The 2008 Great Recession definitely changed how governments have become involved in banking and the laws about who can be eligible for various products, and this has included countries like Switzerland where banks are no longer a safe harbor for corporations looking to evade taxes. Switzerland has actually downsized the number of banks today from its numbers of 2000, and that’s part of the reason former bank advisor Mike Baur left his job to become an independent venture capitalist. Starting businesses from scratch has started to become a hot trend in Switzerland, particularly in the Internet of Things and financial technology niches. Baur believes there’s several components that must be included in the blueprint to starting businesses.
Starting a business will mean not just forming your idea, but mapping out the path to assembling your team, forming the strategy to market and sell your product and then taking the initiative to network and pitch your plan. Mike Baur also mentioned that you should be ready for disruptions to your business, especially when a brand new competitor comes into the market, and to do that your strategy should be adaptable. But most importantly Baur says you need to be ready to take risks and realize that the only thing that can hold you back is fear of failing.
Back when Mike Baur decided to go into banking, it was something that you could start out in as an apprentice and then earn higher education and promotions while training. Today with all the changes that have come to banking in Switzerland, that’s not so much the case, but it did help Baur reach a position that few people have reached even when staying in banking long-term. He was helping wealthy clients make investment decisions by his early 20s at UBS Bank, and then when he joined Clariden Leu he became a managing director of commercial banking for 7 years.
Mike Baur started finding banking to become burdensome and not as satisfying as it once was, so in 2014 he started assembling the team and sponsoring investment firms that would eventually form the Swiss Startup Factory. He also has hosted many startup seminars at the University of St. Gallen and has presented the challenges of winning venture capitalists in a unique and entertaining way. Baur also has made blockchain technology and cryptocurrency part of his investments, and he was responsible for starting Fintech Fusion.