#YouMeEntrepreneur meet Vishal Punamiya, Eduardo Torres and Ian Oestreich

Toni Vicars

By Toni Vicars

January 1, 2021

Meet Vishal Punamiya

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I was the CIO of Panalpina and now I am the CEO and Co-founder of SiteMark

Why did you decide to launch SiteMark?

Throughout my professional and personal life, I have always had the drive to build, and if not, improve whatever I was involved in through smart use of technology; whether it was as an analyst 16 years ago to being CIO of the business unit with EUR 3 billion in annual revenue. Entrepreneurship, people, innovation and creativity played a big part throughout and motivated me to go above and beyond the usual call of duty.

What is the best thing about running your own business?

I felt I had reached the peak of my personal development that a corporate career could offer and it no longer motivated me. The only way forward to grow was to start something on my own and that was the beginning of Sitemark.

The journey of entrepreneurship has been incredibly rewarding, the only thing I can compare it to is climbing a massive mountain (incredibly high one :)). It’s about tenacity, adapting and most importantly, being humble to the elements around you. The best part of the journey is being able to surround yourself with people that you enjoy while building something great.

Meet Eduardo Torres

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I was a government officer, in charge of designing housing policies at the federal level. I realized there was a great opportunity in using publicly available data to add value in the home selling process.

Why did you start your own business?

I decided to start my own business, ai360, after being laid off (as it happens in every political position). With over 20 years of experience both at the private and public sector, most of them involved in real estate related activities, I just knew one thing: I loved my job and I wanted to continue doing it for a very long time.

What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur?

The best thing is to unleash your creativity and having the opportunity to set your own goals and work until you reach them. To go for your dreams, matter how crazy or far they seem. Literally, several of the projects we have worked on since we started ai360 come from ideas I had at least a decade before.

Meet Ian Oestreich

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I was a fitness coach before I founded Backyard Bicycles and began setting up bike repair pop-up shops all around town.

Backyard Bicycles was also featured in the Wall Street Journal here.

What motivated you to start your business?

I was the child with a lemonade stand on weekends, the kid posting up lawn mower service flyers, the son helping his dad tune up bikes. Entrepreneurship is part of my identity. The gym I worked at closed due to COVID-19, and rather than sit around on my hands and collect unemployment, I decided I wanted to start a business that could support myself and others during COVID-19. With my mobile bike tune-ups, I’m able to help others get a same-day turnaround bike tune-up while allowing myself to make my own schedule.

What do you love the most about being an entrepreneur?

For me, the best thing about being an entrepreneur is the life flexibility it offers. I can take off a weekend anytime, or make a change to the way I do business without consulting “upper management.” There is such a feeling of satisfaction to seeing a business you create thrive, knowing that it wouldn’t exist if you hadn’t taken the leap.

Your tips for aspiring founders

Be an entrepreneur, not a wantrepreneur. Sitting around and saying how you’d like to start something someday, or meticulously planning out every detail before starting is a great way to shoot yourself in the foot before you even get off the ground. Just start SOMETHING. This relates to the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP). Create a barebones version of your product or service, and find any way you can to just get it out there and test it with real people. That initial feedback and learning from mistakes is so much more valuable than any amount of prior planning could ever be.

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