Category Archives: Businessmen

Mike Baur, the Startup Accelerator

About Mike Baur

Mike Baur is the co-founder and Managing Partner at Swiss Startup Factory (SSUF). He was a former banker at Clariden and Sallfort. He founded SSUF with an aim of supporting young entrepreneurs wishing to invest in the digital technology industry. He has about 20 years of experience in Swiss banking industry. He is currently accorded with duties of fundraising and financing rounds at the Swiss Startup factory.

Swiss Startup Factory

Swiss Startup Factory is based in Zurich. It was founded in 2014 as a platform that would offer entrepreneurial support to digital entrepreneurs. It runs a three-month startup accelerator program. The program acts as an avenue through which young entrepreneurs can access services such as, coaching, mentoring, office space, and entrepreneurial connections that help them achieve their goals.

Collaboration between Fusion and Swiss Startup Factory

Fusion and Swiss Start-up factory formed a cooperation based on a mutual goal of establishing an outstanding relationship with the French and the Swiss German parts of Switzerland. Both accelerators work together in defining their goals and setting up their strategies. They help startups transform ideas into prototypes so that they can smoothly kick off production and step into the market.

Through the Swiss-Fusion association, the companies’ professionals join forces to help entrepreneurs through various startup processes. The services offered under the association include start-up acceleration, cooperation with higher learning institutions, mentor network exchange, joint events, and shared office space for startups.

CTI Invest and Swiss Startup Factory

Starting January 2016, CTI Invest and Swiss Startup Factory began a close cooperation to offer supplementary support to Swiss Startup training. To strengthen the relationship between the two organizations, Jean-Pierre joined the Swiss Start-up Factory as a Managing Partner. Similarly, Mike Baur was appointed deputy Managing Director of CTI Invest.

CTI Invest is a leading financing venture for Swiss Factory startups. Through the cooperation, the leading financing platform for innovative start-ups in Switzerland will collaborate with the Swiss Startup Factory. The two organizations will organize events and offer training for start-ups. The two firms launched a website and posted podcasts and videos of beneficiaries of the Swiss start-up program.

Swiss Start-Up training

Swiss Startup Factory will Support CTI Invest in organizing events and training startups through the Swiss Start-Up training program. The organizations work together in various fields. CTI Invest, on the other hand, will provide support for any selection, coaching of, or Demo Day for investors participating in the Swiss Startup Factory accelerator program.

Dick DeVos: Life & Business

Dick DeVos is currently getting into the liquor business. His Grand Rapids-based holding company, Windquest Group, has begun the process of purchasing Coppercraft Distillery. While Windquest hasn’t confirmed its ownership of the entity, it is the primary party to accept mail and documents on behalf of the entity. On January 20, the LLC approved the license transfer which will kick start the first steps of the process. This will involve a site visit and approval of sale, however, a transfer of a liquor license can take up to six months to be approved. The current owner of Coppercraft Distillery, Walter Catton III, said he was not able to talk about any deal between him and DeVos at this point, but he has been looking to expand his distillery and tasting room with the help of an investor. This distillery provides liquor to more than 100 locations throughout Michigan which vary from individual clients to restaurants. Once approved, Windquest will add the Coppercraft Distillery to their growing list of businesses which include Reserve Wine and Foods, The Stow Company, Boxed Water and Neurocore, and many other investment firms.

According to Wikipedia, Dick DeVos was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has been involved in the community as well as the family business since he was a child. He is a graduate of the Forest Hills public school system and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University. He also attended, but his not graduate from, Harvard Business School. He is married to Betsy DeVos, the former chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party, which DeVos is quite involved in too according to MLive.
DeVos’ business prospects began in 1974, where he worked with Amway Corporation. He eventually became one of Amway’s vice presidents which gave him responsibility for the company throughout its operations in 18 countries. The DeVos family got ownership of the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic in 1991 and Dick became the CEO and President of the team. In 1993, DeVos left the Orlando Magic behind and became Amway’s president. During his time as Amway’s president, he expanded the company to more than 50 countries. Read more about Dick’s involvement in Amway Corporation here:
DeVos is now actively involved with the Windquest Group as a holding company and he and his wife have a family foundation that serves as a promoter for organizations that position local and global communities for viability and growth.

A Strong U.S. Dollar Is Helping Some Investors And Hurting Others

The U.S. dollar had had a great year. In 2015 so far, the dollar has had an overall gain of 49.73 percent. In September 2015, the dollar gained 9.75 percent, and that has some investors like James Dondero, the president of Highland Capital Management, wondering what will happen next. According to Mr. Dondero one of the most important dollar gains was against the Brazilian real. The real is at the lowest point it has been in 13 years. The exchange is 3.98 r to 1 dollar, and that means companies that buy goods from Brazil with dollars have a huge advantage at the moment.

James Dondero said the Central Bank is offering about $3 billion in dollar swap contracts to stop the devaluation. Nothing, including the Feds announcement that they would keep interest rates between 0 and 0.25 percent, has helped the foreign exchange in Brazil. This year has been a tough one for Brazil, and the recent downgrade of their credit rating by S&P hasn’t helped foreign investors recoup some of their losses this year. In fact, it made matter worse.

