Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Tomas Milar, and I am the founder of Eqvista. We are an equity management software company that allows businesses to manage their company equity more efficiently and effectively. We cater to most companies; startups, SMEs, and seed-stage to pre-IPO companies. Our goal is to make managing a business easy, especially in the early stages. We also provide professional services like business valuations and IRS filings to help you better manage your business’s administrative work.
We found that managing equity was a tedious process, especially when dealing with discrepancies with your cap table (which is usually managed in an Excel spreadsheet). This way of keeping track of your cap table is outdated, and we have created an online cloud software that allows you to manage your company’s equity (stocks, shares, grants and other types of equity) in one place.
What's your personal history and the inspiration for your business?
Before Eqvista, I founded Startupr, a company formation and corporate service provider in Hong Kong. I also acquired IncParadise, a business incorporation service provider in the US. Through these two companies, I found a common problem across the many companies we have helped; there was a lot of tedious administrative work and duties that had to be done to run a company. A particular problem that stood out to me was how managing equity was inefficient when using traditional methods like Excel spreadsheets. This inspired me to create a smart, cloud-based system for cap table and equity management that’s efficient and easy to use. After the success of Eqvista, we decided to launch our own neobank, Cheqly, that allows companies to open their business account completely online and remotely. Our partnership with Cheqly enables us to provide more financial services to our customers, letting them have a more seamless and efficient experience while managing their companies.
Describe the process of launching your remote business
In 2018, I started working on the cap table software with one IT person coding the whole thing. We were fortunate enough to have clients from our other businesses to help us test the software and figure out what needed more work and what features to add. After 2 years of development, we finally had a workable MVP and launched the software. My IT team is based in the Czech Republic and I am in the US. We communicated through Skype and we were able to create the software while working remotely. Once we got the ball rolling, I built my teams (all remotely) in Hong Kong and India to handle the other aspects of the business: operations, marketing and sales.
What has worked to attract customers and earn their loyalty?
Our core value is to help our future business founders in all aspects of their businesses. From starting the company to assisting them with complicated administrative work. With this in mind, we always take customer feedback seriously and make improvements based on what they told us. Our software is built based on what founders need for their business. This has made it possible for us to not just gain new customers, but retain them and work with them long-term.
Our major marketing strategy is SEO. We were consistent in putting out content to raise our ranking and increase our traffic, making us visible on Google.
Knowing what you know now, are there things you would have done differently when first starting out?
In the beginning, we tried to make every customer happy by trying to incorporate each feedback into improving our software. Of course we want all of our customers to be satisfied, but we just can’t please everyone. It’s important to figure out which feedback is not only important, but also doable within our resources and can be accomplished at a time frame that’s reasonable but quick. There’s no need to take every single feedback to heart since there are things we can’t achieve for the time being. If we have the time and resources, then we can circle back to it.
What has been the best part of starting a remote business?
It has been easier to meet with investors and other potential partners while the business is running on its own. I can schedule appointments and flights easily to meet people, but also have time to spend with my family and friends.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
- WordPress for our website. WordPress is a great tool if you want to customize your website to the way you want it to look and function. Since we’re a software company, we deal with bugs often and we have to keep track of them.
- Trello is a great tool for keeping track of these bugs since it’s easy to relay the information to our IT team. We found Trello to be useful if you want a list-style, Kanban-style application for keeping track of tasks.
- Calendly when scheduling any calls with our clients.
What have been the most influential books, networking groups, podcasts, or other resources you've found?
One influential book I read was Atomic Habits by James Clear. The book showed me the importance of habits, and how being consistent with your habits guarantees good results and success. Through consistent habits, you achieve exponential growth; while it was initially difficult to start, the pay off is immense in the long run. Forming good habits is not only for your well-being, but for also running a remote business.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to build a remote business of their dreams?
It is definitely possible to run a business remotely, you just need to find the right resources and talent. With the technology we have these days, it’s easy to find talent anywhere across the world without having to fly across the country. When things get tough, just remember the reason why you wanted to start your own business in the first place. That reason is what’s going to keep you motivated until you succeed.
Are there any positions or internships you're hiring for now?
We are looking to expand our marketing team, sales and valuation team. You can check out our careers page to learn more about Eqvista; what we do and who we are looking for. We’d love to hear from anyone who is interested in being a part of our company!