Having been fascinated by banking and finance from an almost oddly early age, Mike Baur has a pure banking background, having worked for over 20 years in the cornerstones of European private banking, for UBS and Credit Suisse. Since about 2013, he has entered the startup and early stage investor world, and acts as principal in judging startups and investing when everything feels right.
Mr. Baur went on to co-found the Swiss Start Up Factory, and has a great wealth of information and wisdom he can share with startups and people thinking about creating a new business. Launched in 2014, the Swiss Start Up Factory is an incubator and accelerator based in Zurich, Switzerland, allowing entrepreneurs with great ideas access to deep-pocketed capital and social worlds of the Switzerland old money.
According to Mr. Baur, the team is the most important thing in a startup. They look for the match of co-founders, and are seeking startups where the co-founders have great chemistry. Primarily, Baur’s perspective is that a team of course needs technicians, but also needs managers and salespeople. So if you have a team full of only engineers, they are going to have elementary blind spots in sales and business administration that bite them in ways Baur’s teams would be more immune.
Key wisdom is to, as Mike Baur says, go the extra mile, and cover all your scenarios to mitigate the risk of damage from surprises. The extra mile is more than just working an extra hour here or there, it’s about actually getting things closed out on your business versus your lifestyle. Meaning, either everything within the business is either fully automated, so you really only have audit responsibilities and otherwise are not involved with the daily operation of the business, or you just exit and sell the business entirely.
In business, it’s a common phrase to hear, “Run your business like you’re selling it.” This has to do with all levels of business management, and lends to the best practices.
He publicly voices his preferences for companies that have sales right into their DNA, rather than trying to stretch abstract engineering-heavy concepts to today’s market. When probed, Baur always harps on the importance of having sales leadership at every step of a company’s inception.