Nathaniel Ru is one of three founders and co-CEOs in a restaurant startup named Sweetgreen. Ru is still quite young and has many plans to take this company forward and potentially disrupt the current fast food landscape. He was once interviewed by Fortune Magazine to talk about what he believes is important to the business. Ru said one thing he’s learned is to delegate responsibilities to others besides him and his two friends, Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet (http://www.thehoya.com/nathaniel-ru-jonathan-neman-and-nicolas-jammet/). The reason is because teambuilding is fundamental and Ru admits sometimes it can be difficult to want to let go of work. He says he admires Under Armour and its leader Kevin Plank in the way they’ve branded themselves.
Nathaniel Ru’s story of cofounding Sweetgreen happened not long ago on the campus of Georgetown University. Ru, Neman and Jammet all are the sons of immigrant entrepreneurs and they wanted to create a brand in a field that hadn’t been touched before. They felt Georgetown lacked a lot of alternative food options in the salad area, so they decided to startup their own salad chain on campus. It took a little while to get going, but the company utilized a small shop on campus and survived the winter of 2007 when most students went home. Learn more: http://fortune.com/2016/02/18/sweetgreen-entrepreneurs/
In the years that followed, venture capital investors started taking an interest in Sweetgreen and Ru and his friends began opening new locations. One thing about Sweetgreen is it really doesn’t have a central headquarters, though the group most often meets in Venice Beach in Los Angeles. But Ru and his friends have never embraced central corporate control as part of their business model. They believe in getting their hands dirty and working the restaurants alongside their other employees and treating them like family.
Ru, Neman and Jammet also understand how mobile technology has played huge role in today’s business environment and want Sweetgreen to take the same role as Uber in the restaurant industry. All Sweetgreen customers can order online, a feature that’s still lacking in many of today’s restaurants. Sweetgreen now has over 40 restaurant openings and has gained over $95 million in venture capital investing. Learn more: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/sweetgreens-nathaniel-ru-everything-last-longer/
A select few teenagers fantasize about a dream career and are then disciplined and fortunate enough to have it become a reality. Mike Baur was one of those teenagers. Growing up he was fascinated by finance and banking. He committed himself to do the hard work necessary to attain the goal of a career in banking. By age 19, the Fribourg, Switzerland native had graduated from the University of Rochester New York and the University of Bern with MBAs.
When he was offered the opportunity to take an entry level position with UBS, the financial institution, as a commercial apprentice, he accepted it. Over the next 20 years he worked for a number of other well-know financial institutions including Clariden Leu. When he retired at age 39, Mike Baur was on large Swiss private bank’s executive board.
After retiring, rather than spend his time having fun and living the life of luxury, Mike Baur became interested in the future of Switzerland and the role young entrepreneurs could play in bolstering the country’s economy now and in the future. He decided he would do something to help young business people to succeed. Working with his friends Oliver Walzer and Max Meister, Mike Baur co-founded Swiss Startup Factory in 2014.
The company runs a series of intensive 3 month programs each year for several groups of businesses. The Swiss Startup Factory provides financial support, mentorship, office space and a slate of other services. The program also connects the young entrepreneurs to a network of entrepreneurs and investors all over the world. It has been an unqualified success. Swiss Startup Factory is Switzerland’s number one rated privately-owned new business incubator.
But Mike Baur is not satisfied with just the success of Swiss Startup Factory. He has supported other efforts to create programs like it. He was a START Summiteer jury member. It’s a start-up pitching contest for new businesses held at the University of St. Gallen. Baur was named CTI Invest’s deputy managing director when the company partnered with Swiss Startup Factory to help more young business people. Mike Baur and Swiss Startup Factory also worked on accelerator programs with Fintech Fusion and the Goldback Group in 2016.
Businessman and entrepreneur Mike Baur and his partners at Swiss Startup Factory have received extensive media coverage, praise, support, accolades and awards for the effective, meaningful work they are doing with young entrepreneurs in Switzerland.