Category Archives: Business Leaders

Mike Baur Makes Connections to Push Swiss Startup Factory’s Accelerator Program

Published / by FitGuru

Mike Baur is a co-founder of the Swiss Startup Factory, the top independent and privately financed early stage ICT Startup Accelerator in Switzerland. Mike makes his home in Fribourg in Switzerland. As a teenager he was already interested in the field of Banking & Finance. He made a career out of his passion. Mike Baur spent almost 20 years in Swiss Private Banking. He started at as an apprentice at UBS and work his way up to a board member of a large Swiss Private Bank.

In 2014, Mike started the Swiss Start Up Factory, with his two partners. He spends a lot of time helping to motivate Swiss youth entrepreneurship. He supports startups both financially and as a mentor. He earned an MBA from the University of Rochester New York. He earned an Executive MBA from the University of Bern.

What is the Swiss Startup Factory

The Swiss Startup Factory is an Accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs realizes their dreams come true, by putting business ideas to the test to determine their chances for success. Participants develop a customized playbook that lays out the business strategy of their particular idea They learn how to take the steps required to reach business success with their projects. The boot camp finishes in a Pitch Night, where participants present their idea, with a story-line, design and strategy.

The program team’s participants up with selected advisory teams to serve as mentors. The mentors are veterans from a variety of businesses and industries who have experienced business success. The mentors work beside you and provide ongoing support as you build your idea into a true business.

The most beneficial aspect of the Accelerator program is the connections and network of people you will be connected with. The people who have completed this program, remain in touch with their peers, mentors and investors long after it ends.

Cooperation With CTI Invest

In January, 2016 CTI Invest and Swiss Startup Factory started a cooperation to push the development of the Start Up arena. The two companies have launched a website with Podcasts of successful Swiss Start Ups. Swiss Startup Factory will provide assistance to CTI Invest by helping set up events and training. These will start during 2016.

Read more on fintechfusion.com about Mike Baur.

Talk Fusion From Humble Beginnings To Global Giant

Published / by FitGuru

Talk Fusion is a video communication platform and has grown into one of the largest online video content providers globally. It is challenging the likes of MegaVideo, CBS, Viacom, AOL and Yahoo. The Talk Fusion platform utilizes a bit of a different approach when it comes to the marketing and selling of their product suite. The CEO and creator Bob Reina, previously had great success in the direct selling industry and therefore has applied the platform to his own business. Having a vision for success and a drive to succeed, Bob Reina has applied the same recipe of success that brought him rewards during his time as a direct selling professional to the Talk Fusion platform.

The first product was launched in 2007 after an incident in 2004 made Bob Reina realize that there was a market opportunity for a certain product that had not been conceptualized yet. This product was the software that would enable the user to embed a video clip within an email. Bob Reina made this discovery when trying to send a video clip to his friends via email, soon to find out that this was not possible. He even went as far as to question his provider about it and was told that this was not possible.

At this point Bob Reina realized that there was an opportunity here to make something that would change the way we use video for ever. Dr. Jonothan Chen who is Bob Reina’s longtime friend was the first person he confided in with his idea. Jonothan knew that it was possible and set off to work. The rest is history. The first application known as video email was launched in 2007 and is now available in almost 85 countries around the world. The product offering has also expanded into 3 other applications each with a unique purpose but combining video communication. This powerful application suite has changed the way video is being used to promote a brand or simply stay connected with family and friends on a global scale.

Soros Worries About 2008 Repeat

Published / by FitGuru

The billionaire investor George Soros has warned investors that the current market conditions are similar to conditions last seen in 2008. This of course is worrying to investors because 2008 and 2009 were such bad years for investing and for the economy as a whole.

There are two major things in the economy that are still bothering Soros about this market. One of the things is what is hitting the news wires every day. That is the Chinese economic problems. In the last few days the Chinese stock markets have tumbled so much in a single day that the operators had to use newly installed circuit breakers. These are measures that are only supposed to be used when there is a major run on the stocks within the market. As such, it is troubling to have seen those circuit breakers used twice in the last two trading days.

The other thing that Soros has said he is worried about is the Greek debt crisis. Bloomberg reports that Soros has stated that the Greek debt crisis is a worse situation than the housing market crisis during the 2008-2009 recession.

Other experts in the markets are not yet calling for a recession, but they rarely get that worried about how things are doing. You will see many so called experts say that they called for a recession after the recession is already over.

Organizations such as the World Bank have already cut the growth forecast for the economies of the world from 3.3% down to 2.9%. That may not sound like a big drop, but in terms of what that represents for the entire economy of the world, it is a rather large number. It goes to show that the World Bank is concerned with growth levels as they relate to this year.

