To anyone born in Switzerland, a career in banking is an obvious and lucrative choice, but after 20 years in the Swiss finance industry Mike Baur decided to take a risk, forever altering the trajectory of his career. In 2015, after dabbling in start-up investments, Baur, along with partners Max Meister and Oliver Walzer, founded the Swiss Start Up Factory.
The businessmen teamed up when they saw an obvious opening in the market. Switzerland has plenty of entrepreneurs with new ideas, and a long history of innovation, but was not experiencing the level of start up activity found in other dynamic economies. The Swiss Start Up Factory fills that void, allowing fledgling companies to thrive. The Factory’s services include securing funding, providing mentorship, and sharing networking connections.
Mike Baur sees random ideas as the genesis of successful start-ups. The next great idea is not something that can be searched for but is born out of a need for something that doesn’t already exist, like the Swiss Start Up Factory. So, suggests Bauer, if something is missing, create it.
Mike Baur’s initial aim was to encourage the nascent start up field in Switzerland, but the Factory also takes on international clients. The globalized economy, increasingly built on cheap, easy communication, is highly conducive to the thriving start-up field. For example, says Bauer, a website can be built from scratch in a matter of a few minutes, and programs like WhatsApp have democratized easy, real-time communication around the globe.
A successful start up, suggests Baur, is predicated on the acceptance of failure, a propensity to break the rules, and a work ethic designed for achievement. At the heart of this is what Baur calls the networking of ideas. To his thinking, it is absolutely vital to let go of any apprehensiveness and share thoughts. Those discussions and networking connections create a synergy of team-building and a forward movement of ideas. For Baur, success requires failure. The only mind-set that will thrive is to keep trying, over and over again if necessary. In Mike Baur’s estimation, the start-up environment is built to actively weed out the true potential. During periods of little forward movement, those who tough it out and persevere, will be the ones Mike Baur knows will succeed, and the Swiss Start Up Factory will be there to help.