Mike Baur has been fascinated with the banking industry since he was a young teen. He was born in Switzerland and obtained an MBA at the University of Rochester and an Executive MBA at the University of Bern. Spending nearly 20 years in the swiss banking industry, Baur would climb the ranks all the way to board member and worked at respected banks, such as, Clariden and Sallfort. Mike Baur wants to share what he’s learned with fellow entrepreneurs and inspire the people of Switzerland to begin their own startup ideas. He truly believes that the next big Swiss company is a tech company because the time for “digital transformation and big business model shifts is now”. Baur wants to bridge the gap between old and new economies which is a problem that Swiss companies are facing. Baur acts as a digital board member to several Swiss companies because he makes it his mission to see companies adapt to new technologies. Mike is dedicated to “giving back” and is a key note speaker at universities, small and mid sized corporations, as well as startup events. His strong background in banking gives Mr. Baur a strong edge in Switzerland’s startup ecosystem.
Swiss Startup Factory is a company that Mike Baur and two others started back in 2014. Swiss Startup Factory’s mission is to provide young and talented entrepreneurs in Switzerland with a top professional grade execution platform that guides them through a business driven and dedicated process from A to Z with very ambitious milestones. Swiss Startup Factory involves a 3 month accelerator program that covers your startup from start to finish. The program even teaches you how to best utilize your work space. The services provided by Swiss Startup Factory are broad and vast including bookkeeping, invoice management, payroll management, financial statements, tax & VAT reporting, cash flow reports, and progress & financial health reviews. When you sign up with Swiss Startup Factory you can personalize any package to fit the need of your particular business. Struckd, Blinkers, Carhelper, and Beaconsmind are a few businesses that have gone through the Swiss Startup Factory.
Apart from business, Mike Baur LOVES his sports. Fribourg Gotteron would be his hometown hockey team of choice, and he is known to follow his favorite professional Tennis players at the ATP tour.
Chris Burch is an American investor, entrepreneur, and futurist. He attended Ithaca College where he graduated with a degree in business. Burch started his first company while he was in college. He co-founded Eagle’s Eye apparel with his brother and was able to grow it into a 100 million dollar business. The company was successful enough to be acquired by the Swire Group a few years later. Chris Burch started C. Wonder a few years ago. This is a home décor and accessories retailer. He grew C. Wonder into a profitable company. He sold it to Xcel Brands four years later. Burch is the founder of Burch Creative Capital which does brand activation for personalities and enterprises. The clients that he has worked with include Ellen DeGeneres, Poppin, and Cocoon9. Burch made his first investment in a technology company in 1999 when he invested in the Internet Capital Group. He has invested in various companies including BaubleBar, Chubbies, Soludos, and Blink Health.
Burch collaborated with Philippe Stark who is an architect and Alan Faena who is an hotelier to develop Faena Hotel+ Universe in Argentina. They were able to develop an underutilized tract of land into a luxury resort. Burch also acquired Nihiwatu and renovated into a world-class facility. It is a luxury resort in Indonesia. He has been involved in some charitable projects and has supported organizations such as Mt. Sinai Hospital, The Child Welfare League of China, and The China Association of Social Work. He also started the Christopher Burch Award for Humanism that recognizes individuals that are helping others in the community in a major way.
Burch recently wrote a piece on how technology and fashion feed each other to grow as industries. He starts by observing that many of the best-selling products of the last couple of decades were popular because they were in fashion at one point. These products include the boom box which was popular in the 70s, the Walkman, and the iPod. He then provides examples of how technology has been integrated into fashion by various designers. A Dutch fashion designer stated that technology provided endless possibilities for designers and a place for experimentation. She confirms that this is what led her to develop the drink-making dress called the Daredroid and a self-painting dress.
Burch cites other designers who used integrated fashion into technology to create products such as an airbag for cyclists and special gloves which help firefighters to communicate through gestures.