the startup pitches in a contest for St. Gallen University. After formalizing his efforts, with the founding of SSUF in 2014, Baur created a funding partnership for SSUF during 2016 with CTI, the Goldback Group, and Fintech Fusion. This provided more financing for startups supported by SSUF.
Mike Baur’s Key Advice for Entrepreneurs
Mike Baur advises the founders of startup companies to expect the early accelerator period to be wild and very intense. He believes in high levels of productivity and early market testing.
He suggests getting up early, finishing all email correspondence, and then spending the rest of the day working personally with the people involved instead of sitting in front of a computer screen.
The idea is to focus on the most urgent and important things, which need to get done, in order to create a high-level of productivity each day.
Early Market Testing
Test any innovative idea early to make sure potential customers really want it. Build a small amount of the product and make it available to early adopters. Measure the market response. Learn from the feedback that may be both positive and negative and then adjust the strategy accordingly. Validating results is Baur’s key tool that he uses to create success.
Baur feels that entrepreneurs who work hard and test products at an early stage will understand what the market wants and what it does not want. Learn more at Swiss Startup Factory.