Paweł Malicki is 29 years old and is currently living in Brazil, where he is developing his mobile application, Flapper, a mobile marketplace for private flights.
Why did you decide to study at the UWM?
I found my way to Olsztyn by accident. I come from a small town in central Poland. From a very early age, we worked hard on our grandfather’s farm. One day, my brother decided that he would like to try his hand at large-scale agriculture. He was then 18, and I was 13 years old. Poland was joining the European Union at that time and it was the last chance to purchase land at a low price. We found a huge state-owned farm near Olsztyn and decided to buy it. These were the six most difficult years of my life, full of sacrifice. Actually, I wanted to study in Warsaw, but Olsztyn was the only option, as our business developed better than we had planned. I was admitted to economics (2006-2009).
What are your memories from studies and from Kortowo?
The level was high and I began to enjoy the UWM more and more. In the second year, I started programming. I also practiced sport. After a year, I achieved second place in Poland in Muay Thai boxing. Kortowo inspired me. This is definitely the best campus I have seen.
How did your educational and career path develop later on?
In the third year, I left for a student exchange to Sweden. Sweden opened my eyes to the world and, after this exchange, I knew I wanted to try my hand abroad. After leaving the Swedish university, I returned to Poland and defended my diploma at the UWM. Due to family problems, my dreams about leaving abroad for master studies could not come true. I applied for studies conducted in the English language at the Warsaw School of Economics and I was admitted. I discontinued my IT studies, as I realized that I had to focus on what I was good at, namely, business and economics. I participated in various internships. I also set up a virtual sales site for phones and took part in various programmes, as I found studying too boring. I was the top student at the Warsaw School of Economics. Actually, I had the highest possible grade average. On the rector’s recommendation, I was sent to Taiwan, to the exclusive National Chengchi University. I also managed to join a master’s degree seminar conducted by Leszek Balcerowicz. The trip to Taiwan proved crucial for my career. The world opened up even more for me. In Taiwan, I met highly intelligent people. As a matter of fact, each student at the exchange was from a top university: HEC, Harvard, etc. Even today, they are my best friends and we meet once or twice a year.
Since you liked it in Taiwan, how did you end up in Brazil?
I wanted to stay in Taiwan very much, but my visa expired. I also had to come back for the defence of my M.A. thesis supervised by Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz. One day a friend from the Swedish university asked me to participate in his start-up in Gothenburg. Start-ups were my love at first sight. After a year, I went to the Philippines to another start-up, where I met the founders of Easy Taxi, the largest taxi application in the world at that time. After two months of working together, they invited me to Brazil and I have been there until now.
What are you doing there?
At the beginning, I worked as the global chief marketing officer (CMO) for more than 36 countries. After 3 years in Easy Taxi, I decided to open my own consulting company focused on mobile marketing. One day I met Sergey, a Russian who lived in Brazil who had an idea of making an application for private flights. Sergey had resources and a vision, but he had no idea about the market or marketing. I joined the team and this is how Flapper was born. The application allows you to hire a helicopter or a private jet, but you pay for a seat, so our target is the middle class. I became the CEO of this company. I also indulged my passion for public speaking and wrote a 500 page book about mobile marketing, the first one of this type in the world. In 2016, I was a speaker at events, Amsterdam and Dubai. This last trip brought me an additional function – in Las Vegas, Berlin a member of the supervisory board of Splyt, a technology company from Moscow.
What are your plans for future?
I am going to stay in Brazil for 2-3 more years, and then I am planning to move to Dubai. I know a lot of people there and that city needs specialists like me. My fiancée works for the Brazilian government and she is taking a course in diplomacy, so if everything goes well, we will soon be changing countries every 2-3 years. I want to open a virtual company, which will let me work from any place in the world. I have already prepared the concept. So far, have visited 78 countries and lived in 8, so it is time for real adventures.
You have been recognized in the prestigious “30 under 30” Forbes list. What does this title mean for you?
The Forbes recognition is very important for me. I am convinced that everything I do makes sense and that I am moving in the right direction. It also proves that young Poles, particularly from small towns, can conquer the world and make it in life.