Mike Baur’s Serendipitous Career Turn: From Banking to Startups

After two decades in the Swiss banking industry, Mike Baur, along with partners Max Meister and Oliver Walzer, founded Swiss Start-up Factory in 2014. It has since grown to become the number one early stage, privately financed, independent ICT Startup Accelerator in Switzerland. Mr. Baur is Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Swiss Startup Factory and is in charge of fundraising and financing rounds.


Mr. Baur, who is originally from Fribourg, Switzerland, started as a commercial apprentice at UBS, one of Switzerland’s biggest banks, at the age of 16. This was fairly common during that time, and apprentices were expected to rise along the ranks and enjoy a prosperous lifetime career in banking. And for many years, Mr. Baur followed this trajectory, spending many years in both UBS and Clariden Lieu. At the height of his banking career, Mr. Baur was giving investment advice to some of the wealthiest clients in the world, and was also on the board of one of Switzerland’s largest private banks. Along the way he earned an Executive MBA from the University of Berne, and an MBA from the University of Rochester as well.


However, when the financial crisis hit in 2008, the banking industry was especially hard hit. Mike Baur took this all in stride. At the age of 39, he made an amazing career shift, deciding to work with startups. Mr. Baur admits that at first it was difficult to give up the large steady income he had been used to for years, but Swiss Startup Factory has done nothing but thrive, even from the beginning.


In early 2016 Swiss Startup Factory entered into a partnership with CTI Invest, and Mr. Baur was named deputy managing director of CTI. At around the same time, Mr. Baur spearheaded Swiss Startup Factory’s partnership with Fintech Fusion, as well as its accelerator program with the Goldback Group.


Mr. Baur has served as one of the judges at the START Summiteer at Switzerland’s University of St Gallen, a pitching competition for startups there. He has also been a speaker on the Investor Panel at the WorldWebForum Next Generation. Late last year, Mr. Baur’s career path was featured in the Wall Street Journal. Entrepreneurship is one of Mike Baur’s passions and he spends a lot time with young Swiss entrepreneurs, investing in them as well as serving a their mentor.


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