The other issue that has investors worried is the 2016 Brazilian budget deficit. Highland Capital thinks the pending budget will just complicate investments in Brazil. The government will have to raise taxes, cut needed programs and put a lot of people out of work and that means the current recession could get worse before it gets better. Dondero thinks investors that have money in Brazil won’t see a return for 18 months, and that’s if the government can get its act together. The political situation in Brazil will continue, according to the economists that are watching the people of Brazil vs. President Rousseff battle intensify.

But Brazil is not the only trading partner that is experiencing economic and investment issues. China is a major trading partner of the United States, and right now the dollar is making some Chinese products more attractive. Investors that have interests in those companies will do well, but China limits the number of foreign investors that can participate in joint ventures. Most of those investors have been in the Chinese market for some time.

India has some great investment opportunities, according to Mr. Dondero. The only downside to investing in India is identifying products that have mass appeal in the U.S. market and other markets. Most products made in India appeal to the domestic market, and although that could mean nice profits, the real profits come when companies and products have a worldwide appeal. Technology in India is one bright spot, and oil is another.

The trick, as Dondero points out, is to forecast what is going to happen next in these foreign markets. That takes an enormous amount of research and a talent for picking products and services that have a long-term appeal. Highland Capital Management has been doing that for years for their clients. Dondero and Highland have more than $26 billion assets under management and that number continues to grow even when the world is facing another recession.

Marc Spark’s Bonn Óir Vodka Settles In On American Shores

The latest exciting name in vodka arrived in America from a European starting point. Bonn Óir (pronounced “bän ôr”) Gold Medal Vodka comes to the United States not from Russia or France. This vodka is a product of Ireland and derived from an Irish family recipe passed down through three generations, according to The Spirits Business.

This handcrafted Irish-American vodka has been touted by Bonn Óir creator and recipe family member Dan O’Shevlin as setting a “new standard” for vodka connoisseurs. Their recipe uses a top-grain of soft white wheat to produce its flavor. Other O’Shevlin vodka offerings include a lower calorie Bonn Óir Light, and a cinnamon-infused version labeled Irish Fire.

Bonn Óir vodka enjoyed critical acclaim in 2015. The brand was among the top 100 spirits recognized in the 2015 International Craft Spirit Competition in Los Angeles.

Backing for the O’Shevlin Importing Company happened thanks to an investment from Dallas-based Timber Creek Capital. Serial entrepreneur Marc Sparks is the founder, owner, and CEO of the private equity firm. Marc’s book “They Can’t Eat You” discusses his rise from a C+ average high school graduate to success, and then to the bottom before rising again to the top.

“Through my years of experiences I understand challenges and devastating circumstances entrepreneurship can bring. My passion is to help entrepreneurs build their dream and companies to critical mass through my experience,” Sparks said on the Timber Creek Capital blog.

The Many Economic Achievements of Vijay Eswaran

Vijay Eswaran was born on October 7, 1960, in Penang, Malaysia. He is the founder and CEO of the Qnet corporation, the executive chairman of the QI group of companies and a prominent figure in the realm of foreign philanthropic endeavors. According to the February 2013 edition of Forbes Asia, he was acknowledged as being number 25 in the top 50 richest men in the region. While in New York, Vijay received the 2012 New Global Indian award acknowledging his outstanding success in philanthropy and business excellence. Vijay Eswaran’s path of economic success is the product of many years of hard work and struggle, transforming his humble beginnings into a solid business empire.

Early Economic Training

In 1984, Vijay Eswaran completed his first degree in the field of socio-economics, graduating from the London School of Economics. After finishing school, he stayed in Europe for the next year to embark in a number of low paying jobs. Unafraid to roll up his sleeves and engage in a hard day’s work, Vijay put in his time working with his hands in construction in Belgium. He also spent time working as a grape picker in the vineyards of France. While in London, he took to the streets as a cab driver to earn additional money. Eventually, Vijay was introduced to the concept of binary system marketing. These insights into the world of business put Vijay on the path to become qualified by CIMA in the UK. Later, Vijay attended Southern Illinois University. In 1986, he graduated from SIU with an MBA.

While living in the United States, Vijay Eswaran worked with Synaptics. Synaptics operates in the computer and electronics industry, constructing viable human interface solutions for companies that sell electronic products. He also involved himself in MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) on his off time. After his time spent in the United States, Vijay returned to Malaysia, where he was asked to be involved in the Cosway group’s endeavor to start a business in the Philippines. It was at this juncture in his career that Vijay started thinking more intently about the advantages and potential of MLM business strategies.

The Path To Greater success

By 1998, Vijay was on his way to taking his ideas in MLM-based business structuring to the next level. At this time, he co-founded the QI group, a conglomerate of companies that offer a wide variety of eCommerse products across numerous industry niches. Today, the QI group operates in over ten countries, expanding its reach through a growing base of subsidiaries. Among his other accomplishments and lifetime achievements, Vijay Eswaran is a published author and has formed the Vijayaratnam and RYTHM Foundations. These foundations serve to promote social mentorship programs, and they are also instrumental in providing donations to other individuals and cheritable entities.