The Swiss Startup Factory is a new kind of investment firm in Switzerland that invests specifically in entrepreneurs and disruptive companies, and now joining this company is Antonio Gasser who will be expanding its marketing capabilities and managing the brand. Executive Chairman Mike Baur and CEO Max Meister have been pleased to welcome Gasser to the board as CMO because he has experience in media and publications including running a radio show known as “Tranceescape,” and later serving as CEO of Red Bull Media. Baur and Meister have stated that Gasser’s knowledge of big corporations and building ties with partners through media will add great value to the SSUF leadership and look forward to what he will bring.
Mike Baur has been the main driver of what the SSUF has been doing over the years, and he’s traveled around Europe speaking at seminars and hosting coaching sessions to help entrepreneurs learn how to make pitches to investors. Before he co-founded the SSUF, Baur was a top banking manager at UBS Bank and Clariden Leu. He started out as an apprentice at UBS back in 1991 at a time when going into banking was looked at as a great privilege in Switzerland. Baur was even given a chart that told him how to earn promotions, and if he followed this he would be able to retire comfortably the manager told him. When he was in his 20s, he became a portfolio advisor and received praise from the executives above him for meeting the needs of the banks wealthy clients. He stayed at UBS until 2008 when the financial crisis hit, and as the bank started its downturn Baur left for Clariden Leu. He served at Clariden Leu in upper management for a few years, but he left that position in 2014 never to return to banking.
Mike Baur wanted to go into startup investing not only because of what he was seeing happening with disruptive technology, but also because he wanted to change his approach and take risks. He teamed up with Meister and Goldback Group to start the SSUF, and he also began the vetting process so that investors could see that startups sponsored by the firm had a proven capability to give them a high ROI. The SSUF takes applicants into their 3-month accelerator program in batches, and if their business plan can pass the vetting process and survive the tough training activities during the period, they can be eligible for investments into their company and even have access to work space.