The experience, drive, passion, and depth of knowledge Pranav Arora contributes to the business, media, and finance industries is unmatched. Pranav is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and venture capitalist with a proven track record of success. At just 16-years-old, he not only started his first company, but transformed it into a million-dollar business. This would set the precedent for all of his future ventures.
Pranav Arora is the CEO of JMTD Holdings, a private equity firm that offers capital and value-added partnerships to world-class, industry-leading companies. JMTD Holdings works closely with their clients’ finance teams, research specialists, and marketing teams to create and execute influential growth strategies that heighten their competitiveness and profitability. Pranav uses his sharp skillset and business acumen to develop funding strategies and plans for customer acquisition.
Pranav is also Head of Division at Just Funky, a family-owned premier manufacturer of licensed and private label merchandise for the mainstream retail market. Their specialty areas include drinkware, impulse and novelty items, decor, and apparel. Just Funky has more than 20,000 independent retail partners across North America and, more recently, the European Union. Their products can be found at a number of big-name retailers, which include the likes of Hot Topic, Gamestop, Target, and Spencer’s. They have offices located in Columbus, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Ohio, London, and Hong Kong.
Pranav Arora heads up special projects and oversees different units and divisions of Just Funky. His primary focus is innovating the licensing design and manufacturing field and improving B2B and B2C relationships. Under Pranav’s leadership, Just Funky was ranked as one of the ‘Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America’ on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2019 Entrepreneur360 list. These companies are recognized for their innovativeness, their strong company cultures, and their boundary-pushing contributions to their industry. Pranav credits this honorary ranking to the entrepreneurial spirit of his entire team.
Additionally, Pranav Arora is also the sole founder of Stunned Mind, which he started in 2015. Stunned Mind is the sister ecommerce company of Just Funky, and is on track to become one of the world’s leading commerce companies.
Just Funky also powers two other companies: Deciph-AR and NFT Merch. Deciph-AR is an augmented reality app that makes it possible for consumers to connect with their favorite brands and watch their merch come to life. NFT-Merch is also an AR-driven company in the metaverse that helps companies create immersive experiences for their physical products that their customers can enjoy.
Pranav Arora also serves as Partner at a number of companies, including ILG Property Investors and PSSR Holdings. Previously, he was Founder & CEO of Highly Educated and before that, he was a salesperson at Funky People.
Outside of his professional endeavors, Pranav is an avid philanthropist who supports a number of causes that are dear to his heart, including funding education efforts and helping children in need. Pranav Arora is Chairman of the Board for The Arora Foundation, whose mission is providing educational opportunities and resources to underprivileged and marginalized communities. Pranav believes every child is deserving of an opportunity to pursue their academic goals, regardless of their demographic background. Pranav is also Vice President and Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Just Funky Foundation, an award-winning non-profit organization passionate about creating opportunities for students everywhere. Pranav recently led a donation to the Wooster City School District, which included 5,000 lanyards to give to all of their students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Pranav is proudly part of a few organizations as well, which include the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and the Asian Indian Alliance.
In his free time, Pranav loves spending time with his family and traveling the world.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I started JMTD Holdings because I wanted to work with other entrepreneurs and business leaders and help them bring their larger-than-life ideas into existence. My goal with the company was to find passionate, innovative leaders looking to not only change their industries, but society as well, and provide them with the funding they need to achieve their business dreams.
