In 2016, Anna-Sophia Kouparanis decided to come to Barcelona to pursue the International Master in Management. Since her graduation she has had the opportunity to work in many different fields and industries, learning and collecting experiences from each of her jobs. In 2019 she decided to follow the entrepreneurial pathway when she founded Ilios Santé GmbH and in 2020 she co-founded the Bloomwell Group with its subsidiary Algea Care, all 3 being pharmaceutical companies. This decision paid off as Anna-Sophia was featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 list of 2021.
We interviewed her and asked her how she is living this moment of her career and what her future plans are.
What is it like being on Forbes 30 under 30 list?
Being on the Forbes 30 under 30 list is definitely one of my greatest successes thus far! I am extremely grateful and feel very honored to be part of this year’s nomination. My brother and I always dreamed that one day one of us would make the list. Seeing our dream turning into reality is an incredible feeling that is hard to describe. If I would need to find words it would be a mixture of huge gratitude, shock and disbelief. But for me it was not just about making the list. I personally set the goal to be able to be an example for young women to pursue their dreams and maybe to even found a company themselves one day.
How does one get on the Forbes 30 under 30 list?
The technical part of it is actually quite simple: you get nominated, you fill out a first small questionnaire about you and your company. If the Forbes Committee finds your profile interesting, you will get notified by email with a link to a larger questionnaire where you have to write essays on why you would be “deserving” of making the list and then you wait a long time and hopefully find yourself in the Forbes magazine one day. But the way to get there is a totally different story. It takes more than hard work to be even considered for the Forbes list. You need to take a lot of risks, show great dedication and most importantly stay true to yourself! At least that is what I think convinced the jury in my case. Throughout the years I was faced with many different challenges, but perseverance and a sense of fearlessness can get you much further than you might think.
What inspired you to start your own business? How did the EADA experience prepare you for your career as an entrepreneur?
I had many different sources of inspiration, being my family, my education and most importantly my dedication to wanting to do things differently. I was never someone who dreamt of pursuing a career in a “normal work environment”. Right after school I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my long-lived dream of becoming an actress. Although I understood that this career path wasn’t for me, it showed that I was never afraid to try something extremely different and go all in 100% – no matter the possible obstacles I could face. And this is what also led me to becoming an entrepreneur. After my studies in management, I was inspired by the courses of strategy and entrepreneurship. I wanted to solve existing problems in a new market. I wanted to make a difference.
Could you tell us more about the Bloomwell Group?
The Bloomwell Group acts as a holding company for medical cannabis companies and potentially for companies in a recreational cannabismarket that may be legal in the future. Our mission is to build, acquire and invest in ESG healthcare companies along the entire value chain, with the exception of cultivation. Within a year, we have grown rapidly to more than 160 employees, expect a turnover of almost five million euros in twelve months and raised ten million US dollars in venture capital last October – the highest Seed round ever of a European medical cannabis company. We want to revolutionize the medical cannabis industry and we will of course continue to ensure that patients in Germany finally have access to more doctors with expertise in cannabinoid-based therapy.
What are your future career goals?
Right now my focus is 200% on Bloomwell and our further growth along the value chain. Our vision at Bloomwell is to take a direct-to-consumer, in the case of medical cannabis a direct-to-patient approach. Full waiting rooms and difficulties in even getting an appointment with a doctor with the expertise you are looking for, show how the healthcare system is lacking behind. With Bloomwell, we want to pick up exactly where we left off and change the healthcare system in a positive way. My future goal is within the framework of our holding company to build up further companies for this purpose, invest in existing ones or acquire them. The green revolution starts now and Bloomwell is taking the lead.
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Don’t be scared to take risks and don’t be afraid to fail! There is no doubt that life will confront you with many difficulties, but you have to believe in yourself and your abilities to overcome the challenges ahead – and if you don’t take risks and are afraid of failure you basically can’t do anything. As life and the challenges it upholds are unpredictable, why not take risks, get out of your comfort zone and to achieve something great – and like in our case helping many people to have a better life thanks to the potential of medical cannabis!