Brand Embassy, a start-up established by Vít Horký and Damián Brhel in 2011, has become an extraordinarily successful project that has recently gone beyond the borders of the Czech Republic and even beyond Europe… .
“They do deals worth billions and it doesn’t matter to them if it’s in Prague, London or New York. Or if they’re working for global funds or for the wealthiest Czechs. These eight financial high-fliers weren’t even 30 years old, and yet they have already managed to leave their mark in the Czech Republic and even abroad. Get to know the future Czech Warren Buffets.” Thus begins an article in Forbes magazine about Czech talents in the world of investment, among whom is Martin Konop of Rockaway Ventures.
He is focused, uses a lot of Anglicisms and talks fast, apparently because he spent years studying and working abroad in order to get hands-on experience with investment funds and as the CFO of an American start-up. Today Martin Konop is in charge of Rockaway Ventures and thus also of start-ups such as Productboard, Techloop and Brand Embassy.
HOW CAN ONE BREAK INTO THE WORLD OF BUSINESS?
“That is a broad notion, but you generally need to have a feel for at least basic economic concepts, such as the law of supply and demand, scalability and profitability, for example, and combine that with critical thinking and the ability to read a complex set of information. At the same time, you have to have the capacity to rapidly adapt. And, ideally, you have to be able to work well with people, though very successful asocial entrepreneurs and businesspeople do exist.”
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF STUDYING ABROAD?
“Above all, one is exposed to a new environment, which helps to develop adaptability, a foreign language on a daily basis and people who have a different perspective, ambitions and network. The content of education, especially in finance, is secondary – universities in the Czech Republic will give you the relevant knowledge and, in general, more sophisticated knowledge won’t make you a better businessman.”
WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY IN YOUR WORK? WHAT INTERESTS AND INSPIRES YOU?
“Variety and intellectual challenges. I enjoy working with new technologies, new business models, various sectors. At the same time, I’m motivated by challenges and intellectual growth, whether in the sense of hard skills or working with people (collaboration, negotiation, motivation, strategy, etc.).”
WHAT GOALS WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR CAREER?
“I don’t have any specific goals, but rather motivation and a mission to always be in a position that allows me to have fundamental influence on the things going on around me and to move forward.”
IS IT BETTER TO WORK FOR FUNDS ABROAD OR IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC?
“If you enjoy investment banking and portfolio management, as well as a bigger and more competitive market, I would rather consider going abroad. If, however, you have the entrepreneurial spirit and the ambition to build, it will be easier for you in the Czech Republic to get into a position where you can have more influence on things.”
The interview with Martin Konop for Forbes 02/2019 was conducted by Pavel P. Novotný and Zuzana Krajíčková.