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Alumnus Arno Paula: Don’t wait for the next golden business idea, but start solving the problems around you
Who are you? What did you study at Aalto University School of Business and when did you graduate?
My name is Arno Paula and I studied finance in the School of Business. I graduated in 2013. I completed exchange studies in Singapore in 2010 and in the USA, Florida in 2012, where I studied marketing, management and entrepreneurship. I was also in the Board of KY Finance in 2011.
Tell us about your career path so far.
During the Bachelor studies, I started working in my own field, finance, and during the Master’s studies, I did internships in Danske Bank and in PwC’s Strategy& (prev. Booz & Co). During my last semester, I did an internship as a Management Consultant at PwC.
When I graduated, I started consulting career at Booz & Co, but was there only for a few months, as I decided to start my own company and become a fulltime entrepreneur.
How did you become interested in entrepreneurship?
I read a book by Tim Ferris ”The 4-Hour Workweek” in the summer 2011, and with that I got interested in reading more literature on entrepreneurship, alongside the School of Business’s study materials. At the same time, I was working in my “dream job” in management consulting.
During my second exchange period in the spring 2012, I studied entrepreneurship and read lots of literature. I brainstormed on different business ideas (mostly related to food and nutrition), and remember that reading the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson was very thought-provoking and inspiring.
Tell us about your company Ambronite. Where did the idea come from and how did it develop?
The need to start Ambronite came from very close: from my own and my co-founder-friends’ Simo and Mikko’s lives. We were trying to search for functional, tasteful and health-improving lunches and breakfasts, with no results. I had discovered the importance of nutrition’s effects on well-being as I was struggling with weight and stomach problems earlier.
Our first product was Ambronite meal replacement smoothie. We were craving for a super drink that would include simply everything your mind and body needs in order to flourish. Thus, we started developing meal replacements which are suitable for the hectic daily routines.
We launched Ambronite with an international crowdfunding campaign in 2014. There were 1000 clients participating in the campaign, from who we collected over 100 000 $ in pre-sales. In the beginning of 2015, when the production was activated and the orders from the crowdfunding campaign had been delivered, we opened up an online shop, through which there started to become sales in the USA, Scandinavia and in Central Europe.
In the beginning of 2017, we started retailing in Ruohonjuuri organic shops, in 2018 we expanded retailing to S Group’s stores and this year our products can also be found in some K Markets with a broader store variety. In addition, we do sales with a selected number of organic and special products sellers around Europe and in the selling platform Amazon in the US and Britain. This year we have broadened our product selection and introduced some new products.
It feels incredible that within these six past years, we have helped tens of thousands of people achieve permanent change of lifestyle: overcoming hunger and fatigue with delicious, plant-based meal replacements and adding energetic feeling in everyday life.
What have been the most important and most useful things in your studies?
From the point of view of finance studies, jumping straight into entrepreneurship in nutrition was quite a change on my career path. My ambition and Ambronite super drink have facilitated me in becoming an entrepreneur more than the studies in finance. However, I feel that the finance studies, together with the exchange studies, helped me gain broad basis for and understanding of business functions. I also learned to understand business functions through numbers and business strategies (at least in theory).
Being part of the Aalto University Business Case competition has had a remarkable effect on my employment. In addition, the internships done in various places and being active in student organization have helped a lot, by giving important experience and broadening connections.
You should select a major subject that you are interested in and where you feel you are good at. Besides completing your studies, you should do other things, too, like connect with new people and study other subjects (go to an exchange, be involved in student organizations, start up a company, apply for internship positions and read literature outside study materials).
What should the students focus on if they are interested in entrepreneurship?
As an inspiration, I would suggest reading literature related to entrepreneurship. In addition, I would think if there is a challenge in my life or in other people’s lives that I would be passionately interested in solving, and if there are people around me who would be willing to solve it with me. Then you should talk to other entrepreneurs about this issue.
”Think big, act small, and act now” is a good way of thinking. Don’t wait for the next golden business idea, but start solving the problems around you. Again and again as an entrepreneur I have noticed that it does not matter whether your company is doing well or not, for every day is another chance to solve problems and challenges with a good team, with good spirit and gratitude. Every day I get to work with things and customers in passionate ways, and to learn new things and grow as a person. I think that is what entrepreneurship and success are truly about.
Get to know Arno’s career path more closely on LinkedIn!
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