Waldemar Ariel Gala and Natalia Wrońska: 'You’re the One Who Decides the Fate of Your Business'
Is it a fate that determines our entrepreneurial future or a deeply engrained desire to change the world which drives our passion towards building innovative projects, taking risks and exploration of new heights?
The team behind the only private equity start up manufactory in Poland called punk internet is a firm advocate of “if you want it, go for it” attitude. Team members at punk internet call themselves naughty, provocative, unconventional, however they are dare enough to “look in the eyes of reality”. “Never lose motivation” – that’s their main motto and virtue. They came together to deliver one-of-a-kind and innovative projects and help other creative and enthusiastic entrepreneurs succeed in the European startup scene. Among the latest projects created by punk internet are webreligion (web agency which specializes in websites, webshops, apps, security and webdesign) and a crowdfunding app crowdmoney.
In today’s interview, CEO at punk internet Waldemar Ariel Gala shares his experience as a successful entrepreneur and uncovers some exciting facts from his journey as a startup founder. Natalia Wrońska, PR and Marketing Manager at punk internet, gives us more information about crowdmoney, the app which revolutionizes the way entrepreneurs go about executing crowdfunding campaigns.
Why did you choose an entrepreneurial journey?
WAG: From the very beginning I was focused on being independent and having the opportunity for making my visions come to life. When I was 16 years old I created a businessplan for my future company. I didn’t want to work for others and be imprisoned by that. I wanted to work for myself, create my own projects and put my heart into them. And It worked !
What attracts you the most about being an entrepreneur?
WAG: The overall process of making your visions come to life and the option for you to hold a full responsibility for making decisions and being part of the whole process from the beginning till the end. If you succeed, you feel absolutely happy. But, it doesn’t end my aspiration to achieve more. But if you fail, you have to gather data out of your defeat, build up your motivation and do it once again, but this time smarter and better.
What is success to you?
WAG: In the context of a startup business, success prevails if the company can maintain itself on its own. These are the situations when a startup has such a strong position that it doesn’t need investors to help it expand or invest more money. Regarding myself, I would say that for me success has nothing to do with material things, rather it is a mental state.
You’ve already launched tech startups in Poland and Germany. How would you describe the difference between Polish and German startup scenes?
WAG: The German startup scene, especially the one in Berlin, is more receptive than the Polish one. In Berlin everyone is treated equally. You can receive help or help others when you are ready for that. It is a great place which offers incredible opportunity to network with like-minded people and enlarge your contact list. The con of Berlin’s startup scene is that many people still spend more time talking about ideas than, actually, taking steps to make ideas happen. It is totally different in Poland – here the startups take their job seriously and present their final product to the investors when it is absolutely ready. Polish people are very creative, experienced, full of wisdom and are, usually, better educated. This, combined with an innate desire to improve in the pursuit of their goals, places them amongst solid co-workers. The polish startups still need to relax a little bit and be more open – we could learn this from our western neighbors. In Poland the definition of private equity is still not known very well. Most of the incubators are institutions which function thanks to the funds from the European Union. I want to change that. That is why I created the acceleration program in Poznan called the Poznan Valley which is aimed at opening startups in Poland for private investors from Germany and vice versa.
What inspired you to launch startup manufactory punk internet? What is the main idea behind this project?
WAG: First of all I wanted to prove that I am not a “One hit wonder“. This is a mark that got stuck with me a couple of years ago thanks to my success at the telecommunication industry. Now I want to prove that I can do that constantly. I wanted to test my skills at startups and focus on the new technologies – Internet, mobility and programs are the fields that turn me on. Nowadays, these are the rapidly developing areas that have a huge potential. When I decided to add the punk image to my company? Well, punk internet reflects 100 % of my life’s and business philosophy. I do know how it is to be broke and have nothing. I do also know that you should never give up in the pursuit of your dreams. That is why I created a company which does not know the word „compromise“, just as I do. I am a little bit provocative, naughty, but at the same time fully professional and involved in my job. All team members at punk internet share the same values and belief, and, thanks to that, we were able to build a perfect team.
Last month punk internet launched a new project crowdmoney. Tell us more about it.
NAT: Crowdmoney is a new crowdfunding platform. The app is dependable, fast and user-friendly. The process of adding a new project takes less than a blink of an eye. You can present your idea using a text, picture or a video. And what is the most important is that crowdmoney gives users huge support from social media, and this significantly increases chances to raise more finds. There were many platforms that created opportunities for fundraisers, but none of them showed the users how to do this properly. The essence of crowdfunding is to get a large group of people to finance a particular project. Nowadays, it might not be a piece of cake. But we have social media! The creators of crowdmoney share a solid expertise in this field and know perfectly how to use this tool so that users will get more benefit from it. That is why their app offers a full integration with the most popular social platform. Gone are the days when you had to post boring links on the News Feed and wait long hours till your project, finally, gets some traction! Now you can install crowdmoney app on your Facebook profile. It is quick and easy.
What sets crowdmoney apart from other crowdfunding platforms available in the market?
NAT: These are things, that I have mentioned before – quickness, intuitiveness, simplicity and of course huge support from social media. There are only three steps to start the campaign (registration and filling in the profile info, submitting project, payment of the subscription fee). After that each user gets his own campaign page in our app. The Facebook app is automatically connected to the page. The user can attach the Facebook app to their Facebook fanpage. All information added to the campaign page is instantly transferred to the Facebook app – they are both perfectly integrated. Enough with pasting boring links on the News Feed! Now you can install crowdmoney app on your Facebook fanpage and start raising funds among your internet community. It is also important to mention that crowdmoney doesn’t have hidden costs like other platforms. All prices are clear, user can see them on mainpage. Setting up a charity project is free.
What steps, in your opinion, should startup founder take to create successful crowd founding campaign?
NAT: The most important thing is large and active community or fanbase who care of your project – these are people who can support your project. Other things are credible storytelling and individualism (instead of copying other ideas). It is also good and of great value to talk to independent advisors who can evaluate your project in an objective way and also collect feedback from your potential customers.
What advice would you give to first-time startup founders?
NAT, WAG: Well, we have six advices for the young entrepreneurs.
1. Listen to other people‘s advices, but, besides that, use your entrepreneurial intuition and heart. You are the one who decides the fate of your business.
2. Save money and gather reserves. They might come in handy during the time of crisis.
3. Be aware of who are you working with. Look for reliable mentors and follow their lead.
4. Be more deliberate when it comes to choosing investors, eliminate irrelevant funds and do not give away too much to others.
5. When it comes to your business act on a long- term basis.
6. Do it for the love, not for the money!
Waldemar Ariel Gala – CEO & Founder
Natalia Wrońska – PR & Marketing Manager
The interview is published by Natalie Myhalnytska
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