Pranav Arora is a successful entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist who at just 24 years of age, has close to a decade’s worth of business experience. While others in their early twenties are still trying to find their way in the world, Pranav has found his passion and has proven to be successful at it. Pranav has been able to hone his business acuity by working with several different businesses across different business areas, including real estate, merchandise manufacturing, and even some financial management/consulting. Right now, he holds executive positions with JMTD Holdings, Stunned Mind, and Just Funky – a premier merchandise manufacturer that his family owns and operates.
Below, Pranav has answered several questions we had about his business experiences and achievements.
Pranav, can you give us a run-down on Just Funky and how you got involved?
In many respects, I was lucky that my parents had a strong background in business. In 2012, shortly before turning 17, I began helping my parents with their business. Starting out, the company was called Suga Daddy and focused on selling licensed candy to popular retailers. However, that business quickly evolved into what is today Just Funky – a very successful merchandise brand that manufactures pop culture items for all types of fans. After less than a decade, Just Funky has become a market leader in the international licensing sector.
Were you working on anything else at the same time?
I attended Wooster High School and graduated in 2013. While I enjoyed school, my real passion was business. During my last few years at Wooster, I began developing “Highly Educated”, a business that focused in selling smoke products and merchandise to different retailers, which I later sold. My teens years consisted of juggling school, Just Funky, and my own business. It was a wild ride, but I would not change my experience for the world.
What is the main purpose of Just Funky?
Just Funky’s main goal is being deliberately different in everything we do. To accomplish this, we focus on creating products that are innovative, transformative, and ground-breaking. We develop products that push boundaries while also maintaining the high standards of quality. Too often products are made without consumers thoughts in mind. Seeing this missed opportunity in the market place, we took action and began developing products that were made for fans, by fans.
Just Funky, has over 110 members in locations all over the world. To see where we started to where we are now is nothing short of amazing. The root of our success can be traced back to our dedicated and passionate team members. Each day they put in their best work to push Just Funky to be the best it can be, and it truly shows.
Can you describe JMTD Holdings and their purpose?
JMTD Holdings is an established private wealth management firm that is dedicated to creating above-average long-term value for its clients. Our purpose is to offer our clients diversified public and non-public holdings, giving them the best chance of long-term financial success. We blend our entrepreneurial mission with practical financial experiences, thereby turning our clients’ hopes and dreams into reality.
In your opinion, what traits does an entrepreneur need to be successful?
For me, being passionate and determined are two crucial traits an entrepreneur needs to be successful. The road to building a successful business can be a rocky one and having those two traits to push you through even the roughest of day can go a long way. The term “entrepreneur” often has positive connotations. People picture affluent individuals in expensive clothing, living in large mansions, and driving expensive sports cars. The thing is this isn’t the case for all entrepreneurs. It all begins with having a strong passion for your business idea and having the courage to follow through, even when things don’t look great. If you are dedicated and patient, you will find success in one form or another.
It is also important for an entrepreneur to be attentive and highly analytical. One needs to have a keen eye for strategy, and this often begins with being very observant, especially when assessing market trends and shifts. Your business needs to be responsive to the market. If you ignore what’s happening in the market, your business risks going under. At the same time, misinterpreting the market and how it is changing can be economically damaging. However, this is all part of the learning experience, so embrace these challenges and learn from your errors.
How important is the workplace environment? What strategies do you use to build success?
An inclusive and harmonious working environment can be a source of innovation and success, regardless of what sector you are operating in. From my experiences, one’s ability to lead and show the way forward is one of the most important factors in engendering business success. Encouraging work is also very important. For example, I didn’t just stop working after Just Funky had grown into a global business. On the contrary, I decided to work towards a new business called Stunned Mind, which could be viewed as the sister company of Just Funky, primarily because of their shared goals and purpose.
Stunned Mind is an eCommerce business that provides collectors with all the pop culture merchandise they could ever want. I ensure that the team feels comfortable and relaxed when at work. Workplace stress and anxiety is something you want to minimise as much as possible, so encouraging flexibility and post-work activities is crucial. Much like Just Funky and JMTD Holdings, the workplace morale at SM hinges on effective leadership, while balancing work and flexible arrangements.
Can you talk to us about Deciph-AR?
Deciph-AR is arguably the biggest new development occurring at Just Funky. Basically, it is a new app that will bring fans a sensational augmented reality (AR) experience, in which their favourite characters can be brought to life. Using AR, we are hoping the app will become a global success. Earlier this year, we officially launched Deciph-AR at the Licensing Expo, which took place in Las Vegas.