Maybe you’ve heard of how new businesses can get started by getting an infusion of venture capital, but you may not know as much about how the business founders make their case to investors to get it. The key to getting venture capital is about how you can pitch it to investors or lending organizations, and that’s why Swiss entrepreneur and former bank manager Mike Baur hosts pitch contests. These pitch contests are hosted at either the START conference that Baur has been a part of for several years, or within the 3-month batch programs at the Swiss Startup Factory which Baur currently serves at as Chairman. These pitch contests range from impromptu speaking pitches to investors to actual full presentations with disclosures of business governance plans. The SSUF helps entrepreneurs form business plans and reach funding status.
Mike Baur brought the SSUF into existence and partnered with several other private firms a few years ago because he realized it was time to change how things were being done in Switzerland’s business world. Banking was certainly thought of as Switzerland’s top industry in the years prior and Baur certainly looks back at his time in that profession as a great career, but it was losing its appeal for him. Baur began at UBS Bank back in 1991 as a 16-year old apprentice and learned the basics of managing commercial accounts and large portfolios. At one time he was told by a senior human resources that he would retire at a certain age if he followed a drawn up plan while at the bank, but things changed by the time Baur was in a higher management position. Just before the 2008 financial crisis came to the UBS Bank branch that Baur worked at, he had taken a new job at Clariden Leu as an executive. But in the years following the crisis, regulations and changes to banking culture brought about Baur’s resignation.
Mike Baur met with Max Meister, the CEO of Goldback Group, Red Bull Media and several other companies to lay the groundwork for the SSUF in 2014. Since its initial launch, the SSUF has admitted thousands of startup founders and hundreds of those startups have been able to receive investments and office space for their businesses. The focus of the SSUF is to turn ideas into execution plans in just three months, and there are also activities included in the program that test the entrepreneur’s thinking and team work.