Mobile technology and the brewing industry may now be merging together, or at least that’s what young innovators at the Swiss Startup Factory are pushing for. SSUF cofounder and executive chairman Mike Baur helped organize a beer hack event along with Feldschlösschen Brewery CEO Thomas Amstutz, and it featured many of the organization’s top tech developers and coders forming new industry ideas. The young entrepreneurs attending the brewery were given a tour of the facility first, then they gathered with several of the brewery’s managers, other SSUF leaders and Baur himself at the Westhive to put their new beer hack ideas to work. The areas they needed to address with the beef hack were digital, product marketing and experience. One standout winner of the hack was “U-Beer,” an app that lets you order beer from just about anywhere and provides quick delivery. All projects completed at the hack were brought back to the SSUF to be used in investor pitches.
Mike Baur got into startup investing and founding the SSUF after he realized that working in commercial banking was no longer right for him. Working at a big bank was considered a high honor in Switzerland back in 1991 when Baur was only 16 and entering his apprenticeship at Union Bank of Switzerland. Most young men went to their occupation by way of apprenticeship at that time, and Baur actually had quite a financial acumen. He kept earning promotion after promotion with UBS, and he moved to Clariden Leu in 2008 to become a commercial bank board member. But the recession of that year brought in changes that he soon grew dissatisfied with, and six years later he quit his banking job.
What Mike Baur realized was that investing in new businesses and pouring in the resources to turn new developers into leaders could spark a brand new part of Switzerland’s economy. He began meeting with college professors and advisors, students and independent boutique firm executives and laying out the plan for an accelerator with a structured program. The SSUF launched in late 2014 and after taking in its first batch of attendees, new companies became visible in its portfolio. Baur loves what he does along with CEO Max Meister and chief operating officer Oliver Walzer which is constantly interacting with and coaching the young entrepreneurs. He has high hopes of Switzerland one day running its own Silicon VA kind of place just like the US and Sweden currently have.