Some important market indicators are pointing towards rough times ahead. Consider for example the manufacturing ISM indicator which fell to 48.2. According to The Economist, if this indicator falls below 50 it is a sign of trouble in most cases.

At this point it seems to be the consensus belief that the stock market is destined to take a fall in 2016. The main question is just how bad the fall is going to be. Soros has taken the pessimistic view that the market could well be set up for a 2008 style collapse. He has made billions of dollars trading in the markets and being directly involved. It may be worth taking some time to see what he has to say about what is about to happen.

There are no guarantees in the market, and it is not official that the market will fall just because George Soros believes that it is likely. However, it is one opinion that deserves more weight than some of the others out there. At least his opinion is based on real data and real things happening in the economy. He is not the only one who believes that this is the reality we are about to experience, so take note.

Learning From Business Leaders In Chicago

Published / by FitGuru / 1 Comment on Learning From Business Leaders In Chicago

Business Leaders in Chicago

In that regard, there are a number of entrepreneurs and business savvy professionals you can look up to in your city. If you live in the city of Chicago, you also have a number of business leaders in Chicago that you can look to in order to learn the ropes and get an idea of how they made their wealth. Majeed Ekbal’s Vimeo page explores the fact that he is a strong example of business in action.

When it comes to business in the Chicago area, Majeed Ekbal has set a strong precedent and standard for strong entrepreneurship. He has been in business for decades running companies such as Expresso, a catering company that was wildly successful due to its attention to detail and customer service. He attended the District of Columbia’s American University and has been putting his business skills to use ever since.

He has also been active in numerous real estate deals throughout the Chicago area and beyond. He has set a strong standard and precedent in this regard and is looked upon as one of the highly credible business leaders in Chicago.

By researching his business practices, you can replicate some of his steps and philosophies in order to make sure that you are on the right track when it comes to carving out your own success in the industry. Everybody has to start somewhere, so the best thing you can do is to learn from such an entrepreneur and make sure that you are diligently taking notes and putting your best foot forward in order to understand exactly how they conduct themselves.

When researching Chicago business leaders, it pays to read their blogs and become active on social media to engage them in conversation. Many of these Chicago entrepreneurs make themselves available to the public in these sort of formats, giving you an unprecedented opportunity that you otherwise would not have had. You can also read interviews that they have done with publications in the Chicago area and beyond to get a glimpse into the way that their mind operates, so that you can borrow some ideas and refine them to fit your own business ventures.

Highland Capital Management and James Dondero

Published / by FitGuru / 1 Comment on Highland Capital Management and James Dondero

Highland Capital Management is an alternative investment management firm based in Dallas with a reported $18.7 billion in managed assets. The firm was founded in 1993 and currently has offices in New York City, Singapore and London.

The company has evolved quite a bit over the past twenty years. Highland’s storied history begins in January of 1990 when co-founders Mark Okada and James Dondero began a joint venture with Protective Life Insurance Corporation, with 60% ownership belonging to Protective Life and the remainder belonging to Okada and Dondero. The venture specialized mainly in fixed income markets with the inclusion of the management of senior secured bank loans. 1993 saw the venture evolve into an investment adviser, registered with the SEC and known as Protective Asset Management Company. In May of 1997, the co-founders bought out Protective Life Insurance Corporation’s share to become the sole owners of the company and changed the name to Ranger Asset Management L.P. The company’s name was changed to Highland Capital Management in the following year. Okada and Dondero began the industry’s first commingled bank loan fund and founded an alternate investment 40 Act platform in the year 2000. Expansion continued when the company entered the mutual fund market in 2004 and further diversified it’s product offerings when the company acquired two floating rate funds from Columbia Asset Management. Further expansion was celebrated when the firm opened the Singapore office in 2008 and the office in Seoul in 2011.

Highland Capital Management continues it’s rapid growth today as an investment firm which is independently owned and has over 180 employees engaged in managing a wide range of products for both institutional and retail clients. In addition to offices in Seoul, Singapore and New York, the firm has a physical presence in São Paulo. Clients include high-net worth individuals, corporations, financial institutions, foundations and endowments, pension plans and government entities.

Highland’s co-founder and president, James Dondero, has been a Chartered Financial Analyst since 1987 and is a Certified Management Accountant.  His management experience includes preferred and common stocks, emerging markets, leveraged bank loans, derivatives, investment grade corporates and mortgage-backed securities. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of MGM Studios and American Banknote Corporation. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of NexBank, Cornerstone Healthcare and CCS Medical.