Forbes' top Czech success stories: insights from NEWTON alumni

Every 20th most successful Czech studied at NEWTON! This is part of Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 survey where eight entrepreneurs from NEWTON College earned their spot. In its survey, Forbes declares the most talented and most successful Czechs aged 30 and under every year. Read how these businessmen from NEWTON achieved their success and what advice they have for others.

Václav Staněk, Vasky shoes

Václav Staněk, a bachelor student in Psychology for Managers and an MBA at NEWTON, continues the legacy of the famous Zlín shoemaker, Tomáš Baťa. Not far from Zlín, he opened his own shoemaker's workshop, where leather shoes are made by hand for the brand Vasky. They combine the look of work shoes with modern design and also helped former athlete Václav overcome a difficult time when he had to leave the pinnacle of his sport and stop representing the Czech Republic due to diabetes. “Sports, however, did give me one fundamental thing: endurance. Even in business, I consider this to be the most important,” says Václav.

To starting his business, he was led by the idea that people buy winter shoes for thousands of crowns, even though they can be made for significantly less. To those just starting in business, I would advise that they figure out right from the start why they want to do business and what they expect to get out of it. Always learn and endure before all else. And, most importantly, go for it and get started. And, of course, experience makes the businessman, Vašek adds.

Vít Haratek, design, development, animation, graphic arts

At the age of 12, he received his first computer and started making games. Later, he got involved in applications and filmed a music video for his friends from the band Charlie Straight. At NEWTON, he studied Global Business and Management. On his resume, he even has videos for Adidas, tour animations for the rapper Kanye West, as well as concepts for his mobile game. He also creates his own mobile apps and is interested in autonomous vehicles. He describes his job as “smart creative”.

“Behind my success stands over 75 thousand hours of focused studies. I believe that everybody has differing predispositions, resources, and opportunities that form diverse environments and people. This is why I think it’s best to find the answers to the questions: ‘What can I do better than others right here, right now? Which challenges do I dare to take on? In what do I have added value, uniqueness, and irreplaceability? How many people will my actions affect?’ You need to be ready for temporary failures, it takes courage and humility. Don’t be afraid, learn, and absorb your experiences, they will help you shine one day,” he challenges to anyone looking to take on their own project.

Check out Vít’s creations on his Instagram.

Oliver Dlouhý, the plane ticket browser

Developer and former NEWTON College student, Oliver Dlouhý, didn’t found by accident. He wanted to fly on holiday with his girlfriend, but they felt that the ticket prices were really high. And so, Oliver sat at his computer and combined several shorter flights with low-cost airlines. He was able to purchase their tickets for several thousand crowns less, and the idea was born for a clever start-up that American investors value at billions of crowns.

“Behind my success, you’ll find laziness, naivety, gullibility, and a little bit of common sense. Because I was lazy, I looked for a way to automate the process that, before, was difficult to do manually – in my case, that was connecting non-cooperative airlines. Thanks to my naivety, I believed from the start that it would turn into a massively successful business. And because I’m very trusting in people, I was able to delegate the work and that helped us to grow quickly. And without a bit of common sense, none of it would be possible. Hopefully, that makes sense, right?” says Oliver, then adding his advice: “Do what you think is right. It’s fine to be inspired by wise counsel, but the final decision is for you to make. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa,” he concludes.

Stanislav Gálik, innovation, start-ups, Galard, Aures Laboratories

The educator of managerial subjects at NEWTON College, Stanislav Gálik, is a professional psychologist – He devoted himself to research in the field of persuasion theory in his rigorous work and first book. Even while still at university, he launched his first brand – the clothing company Galard. He then sold Galard and co-founded the innovation centre UNIFER. He is currently focused on innovation in AAA Auto and the subsidiary Aures Laboratories.

Stanislav most enjoys coming up with ideas and launching projects“Constantly experimenting and the endeavour to never let failures discourage me are responsible for my success. A little bit of luck is also important, then you need to surround yourself with intelligent people you can rely on,” he says. He gives a few clear-cut pieces of advice to new entrepreneurs: “Try. Experiment. Modify your business according to the feedback from the market. Don’t think that you’re the cleverest guy in the room. Give people what they want, not what you want.”

Lumír Kunz, Aukro

The former student of Global Business and Management Lumír Kunz had his first entrepreneurial ideas even before his 18th birthday. Together with his friends, he entered the brokerage group Axiory, where he saw great success. A worse experience he had with his next project Inspiron, which ate up a lot of money, forcing Lumír to eventually back out. He was, however, immediately successful in other projects: Valutomat, the Leverage Technology fund, and Aukro, which Lumír energetically helped to get up on its own two feet.

“On my path to success, I got a lot of help from my co-workers and friends – Matěj and Jan Boruta, Václav Liška, and the entire Aukro team. The combat sport Taekwon-Do also helped me a lot; I started training when I was 8 years old and spent six years competing professionally. There I meet amazing friends, and I learned that when you want to achieve something, you have to work for it and that your biggest opponent is yourself,” says Lumír. According to him, every new businessman should ask themself one question“What value am I bringing to my customers?” It has to be obvious how much you’re making their lives easier and if you take care of a problem for them or if you entertain them. “Constantly verify these theories and ideas with your target customers and ask them, for instance, how much they’re willing to pay for your solution,” adds Lumír.

Lukáš Žďárský and Jakub Zajíc, Vnitroblock, Kavárna, co hledá jméno

Lukáš Žďárský graduated from NEWTON with a degree in the Management of International Institutions and Public Administration and is a passionate athlete – he played competitive floorball and is a snowboarding instructor. His partner, Jakub Zajíc, graduated with a degree in Global Business and Management and shares Lukáš’ love for floorball. Now they work together to reshape lost and forgotten places into new centres of social life. Their handiwork is the former factory Vnitroblock, which they’ve turned into a café, shop, and dance studio, as well as Kavárna, co hledá jméno (the Cafe Looking for a Name), which they opened in a former cabinetmaker’s shop.

“I believe I was helped in becoming successful by tiredness and sobriety from a big company, where I was only a small part of a big engine, combined with a desire to create something meaningful, where I myself am the main engine. The difference is in the engagement and direct responsibility for one’s actions. As an employee for someone else, you feel responsible for a narrow circle of tasks. In your own business, there’s an adrenaline that comes from the responsibility for all the people under you and everything you create. Here you wake up with a completely different motivation and desire to work,” says Lukáš Žďárský.

Petr Hobža, Hobžovy Strážnické brambůrky

Petr Hobža and his brother are carrying on the 30-year-old family tradition of producing fried potato crisps in Strážnice na Moravě. At NEWTON, Petr studied Global Business and Management. In his company, he started as a driver, distributing crisps. Today, he works as the sales director. The Hobžas are most proud of their family name and original recipe. Apart from the crisps’ enormous popularity in their home market, they’re also enjoyed in Japan, America, and other corners of the world that they’re shipped to.

“Honest work and patience are responsible for my success. My parents gave me this business opportunity as well as an obligation that I had to work with. I would advise young entrepreneurs to work and mainly remain patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day,” says Petr.

Leave us a comment under this post on Facebook about who else from NEWTON you think deserves a prestigious spot on the 30 under 30 list!