Just Funky, on the other hand, was founded as a family-owned company. We’re focused on developing new products that are unlike any other product in the market so that consumers have access to one-of-a-kind items that are as functional as they are memorable.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
On a typical day, I arrive at the office at 6:30am and prepare my agenda with all of my daily tasks. I start by creating my “Rocks List,” which consists of all the top priorities that need to be accomplished that day, and then I proceed from there. As soon as 8am rolls around, I have a meeting scheduled with our global teams which are based in India, China, and London. My role during this time is to discuss our objectives and what production has been completed. Following the completion of these meetings, I spend the first half of my day responding to all of my emails and ensuring that everything has been addressed. It is all about strategy from 12pm to 4pm. This time is dedicated to setting up a strategy for how I can expand my business and achieve success at its highest level. From about 5-7pm, I conclude my workday by researching ways to grow personally and professionally. In my opinion, this is the most significant time of my day because I get to reflect on ways to improve not only my business, but also myself. Staying organized on my tasks, and not letting up just because it is getting close to the end of the day, is key to making my days productive.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My determination to bring my ideas to life is the foundation for my success. If you aren’t wholeheartedly committed to seeing your ideas through, they aren’t going to pan out. Alongside this commitment, I also tap into my support system as well. If I’m wrestling with an idea for too long, I’ll call my mentors and talk through it with them. They’re very transparent with me and will help me flesh an idea out to make it even stronger, but they’ll also tell me when an idea needs to be scrapped completely. This honesty and camaraderie is exactly the kind of support every entrepreneur and business leader needs.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The metaverse. The virtual world in general is such a fascinating concept, and the metaverse is just another facet of technology that’s changing the face of entertainment, business, and life in general. Navigating the physical realm is already so interesting, and the metaverse is like living in a parallel universe. You can buy real estate, purchase products, and communicate with people from all over the world. And that’s barely the tip of the iceberg.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Stay consistent. Whether it’s in your day-to-day schedule or working towards your long-term goals, being consistent in everything you do is how you can maintain productivity. Only you know how you work best, so once you figure out how to hit your stride, keep with it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Never second-guess yourself. You didn’t start your first million dollar company at 16-years-old out of luck. Every decision you made, even the incredibly difficult ones, got you to that point — and got you to where you are today. Even when it meant dropping out of college and not having the support of your family for a few years. The hardships and challenges were all worth it in the end, and you’ll be glad you never doubted yourself.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Entrepreneurship should be fun. The business world is too somber and serious sometimes. If you don’t balance hard work with fun, you’re going to burn yourself out. If you let the mental, emotional, and physical toll of running a business overwhelm you, you’re going to lose your identity and your passion — and that’s a terrifying thing. Make time for fun, and involve your team as well.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I have never stopped investing in my professional development since starting my first company when I was just 16-years-old. No business leader, no matter how experienced they are, has ever reached the ceiling of growth and development. There is always more to learn, especially with technology’s rapid rate of disruption. If you want to be successful and hope to become a leader in your industry (and maintain that status), you need to be constantly investing in yourself.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The success of your company relies on the support of your customers. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t put my customers first. Get to know them. Provide your customers with the products and/or services they truly want. Make sure that their experience with your brand is exceptional from start to finish.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Something I’ve failed at towards the beginning of my career, which I believe is something most entrepreneurs will go through, is hiring the wrong people for my team. There have been times in my past where I let people slip through the cracks because their experience seemed too great to pass up, despite having doubts about their cultural fit. In the end, these employees never lasted long because they either quit or had to be let go. Now, I’m more focused on hiring the right people, not the “best” people. I’ll never make those same mistakes again.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I mentioned the metaverse in response to question #4, but I think it would be interesting for people to start turning their interests into profitable ventures in the virtual world. Become a virtual interior designer, a virtual clothing designer, or a virtual landlord. There are endless opportunities to tap into that might not be as available in the physical world. Why not take advantage?
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Donating money to a charity. Philanthropy is such a huge part of my life, and it’s something I dedicate a lot of my time and resources to.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google calendar. It’s not a very flashy time management tool, but I like to keep it simple when it comes to organizing my schedule. Google calendar is connected to so many devices that it just makes sense. Since I always have my phone with me, I can easily check what I have on my agenda for the day from wherever I am.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. I really like Vaynerchuk’s approach to business. This book shines a light on why it’s important for business leaders to build a solid online presence for themselves, which is something I also believe is critical to someone’s success.
What is your favorite quote?
“You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.” — Steven Denn
Hiring the best person isn’t always hiring the right person for your team.
Whether you’re a first-year or decades-long entrepreneur, always invest in yourself.
Consistency is key to business success.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.