They’re young, they’re smart and they’ve gone far in their business. Among those with billions on their bank accounts, you’ll find the founders of the e-commerce company Alza, online perfumery Notino.cz or sports stats website Livesport. To some of them, the coronavirus pandemic brought a chance to kickstart their business even more. Meet ten youngest Czech billionaires!
1. Michal Strnad – 8.5 billion crowns (28 years old)
At the beginning of 2018, his father entrusted him with the industrial concern Czechoslovak Group, which associates dozens of companies, including truck manufacturers Tatra and Avia, watchmaking company Prim or a major dealer and manufacturer of weaponry Excalibur Army. He found himself the executive director of a corporate group with a multi-billion turnover at the age of 22. Michal works as a director and has been the 100% owner for almost three years.
2. Michal Zámec – 3.5 billion crowns (37 years old)
Michal Zámec reigns supreme in the realm of online shopping in the Czech Republic. In 2004, he founded the online perfumery Parfums.cz and decided to give it a headstart with advertising in a lifestyle magazine for 200,000 crowns. And it paid off! In 2016, the company changed its name to Notino, mainly due to the unification of individual online stores. Notino currently operates in 22 European countries and the USA.
“I like everything done immediately, or better yet – it should have been done yesterday,”
that is the motto of this successful entrepreneur. His cosmetics-centred website won a large number of awards in the ShopRoku (“E-shop of the Year”) competition: the Popularity Award (2010-2012), the Quality Award in the Beauty and Health category (2015, 2016) and the Quality Award across all e-shops (2016).
3. Martin Hájek – 9.8 billion crowns (41 years old)
Martin Hájek has always been a huge betting enthusiast. However, unlike most other bettors, he managed to earn billions on his hobby. In 2006, together with Jiří Mareš, he founded Livesport, which is one of the world's largest providers of results, statistics and other information from more than 35 sports. Today, his websites and mobile applications have around 90 million users a month.
4. Ondřej Vlček – 4.2 billion crowns (43 years old)
Ondřej Vlček is the CEO of the Czech software company Avast. He took over the management of the company in 2019 from its long-time head Vince Steckler. He has been working for the company since 1995, starting as a part-time worker while studying at the Czech Technical University. In 2019, together with the Czech Technical University, he started the Avast laboratory for artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
Vlček is actively involved in charity work. Together with his wife, he founded, for example, the Zlatá rybka (“Golden Fish”) foundation, which helps seriously ill children.
5. Jiří Písařík – 7.3 billion crowns (43 years old)
Písařík is one of the few Czechs who dove into business with his wife. Together they founded the largest energy company in the Czech Republic, Bohemia Energy, in 2005. Since 2009, Bohemia Energy has also been supplying natural gas, thus being one of the first alternative energy companies to supply both electricity and natural gas to Czech households. Their revenues rose to 1.4 billion crowns even during the pandemic.
6. Aleš Zavoral – 18 billion crowns (44 years old)
Aleš Zavoral earned his incredible fortune by founding today's largest Czech e-shop Alza.cz in 1994. Originally he only focused on selling electronics, but in recent years the e-shop has expanded to include products such as alcohol and musical instruments. Even the pandemic did not endanger his business – on the contrary, actually! With the declaration of the state of emergency and going into lockdown, the demand for IT equipment began to rise rapidly. As a result, Alza registered the same growth during the first six months of the pandemic as during the whole of 2019 (4 billion crowns).
7. Pavel Bouška – 10.5 billion crowns (44 years old)
Vafo – that is the name of the company that Pavel Bouška took over from his father. He has been working in the family company, which produces dog and cat food, since he was 22 years old. At the time he took over the company, it had a turnover of 130 million crowns. After less than ten years, under his leadership, Vafo achieves revenues of more than 3 billion crowns a year. Today, it employs around 250 people and exports its fodder to 66 countries around the world. In May last year, Bouška bought a minority shareholding in Ski and Bike Center Radotín.
8. Martin Vohánka – 7.5 billion crowns (45 years old)
Martin Vohánka created the firm W.A.G. payment solutions specializing in payment solutions for transport companies. Today, more than 1,000 employees work for his firm every day. Their best-known product is called Eurowag – a tool for truck drivers to pay for fuel and tolls. Today, the company is one of the five largest in its field in Europe.
"At Eurowag, we are building something like Amazon for logistic, where you’ll find everything for trasnsporters in one place - from the purchase of fuel and tires to financial services," describes Vohánka.
9. Daniel Křetínský – 78 billion crowns (45 years old)
Although Daniel Křetínský takes ninth place in the ranking of the youngest Czech billionaires, he is third in the ranking of Czech billionaires in terms of assets. We could be talking about his property for days here. In 2009, he participated in establishing the Energetický a průmyslový holding (“Energy and Industrial Holding”) as a part of the J&T Group. Since 2017, he’s been its majority shareholder with a 94% share, and he’s also the majority shareholder of the EP Industries group. Since 2004 he has owned the football club AC Sparta Prague, which he’s also the head of.
Furthermore, Křetínský is also a co-owner of the Czech News Center publishing house, which includes, for example, the journals Blesk, Sport and E15 or the Reflex magazine.
10. Petr Pudil – 5.8 billion crowns (46 years old)
The last in our chart is Petr Pudil, a successful entrepreneur and co-founder of the company bpd partners, whose activities focus on real estate, renewable energy sources and investments in healthcare startup companies. He founded the company in 2010 together with Vasil Bobela and Jan Dobrovský. In 2005, Pudil, alongside other investors, bought Mostecká uhelná společnost (“Most Coal Company”), which they incorporated into the newly formed Czech Coal Group. And that was also what made Pudil fabulously rich, when he sold his share to companies owned by Pavel Tykač in 2010.