In 2019, MiM alumni Mike Cuignet and Josef Janousek founded Natanek Iberia, a company dedicated to improving supply chain management in the logistics industry. Mike and Josef are ambitious, and their long-term plan is to create even more ventures and empower people to do great things. They have already launched several spinoff companies in collaboration with other EADA alumni. (You can learn more about Mike and Josef’s entrepreneurial journey in this article.)
In 2021, after analysing industry needs, Mike and Joseph launched the spinoff Pharos TMS. The CEO of Pharos TMS is International Master in Finance alumnus Adarsh Kulkarni, who completed his degree at EADA in 2020. Adarsh began working at Mike and Joseph’s first company, Natanek Iberia, as an intern, before he was promoted to CFO. Today, he is CEO of the newest venture.
We asked Adarsh to share a bit about his experience at Natanek Iberia and his position as CEO of Pharos TMS.
How did you start working at Natanek Iberia?
The EADA Community was very important in my joining the company.
I joined the International Master in Finance at EADA in September 2019 and I finished in july 2020, so I was studying in EADA during the pandemic. At that time, I was living with Priyam, who was working at Natanek Iberia.
One day, Natanek Iberia’s co-founder Mike asked Priyam if he knew someone in finance who would be interested in joining a startup. When Priyam asked me, I said yes! I had the interview with Mike and then joined Natanek Iberia as an intern in the finance department. When I was an intern, Mike trained me in finance in the industry. As a result of his training, once he transitioned into CEO of Tennders, I became CFO of Natanek Iberia.
How did the idea for the spinoff Pharos TMS come about?
We have all learnt a lot from the industry during the journey in the company, and we saw huge pain points that were either expensive to solve or monopolized by big companies that did not give small and medium-sized companies access to solutions.
When we implemented a digital tool to help in Natanek Iberia, in just one month we doubled our revenues. Then we sat down and started thinking, If just one tool helped us double our revenues, what could an entire software system help with? We decided to create the software, but not just as a part of Natanek Iberia, but as its own company.
How would you describe Pharos TMS?
Pharos TMS is a software company that helps logistics companies who need to digitise many of their processes. This software helps small and medium-sized logistics companies solve small problems so that they can grow efficiently in an industry that has big problems in terms of payments and cash flow.
What are the future plans for Pharos TMS?
The MVP has been built and we are deploying it and collecting feedback from our first clients. There were some delays in some paperwork and hence we had to slow it down to sort it out completely.
Our aim is to build an entire system which could ideally become one of the most accurate in terms of cash flow prediction, helping measure the risks of the company in anticipation, and skilling in terms of operations (this last one is the tool that helped Natanek Iberia double the revenue). We want to empower small and medium-sized companies to implement these tools and integrate them with external marketplaces, like Tennders.
Our medium to long-term idea is not only to adapt to the Spanish market, but also all across Europe: Poland, Germany, the Benelux…
How do you use what you learned at EADA in your current position as CEO?
One thing that I certainly learned was leadership skills. The leadership modules at the Residential Training Campus are a very important experience. It helped me understand the kind of leader I wanted to be and applying that in reality just one year after I learned it was a dream come true.
Academically, I apply a lot of what I learned in the courses on valuation. It was interesting to learn how things are valued in Europe -I had experience in valuation in India, and the difference in the way valuation was carried out in different countries was enriching. And now in Pharos TMS, valuation is important when you’re looking for funding and when you are speaking with multiple companies to show your product and know how you are being valued.
What advice would you give to students that are planning to launch their own business in the future?
My advice would be to start networking. Thanks to networking and the EADA community, I am where I am today.
A second piece of advice: don’t underestimate the power of experience. Experience can be a great teacher. Trust people and be open to learning, you need to challenge yourself to learn.