The Founder on Founder Podcast series is a weekly podcast hosted by Olivier Raussin, Managing Partner at FEBE Ventures, featuring tech entrepreneurs with a focus on Southeast Asia’s innovation business and tech landscape.

Featured in this episode is Thomas Miklavec, a serial French entrepreneur and founder of POC Pharma, a B2B service platform connecting the pharmaceutical world.

Before starting his career as a serial entrepreneur in emerging markets in the pharmacy space, Miklavec took some initiatives for NGO work during his undergraduate, working on HIV/AIDS programmes mostly in Africa. He supported companies to build plans, prevent and provide care and treatment for HIV/AIDS patients.

He then pursued an MBA from Harvard Business School and spent a few years at McKinsey as a consultant in strategy. With a plan to build the most scalable and sustainable venture that can be replicated from one country to another, Miklavec built Sanisphere.

Sanisphere is a data company that supports pharmaceutical companies and has expanded in over 20 countries in Asia and Africa. 

After that, Miklavec went on and built POC Pharma with takeaways on what he has learned from Sanisphere.

Based in Hong Kong with a Southeast Asia regional play starting with the Vietnam market, POC Pharma is a SaaS company helping the stakeholders in the Pharmacy Channel (drug manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, pharmacies, payers …) to digitally manage their interactions and collaborative workflows. 

Also Read: Early-stage learnings from former Grab employee on building a startup to help labour in Indonesia

When working in a highly regulated sector such as pharmaceuticals, Miklavec advised on being very aware of the framework that you are working in and adapt your product to the market.

With POC Pharma being VC-backed, it has given him more opportunities to invest in his product better than he did as a bootstrap entrepreneur when building Sanisphere.

When asked about fundraising, he said: “Have a very clear vision about how you define success. What do you want to do when you launch this venture? What are your objectives? Think twice about your aspiration and ambition to define what you really need. From then you can consider bootstrapping, small funding, or even very big funding.” 

Like all other entrepreneurs, founders are often overwhelmed with many projects and responsibilities and often struggle between the ‘dreamy’ essence of being an entrepreneur to dealing with concrete things on a day to day basis.

It is recommended to have this agility, swinging from ‘dreaming’ to doing concrete tasks and being focused on execution and gaining more focus. The technique he uses to leverage these priorities is taken from what he learned when at McKinsey is, “Zoom in, zoom out”. 

“Try to regularly find some topics where you want to zoom in and go very deep from time to time and up to when things are under control, and zooming out.

So after you have done that. take a step back and think how does it fit into the big picture, and what is the purpose that I am trying to serve here? If you zoom out too much, you have a big risk of getting disconnected and not knowing the direction or even what the daily tasks that you are executing.”

The final and simple takeaway that Thomas would like share at the end of the day is, 

“Be proud of what you do, be proud of who you are and how you behave as these are what is left when things are over.”

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

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