Thomas Pratter – CEO Interview
When did you know you wanted to start your own company?
I was never a fan of starting a company for the sake of starting a company and being an entrepreneur. However, when I was working more and more in the blockchain field I met potential clients, got some ideas together and out of the necessity to serve those clients best, my company resulted.
What was your original idea for this company, and are you still doing that (or did you pivot, if so, what is the new focus and why)?
The original idea of providing market making solutions to clients is still what we are doing at Autowhale, however we just launched Liquidary.com – which is focusing on a B2C approach with cryptocurrency rankings, news, and stock screener.
How long did it take you to finally take the leap, and what was it that pushed you over the fence?
We did this pivot because we realized it was too risky to just rely on one – rather small – niche/target group (which were ICO companies). To broaden our target group and reach more people, it is intended to go hand-in-hand with our existing business at Autowhale and to result in a great symbiosis between both of our verticals.
Who inspired you to pursue your dream, and why do you think they believed in you?
I don’t think there is a person who inspired me. I always wanted to be different and actually changing something. Where does this come from? No idea! But I believe that building your own business is the best way to have an impact.
Who is your favorite mentor and why?
The best mentors I can recommend is having people around you who support you. It should be a bi-directional relation. Meaning you should learn from each other. For sure my parents are great mentors – the support of my mum, the knowledge/skills of my dad. In terms of working with exchanges in the crypto-space for sure, Sean was a great mentor and helped me understand this business.
What was the hardest thing about starting your company, and what did you do to make it through the first stage?
There was no hard thing about it – My co-founders are great, I set my expectations right and I had clients when starting the business. What was and still is hard though is growing the business. Success doesn’t come over night and requires a lot of (excellent) work and luck.
What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
Things are never as easy as you think they are. When you run a company, you have to be always alert and plan for the worst because out of all directions there can be obstacles that you need to overcome.
What has been the most amazing thing you have experience while running this company?
The most amazing thing that I experienced is definitely meeting so many interesting people and learning more every day that would probably take years to learn when you go to some university or take a course. The necessity of having to solve problems on your own forces you to quickly develop new skills and adjust to what’s coming.
What is the weirdest thing you have experienced while running this company, and how did you react to it?
The weirdest thing I experienced for sure was the fact that – especially in crypto – there are many scams.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made while running this company?
The best decision was to be open-minded and admit that the pivot shift described above was necessary. So far we are receiving tremendous feedback for Liquidary.com and are excited to grow its user base almost 2X every week.
What is the biggest mistake you made while running this company, and why do you think it happened?
The biggest mistake was something that you will learn quickly – especially working B2B. Namely, don’t work if you don’t get paid. There is a term called “knowledge theft,” which occurs when potential clients absorb your knowledge and never sign an actual contract. Don’t do that. Be clear with yourself how much and how long you are willing to commit to a potential client and everything above that point either needs to be in a paid relationship.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your company?
In the end of December 2019, we started building Liquidary.com. We planned to do a seed round, get some grants and travel around to meet the right investor. These plans unfortunately got destroyed by the pandemic – so we were there without funding and without a grant. We were close to stopping the development of Liquidary.com but then we pivoted some things and got an MVP out in September this year which required a lot of work and scarifices from our end, but I am sure it will pay off in the long-run.
What keeps you passionate about your company?
What keeps me passionate about my company is working and doing what I love which is fintech and blockchain. Apart from that I believe I would be terrible doing a single job each and every day – like being a programmer all day, being a sales person all day, etc. I love the combination of doing and learning new skills every day.
What daily routine have you developed to help you take care of your mind, body, and soul?
In my case, I am 24/7 somehow with my mind at my business. To take care of myself, I do some sports (table tennis, tennis, going to the gym), hanging out with people I like and at work, whenever possible do what I like I most.
What one thing would you like people to take away from this interview?
- Set your expectations right – 95%+ of startups fail
- Don’t just have an idea, but have clients or at least potentially interested ones
- Surround yourself with people who YOU find supportive
Submit your very own interview by pressing on this link!
About the Community
On the podcast, Sean talks with entrepreneurs about the reality of their struggle to succeed, as well as answering questions from the community, and sharing nuggets of wisdom from his own life.
Discover through these amazing episodes the courage to open your mind, heart, and soul to the world so you can be the best entrepreneur possible, respect the people you work with, and improve the world with your company while not hurting others or yourself in the process.
Sean is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor based in SE Asia for over 12 years. He is passionate about Psychology and helping others improve themselves.