EU alumnus Chris Kastenholz graduated from EU in 2012 with a BBA and has since gone on to co-found Pulse Advertising: an Influencer Marketing Platform that connects brands with influential social media personalities.
Can you tell us about your EU experience?
Completing my BBA at EU Business School Barcelona broadened my mindset and set me on the right path to building my own business. The entrepreneurial spirit at EU is strong, and the international student crowd builds a solid foundation to lasting alumni relationships.
What does Pulse Advertising do?
Pulse Advertising has evolved to become one of the leading agencies in the field of Instagram and YouTube marketing. We consult brands on their social media presence and promote their products through our international network of celebrities and high quality profiles. Our client range goes from large conglomerates such as Procter & Gamble or fashion brands such as UGG Australia, to unique niche brands such as SMS Audio by 50 Cent. The combined reach of the social influencers in our network is over 100 million potential consumers online. The profile categories range from national team football players to fashion icons. We are based in Hamburg and are due to open our Los Angeles office in June this year!
How did you turn your idea into a successful startup?
The idea was born with a fashion label I had previously founded, which was promoted mainly via social media. That proved the strength of these channels and helped us access this market at an early stage, so we are now in a highly competitive situation. Founding and building a business is a hands-on job. It is not about capital requirements or theories and plans. Once you have made the decision to grow your idea into a reality, you have to get out there and hit the ground running. You have to be in it with your heart and dedicate yourself to it with everything you have.
What’s been the most challenging part of your professional journey?
Believe in yourself and in your vision – no matter what. There will be obstacles and setbacks along the way. You have to stay true to what you believe in; disregarding the doubts others will have.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
It is amazing to travel and see the brands that my company works with on billboards around the world, however the cherry on the cake is to see that we help enable small start-ups from North America or Australia conquer new markets and grow. We are very happy to be in this position.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
I look ahead, not back. You make mistakes founding a business the first time, but you grow in the process. You cannot be vain, so being open to critique and rethinking your position is essential.
What values did you learn at EU that you find you apply to your professional life the most?
Discipline is essential. It is yourself that changes the outcome of where you want to go. Set priorities.
What’s been the most valuable advice you have ever received?
I have never had an idol, but I constantly look at success stories and try to capture the essence that combines them all. One of my favourite role models is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who against all odds made his way to the top not in one; but in three careers. Another is Muhammad Ali. Both of them had a rock solid belief in themselves.
What’s next for Pulse Advertising?
Pulse Advertising will continue its growth. Now we are in Hamburg, London, New York City and Milan. Next we’re looking to open floating offices in Asia, Spain, France, L.A. and Latin America.
Any advice for EU students who are thinking about starting their own businesses?
Make no excuses. You have to be hard on yourself – compete with yourself. Whether it is getting up early, doing uncomfortable tasks first or saying no to a drink on a night out. Focus!