In 2019, Mike Cuignet and Josef Janousek returned to EADA, 6 years after graduating from the International Master in Management. Mike and Joseph are entrepreneurs, and they joined EADA’s Market Assessment Program (MAP) to work on expanding into new areas with their startup Natanek Iberia, dedicated to helping shippers improve their supply chain. MAP connects startups with supervised teams of student-consultants to assess business and market opportunities. (You can learn more about Mike and Josef’s entrepreneurial journey in this article.)
During the MAP experience, the co-founders of Natanek Iberia were introduced to two student-consultants at EADA, Priyam Jaiswal and David Vives. Mike and Josef were impressed with their performance as consultants and trusted them to start a new venture together
Soon afterwards, the four like-minded entrepreneurs launched a new company, Tennders, a freight network focused on the European road market, connects carriers, shippers, and freight forwarders, to optimise their processes, reducing inefficiencies and costs. Tennders is focused on reshaping logistics and the road freight European Market. They have significant growth expectations with a value proposition focused on balancing technology and the human touch in a very traditional sector, in need of digitalisation.
We talked with David Vives and Priyam Jaiswal to learn a bit more about their journey at Tennders with 2 EADA alumni at the helm.
Can you describe your entrepreneurial journey?
Natanek Iberia participated in the MAP project in order to disrupt the logistic industry – prior to MAP, they were purely focused on traditional methodologies. Our team of student-consultants was made up of me, Priyam and four more students and the project focused on digitalising the industry, with an scalable business model focused in hyper-growth. Mike and Josef liked our approach and we joined Natanek Iberia to develop the new venture, Tennders.
At the beginning, Priyam, Mike, and I were redefining the academic project. We focused on all the market research, the development of the solution, and improving the business plan we initially elaborated at EADA. First, we had to understand the industry from inside as a traditional company, and from there, we started building all the ideas and solutions for Tennders. After a proposal from around 15 different partners, with the support of an external company, we developed the first “prototype” of our idea and co-founded Tennders.
Our short to mid-term goal is to increase the company in capabilities and resources, improving our product and creating brand awareness. We are already preparing a series of actions to maintain exponential growth.
The end goal of Tennders is to help our customers by creating and providing them with an ecosystem of solutions integrated in one platform under the brand Tennders.
Something fundamental is the sustainability focus. We are focusing on reducing the CO2 footprint of the industry and helping our clients calculate and reduce their emissions by optimising routes for example.
Mike and Josef presented their business idea during MAP to 19 teams of the MiM class of 2020. Sixteen of the teams selected this idea to be among their top three choices, but in the end my team was chosen to work with Natanek Iberia (which would launch Tennders). For 5 months, we researched, created and validated the business model for the company, and we all felt a true sense of collaboration and potential to bring plans to action.
Then Mike and Josef proposed that I join them in the journey of building Tennders. Taking the first leap into entrepreneurship with all the uncertainty in the world was slightly terrifying, but I knew the learning wouldn’t stop, which, for me, was the most attractive part.
We’re still in the early stages, so our primary focus is the needs of our customers, growing their business while keeping service transparency and quality as a performance metric. Meanwhile, our technology team is continuously delivering various versions of the product to different types of users gaining new insights. My bottom line is to build Europe’s favorite one-stop-shop for logistics.
How did the master at EADA prepare you for your career as an entrepreneur?
For me, the most important thing was the case study methodology. I think this is super important, and it’s kind of like doing a fast internship with a lot of different companies. For me, what had a lot of value was discussing points of view with people from different backgrounds and nationalities, and working with professors through real case scenarios.
I have applied all of the learning through these case studies and shared this knowledge with my colleagues.
Everything! My time at EADA had a huge impact on my approach to business and entrepreneurship, which I think was the base that helped me gain much higher traction with investments and growth. It gave me the framework, and the know-how to gather and work with data, insights and people.
There are EADA alumni working in both Natanek Iberia and Tennders. Why do you think that is?
There are already four EADA generations working in our company. We hire EADA alumni because we’ve been there, we know the methodology and we know how the students learn. In the end, we see a shared culture of learning and working. The professionalism, the talent, the way of working and business understanding is integrated into the EADA culture. We see that there’s a lot of value in these profiles.
The academic background, proactivity, hunger to keep growing, multiculturality, and commitment in EADA alumni make us keep contracting them.
We really believe and trust in the education methodology and culture at EADA.. I learned a great deal from my time there – the diversity and active participation of students and faculty gave me new perspectives and opportunities.
It is quite straightforward to have an EADA alumni work with us – EADA brings in diverse backgrounds, life experiences and cultures, which is exactly what Tennders requires.
What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs?
During your professional career, you will have different offers from different companies, each of them with a unique context. If you don’t learn, earn, or both, there’s no point in taking the position or staying there long term.
I suggest prioritising a good project and mentor over money. Remember to focus on career progress and learning with each step. In EADA, you learn a lot, but it is not enough. You still have to evolve, and if you only focus on making money, you can lose excellent potential opportunities. Investing in yourself will last for all your life.
If you want to create your own business, don’t get attached to a single idea – be ready to pivot. Also, allow others to give you advice and make others feel part of the project, giving company shares to those that can add value short, mid and long term. It is better to have 20% of a One Billion Euro company than a 100% of a One thousand Euro company, right? So, prioritise the creation of a robust, dedicated and proactive team, and you will have more possibilities of succeeding.
If you have a problem you’d like to fix, and believe it’s worth fixing, trust yourself enough to go through with it. Successful or not, you will have a great time learning new things and your value in the market will grow with you.
One more general recommendation: talk to people about their ideas and tell them yours. Be ready to present your thoughts to your peers, alumni and faculty; you may be surprised to find your future co-founders or investors.