In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, few stories are as inspiring as that of Tomas Milar. From his roots in Prague, Czech Republic, Tomas has journeyed to become the driving force behind two remarkable ventures in the US —Eqvista, an equity management software, and Cheqly, a cutting-edge neobank for startups and SMEs. Today, we sit down with Tomas to explore his entrepreneurial journey, the birth of his game-changing startups, and the valuable lessons he's learned.
Good day, Tomas. It's a pleasure to have you here. To start, could you share a bit about your background and what led you to the world of entrepreneurship?
Tomas: Hello! Thank you for having me. Well, my journey into entrepreneurship started when I founded Startupr, a company formation and corporate service provider in Hong Kong. Through Startupr and later the acquisition of IncParadise in the US, I realized a common challenge across the businesses we were assisting—the burden of administrative work. This led me to the realization that managing equity, particularly with traditional methods like Excel spreadsheets, was incredibly inefficient. And that's where the inspiration for Eqvista began.
As for Cheqly, it was a natural extension of our mission to simplify the lives of business founders. We saw that managing finances, especially opening business accounts could also be a cumbersome process for startups. Cheqly was born from the idea of offering businesses a seamless, remote solution to open their business accounts online and manage their finances effortlessly.
That’s really great! Eqvista and Cheqly are certainly addressing critical needs in the business world. Can you tell us more about Eqvista's mission and how it differs from Cheqly in terms of its offerings and target audience?
Tomas: Certainly! Eqvista's mission is to streamline and simplify the management of company equity. We cater to a wide range of businesses, including startups, SMEs, and companies in various stages of growth. Our services revolve around cap table management, business valuations, and IRS filings. Eqvista aims to make the early stages of running a business more manageable by replacing traditional equity management methods with a user-friendly, cloud-based platform.
Eqvista is a trusted and reliable partner for companies that are looking to manage their equity efficiently and effectively.
On the other hand, Cheqly focuses on providing neobanking solutions. One of Cheqly's key offerings is the convenience it brings to the banking experience. Startups no longer need to deal with the hassles of visiting physical bank branches or navigating complex paperwork. Cheqly's online platform allows businesses to do their banking at their convenience, whether managing accounts, making transactions, or accessing financial insights.
The core mission of Cheqly is simple yet transformative—to make banking easy for startups and SMEs.
That's a clear distinction between the two. Can you walk us through the journey of developing and launching both Eqvista and Cheqly, highlighting any unique challenges and milestones for each?
Tomas: The journey for both Eqvista and Cheqly has been remarkable but distinct. Eqvista started in 2018 with a small IT team, and we handled all the coding ourselves. The process was iterative, with clients from our other businesses providing feedback that helped shape the software. After two years of hard work, we had a functional minimum viable product (MVP), and that's when we officially launched Eqvista.
Cheqly, on the other hand, was founded in 2022 as a response to the evolving financial needs of our clients. We saw the challenges businesses faced in opening business accounts, especially remotely. So, we initiated the development of Cheqly to offer a neo-banking solution that specifically caters to startups and SMEs.
Milestones for Eqvista included becoming more than just a cap table management tool. We evolved into a comprehensive equity management platform that supported founders at every stage. For Cheqly, a major milestone was when we successfully enabled businesses to open their accounts remotely, making it a game-changer in the neo-banking space.
It's impressive how both ventures have evolved to meet the changing needs of businesses. Moving on, you've mentioned the importance of customer feedback. Can you share specific instances where customer feedback played a pivotal role in shaping the offerings of Eqvista and Cheqly?
Tomas: Customer feedback has been invaluable for both Eqvista and Cheqly. In Eqvista's case, early customers pointed out the need for additional features beyond cap table management. Listening to this feedback, we expanded Eqvista's services to include many essential features like valuation software (which helps in obtaining business valuation reports in minutes), financial reporting, IRS filings and many more, making it a one-stop solution for founders.
With Cheqly, the feedback was about the complexity and inefficiency of the traditional banking process, especially for startups and small businesses. Customers wanted a simpler, remote method to open business accounts and make their finances smoother and easier. This feedback led to the development of Cheqly, which now offers a streamlined business account opening process entirely online.
Tomas, considering your extensive experience as an entrepreneur, what advice would you give to budding founders about managing the challenges that often accompany the early stages of a startup?
Tomas: That's an excellent question. In the early stages of a startup, challenges are par for the course. My advice would be to take these challenges as opportunities for growth. Stay agile and adaptable, and never lose sight of your long-term vision. Surround yourself with a dedicated team that shares your passion and always be open to learning. Every obstacle you overcome is a lesson learned, and it's these lessons that will ultimately pave the way to success.
That's invaluable advice, Tomas. Now, looking ahead, what are your future aspirations for Eqvista and Cheqly, and how do you envision them continuing to transform the business landscape?
Tomas: Our aspirations for Eqvista and Cheqly are deeply rooted in our commitment to simplifying the lives of business founders and entrepreneurs.
We see Eqvista as a comprehensive solution that continues to evolve, offering founders an ever-expanding suite of tools and services to manage their company equity and valuations to support their entrepreneurial journeys. Cheqly, on the other hand, is set to become a pivotal player in redefining how businesses manage their finances.
Our ultimate goal is to see Eqvista and Cheqly as indispensable partners for startups and SMEs worldwide, providing the essential tools and financial services needed to navigate the complexities of modern business with ease and efficiency. - Tomas Milar
We envision both platforms as driving forces of positive change, empowering startups and SMEs to thrive in an increasingly dynamic business landscape.
Tomas, your insights into the world of fintech and software startups are incredibly valuable. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us today. Is there anything else you'd like to add or share with our readers before we conclude?
Tomas: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure sharing my journey with you today. I'd like to emphasize that innovation and adaptability are the keys to success in entrepreneurship. Keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible, and never stop pursuing your dreams.
And with that, our insightful conversation with Tomas Milar, the visionary founder of Eqvista and Cheqly, comes to a close. Tomas's story serves as a testament to the power of innovation, determination, and a customer-focused approach in startups and entrepreneurship. We wish him continued success in his ventures and hope his journey inspires budding entrepreneurs around the globe.