Brian Pallas a 27 years old Italian entrepreneur decided after a series of studies in Italy and also at Columbia University in New York and work experience, to found his company, Opportunity Network, in February 2014. In a few months he came to take on 22 employees, which in Italy would not have been possible due to bureaucracy and high taxes. Today Brian talks about his story for our Magazine.
Brian can you tell us how was your journey?
My name is Brian Pallas and I am the CEO and Founder of Opportunity Network. Born and raised in Milan, today I am 27 years old and live in New York. Before founding Opportunity Network I worked in strategic consulting for Boston Consulting Group and I gained experience in private equity and investment banking. Graduated with honors in Economics at the Catholic University of Milan, I achieved an MBA from Columbia University in New York last year. In particular, during the MBA I had the chance to start Opportunity Network by connecting among them all the companies represented in the Family Business Club of Columbia University and then exporting the model outside the academic world.
What are, in your opinion, the cards you need to win an international challenge?
We must have the courage to try and do your utmost to accomplish your projects. Another important thing to remember, especially in a competitive environment, is that the challenges are not won on their own: to be successful, especially internationally, it is essential to have at your side people who believe in your project, both as employees and as mentors.
Opportunity Network. What is it and how does it work?
Opportunity Network is a platform that allows companies from all over the world to share business opportunities confidentially and anonymously, in an extremely selective environment. The company, to become part of the Opportunity Network, must be clients of banks or service providers, or belong to trade associations which ensure their financial soundness. This way, whenever one of our members connect with another company belonging to the platform, from anywhere in the world, he or she is sure to be talking to a trustworthy counterpart, interested specifically in pursuing a particular business opportunity.
A tip for our readers: what do you think are the characteristics for success in the US market and what are the differences from the Italian model.
As I said, you have to be resourceful and to believe in your idea. Success in the American market is achieved not only thanks to an idea, but engaging in its realization, with the support of a close-knit team. There are many good ideas in the world: the difficulty lies in knowing how to realize them, and it is for this reason that we need to create a team of people ready to follow your vision and who trust in the project undertaken. Another important factor is to always keep in mind the “big picture” even while undertaking small steps. This applies both in Italy as in America and elsewhere in the world.
Reading your story and career of self-made man evokes a multitasking approach. Would you explain to our readers what it means and the its importance?
Being multitasking means literally be able to do more than one thing at the same time. But the real secret is to do them well, which does not mean to do everything to the maximum. Sometimes the first lesson to learn is just to recognize your limitations and get involved in overcoming them. Multitasking becomes knowledge of using the right approach in the face of different situations of potential difficulties or facing possible obstacles. In a world of constant change like the one in which we live, each of us must get involved continuously, without interrupting an internal growth driven by curiosity and passion.
Could you describe your NYC using some adjectives?
Challenging, dynamic and committed. Challenging and dynamic are completely connected: the liveliness of the ideas and innovations of those who moves to New York from around the world makes it special and full of stimuli and new challenges. Committed because yes, one works hard and I do not know anyone who doesn’t work hard in this city.
What do you do in your free time in NYC?
When the weather is good, I like biking. I live in Brooklyn and I must admit that the view from the Manhattan Bridge in the evening while returning from work is really marvelous. Finally, New York is a great capital of culture, and when I can carve out a little ‘time, I try not to miss the opera or a trip to one of the amazing museum.