Lost and Founded Series – Tomas Laboutka

Tomas Laboutka, the CEO of HotelQuickly, is secretly a thrill seeker.


Tomas Laboutka, the CEO of HotelQuickly, is secretly a thrill seeker. He has done what others might have thought of as "full-on risk" activities. Perhaps that's why he came up with the solution to people who enjoy the thrill of planning at the eleventh hour – last minute hotel booking app. But that's life - living it to the fullest. As startup founders, there are many things that might come as overwhelming. Tomas advises us to take baby steps to outsmart our brain from procrastinating. Just do something!

People say you are “Tomas Laboutka, the CEO and Co-Founder of HotelQuickly". Who do you say you are?

I'm a spontaneous traveler, a serial entrepreneur, passionate about bringing innovation and shaking up industries. Born and raised in Prague, I have always been drawn to travel and adventure. The culmination of my passions lead me to Southeast Asia in 2012 after working in Europe on a number of different ventures. Here, I assembled HotelQuickly founders to launch Asia-Pacific's leading last-minute hotel booking app.

Best moment in your startup life. It was so good you wanted to fly BusinessClass somewhere with someone, and pop open the most expensive bottle of champagne there.

Honestly, I’m pretty much up beat every day and popping champagne every day ☺. One of the really memorable moment was when we were launching. This was after 6 months of really hard work (we worked 7 days/week about 16h-18h/day). And then the moment came when we were announcing our launch at an event and got covered in some of the prime startup media (Tech Crunch etc).

What secret did you hide from your co-founder or partner or parent for the longest time? Why?

That is really hard. I'm really upfront and honest with my founders, there is nothing I can think of they wouldn't know.

What's the most eccentric thing about you? If VCs found out, they wouldn't have signed the term sheet then. But hell with that now.

I used to do quite a bit of “extreme” sports. I’m rather a thrill seeker and love the feeling of “flying”, so I did quite a bit of freestyle skiing, aggressive inline skating, downhill biking etc. Much unlike the public view on these sports might be, these are not dangerous, full-on risk activities. Just like with anything, it’s really important to be aware of the risks and to manage them.

Have you ever cried? Or what was the lowest, crappiest moment in your start-up life. You wanted to give up everything. You wanted to kill someone. (During your startup career of course) Tell us more!

I’m sure I did, but don’t remember, must have been a while ago. I think one of the key things in building a company is to accept the pace of “up and downs” and not to take it too personally. I really don't get these moments of being really down frequently.

What are you up to today? What gets you up in the morning?

I make sure to start the day with a workout, whether that means I have to wake up at 5am or 6am. Today I had an early conference call with our investor, then line up 4 meetings with strategic marketing partners and investors and then I’m off to airport. Now on a plane to Indonesia (will send this mail once I land ☺) – Thank you Tomas!

How do you keep yourself physically and mentally fit for start-up life?

I believe that staying physically strong keeps me mentally strong. I am dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle so my body can keep up with the rigorous demands of startup life. Staying active is a key part to staying motivated; the right diet and exercise is crucial for sustaining the energy to keep working at full capacity. Being fit is a cornerstone of my happiness.

Offer a life hack (or two) to a young founder.

There is no perfect idea. No perfect condition. Just do something and then evolve.

Favourite quote.

“If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, then do something, anything really, and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.” – Mark Manson

Getting started is not easy and you can get overwhelmed by all the things you want to do. The mountain can be a little too high for you to climb and your brain can kick in with the old “can do it later” comfy song. Outsmart your brain by taking small steps. Just do something for a few moments. Go for a fast run around the block. Research for your dream job for a couple of minutes a day. Open Lonely Planet for a moment. With every single step like this, you will start rewriting the old comfy patterns, and slowly but surely your brain starts accepting these as your new status quo.

Who and what inspires you?

My parents are a great source of inspiration for me. My father was an entrepreneur who instilled a sense of business opportunities and responsibility from a young age, and taught me about the freedom of building my own future.

I’m inspired whenever I see someone with passion going against the odds.

Tell me about Tomas Laboutka in 2030.

Just like in 2015, Tomas is leading a happy live, living to the fullest.

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