Mike Baur’s Contest At START Summit

You might immediately think of tryouts for a professional baseball team when you hear about a pitch contest, but this is actually what people who are starting new companies are doing at startup conferences in Switzerland. Mike Baur, the Chairman of an incubator company known as the Swiss Startup Factory also has spoken at a conference known as the START Summit which discusses high tech developments and ways to market startups. START has open pitch contests where attendees can either offer impromptu pitches, or they can display full presentations to investors. Baur also has offered mentorship sessions for students and business-minded people to give information on building structured startups.


Mike Baur went from a traditional job in banking to now doing things on his own time and in more unconventional settings. Banking was a job Baur loved at first because of the investment information he learned from his superiors. He went from apprentice to management level at UBS Bank and was a favorite of many on the bank’s board of directors. He appeared to be moving toward a comfortable retirement once his banking career was over, but in 2008 everything changed when the financial recession from the US came to UBS Bank. Baur had to leave UBS and tried to stay on course with his banking career when he joined the management team at Clariden Leu, but he saw a whole new slough of regulations hit banking that he opposed, and he felt he could do better than constantly working in an office all day. He decided building a startup investment firm while risky, could be a real boost for the changing Swiss economy.


Baur had connections with investment advisors and venture capital firms, and he also knew he needed a mass media marketing company to promote his startup investment company. He and Max Meister partnered with Goldback Group and several other sponsors to get the Swiss Startup Factory up and running, and Red Bull Media has been it’s main marketing channel. Basically the way the SSUF works is by allowing anyone with a business idea to apply for a three-month training program, and they’re accepted if they pass the vetting. The three months are filled with activities that test the capacity of entrepreneurs to think under pressure, show entrepreneurs how to capture the attention of investors and give them an office to work out of if they pass the course. Baur is hoping to change the Swiss business community from its old ways into an innovative environment for the future.


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