Mike Baur : Risk Taking with Startups Whose Successes Create Wealth

Mike Baur is a business entrepreneur and is notably educated with the right kind of business experience promoting business startups. Children begin their lives as entrepreneurs with startup lemonade stands. Starting up a business has now become far more sophisticated than squeezing lemons, but the risks are still there for a startup may turn out to be a lemon.


Baur was awarded an MBA from the University of Rochester New York. He further pursued an Executive MBA from the University of Berne.


Mike Baur has spent 20 years in the private banking industry at Clariden Leu, a Swiss private bank, and he made a career advance to UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland), where he was schooled in commercial transactions and became an executive board member.


Mike Baur, at the age of 39, in 2014, leaped into the unknown and co-founded the Swiss Startup Factory AG, which is a corporation limited by share ownership. Baur was named the Executive Chairman, and he is also a co-founder and Director of the Swiss Startup Association. Baur’s critical function is fundraising and financing rounds which are to fund operations, expansion, or a capital project at the behest of the Swiss Startup Factory.


The Swiss Startup Factory is located in Zurich, and promotes a three-month long startup accelerator program, which involves coaching, mentoring, provides office space, and a network of entrepreneurs. A startup accelerator, is similar to a business incubator, and seeks to fund and support ventures that have shown promise and are up and running, but needs guidance, mentoring and funding. There are exceptions when a startup has a business idea that a visionary venture capitalist, such as the Swiss Startup Factory, wants to develop.


The Swiss Startup Factory, in particular, is seeking digital entrepreneurs. A digital entrepreneur uses the Internet to create commercial opportunities and disseminate information.


In 2016, Baur was named deputy managing director of CTI Invest when Swiss Startup Factory partnered with CTI. CTI will co-organize events with the Swiss Startup Factory and offer training for startups. CTI already launched a website with Podcasts and Videos of Swiss startups. In the same time period, through Baur’s guidance, the Swiss Startup Factory, through its accelerator program, partnered with Goldbach Group and with the Fintech Fusion.


According to the Swiss Startup Factory’s website, its Mission is “to take startups and turn them into global companies that disrupt the prevailing norms, products, and business models.”


Jim Dondero’s Highland Capital Management

54-year-old, Jim Dondero spent his very first years in Hoboken, NJ. He got his accounting and finance degree from the University of Virginia opting to venture into real estate. The market, however, propelled him into the credit industry. He was already managing assets that were worth well over a billion for American Express, five years after graduation.



In 1993, James Dondero partnered with Mark Okada to form Highland Capital Management. After a few years, they moved their operation base to Dallas to minimize expenses and bought out their parent company. Currently, the company offers nonbank collateralized loan obligations. Jim Dondero’s greatest strength is his problem-solving techniques that allow him to analyze difficult debt deals and take advantage of emerging trends.



In 2000, Highland Capital Management opened its first alternative mutual fund. The company offers liquid and fairly inexpensive information to some of its best investments. The company employs over 50 investment professionals dedicated to researching and vetting viable ideas for the company to invest.



In 2012, the company took a chance on Australia spending a lot of resource and over two years to research about the economic cycle in the country. The company, then, heavily invested in 2014. Their efforts paid off in 2015 when the company was in economic recovery, and the prices of their investments shot up.



Around the same time, Highland Capital Management also invested in oil and gas companies that were not faring very well in the market due to the overdraft in 2015. Partnerships that owned such refineries were an easy buy at the time, though they still cost the company more than 15% of its funds. In 2016, the MLP index was back to 18.3% leading to a quadrupling of the positions held by Highland Capital Management.



The success of Highland Company can be attributed to two major things. The first is Jim Dondero’s business intuition and his inspiring leadership. The second is the strategic position the company has which makes it able to deal with investments that traditional investors avoid. The company is also passionate about giving back to the community as it currently supports nonprofit startups and a math technology to schools in Dallas.