Home Venture Capital “8 Questions with Playfair” ft. Grzegorz Marecki @ Continuum Industries | by Chris Smith | Playfair Weblog

“8 Questions with Playfair” ft. Grzegorz Marecki @ Continuum Industries | by Chris Smith | Playfair Weblog

“8 Questions with Playfair” ft. Grzegorz Marecki @ Continuum Industries | by Chris Smith | Playfair Weblog


That is the 20th in our “8 Questions” collection — wherein we sit down with founders within the Playfair portfolio who share their entrepreneurial journey.

We first invested in Continuum Industries, an AI pushed, cloud-based optioneering platform that dramatically accelerates the event of linear infrastructure, in 2020. Since then, the corporate has constructed and deployed Optioneer throughout quite a few massive scale infrastructure initiatives for asset homeowners/operators. Optioneer has additionally turn out to be the go to software program for utility firms and nationalised infrastructure operators to extend their transmission capability to hit formidable web zero targets.

Right this moment, we sit down with co-founder and CEO, Grzegorz Marecki, to listen to his story from the beginnings of Continuum Industries. We hope this may also help different founders and aspirational entrepreneurs in their very own ventures.

1. What impressed you to be an entrepreneur?

My dream was all the time to design the massive techniques that make the fashionable world run, resembling roads, railways, electrical grids and whole cities. I’ve big respect for issues which might be so effectively built-in into day by day life that we find yourself taking them with no consideration.

This led me to turn out to be a civil engineer. Nevertheless, after I began working within the trade, I shortly realised that I must spend 20 years designing small components like bridge foundations, particular person columns, or drainage ditches earlier than ever getting to steer large-scale initiatives. Whereas these small components are extremely vital, it was the massive image that I used to be enthusiastic about.

Throughout my college years, I had a great deal of enjoyable at a scholar society referred to as HYPED, which constructed hyperloop prototype automobiles for Elon Musk’s competitors in California. I needed to journey on the hyperloop as quickly as attainable, and this expertise made me realise how a lot could possibly be carried out to enhance the method of planning and growing bodily infrastructure.

It was an fascinating second — we noticed an issue within the trade, we had been surrounded by a number of the smartest and most pushed folks I had ever met, and we occurred to run into individuals who had been additional down of their careers and had been prepared to take a guess on us. I had additionally simply graduated so launching Continuum Industries grew to become the one logical factor to do subsequent.

I now get to develop instruments different engineers and planners use to design the bodily infrastructure that makes the fashionable world flip. As a substitute of engaged on one challenge each few months, I arm engineers and planners with instruments to do a 10x higher job on dozens of initiatives.

2. Can you are taking us again to the beginnings of Continuum Industries?

Continuum Industries was impressed by a dream of constructing a 1000 kph journey a actuality.

That ‘moonshot’ compelled us to consider infrastructure planning and design from the primary rules to hurry up the challenge growth course of.

Nevertheless, we fairly shortly realised that nobody is definitely constructing hyperloop strains simply but, so there would merely be no marketplace for us.

Whereas hyperloop was far off, we realised that the transition to web zero goes to require hundreds of thousands of kilometres of latest infrastructure constructed actually shortly to attach renewable power to centres of demand. And since it at the moment takes 12 years on common to take an electrical transmission line from idea to operation in a rustic just like the UK, the trade has been actively searching for methods to hurry issues up.

It took us a number of iterations by way of market, prospects, product and enterprise fashions, however we now have discovered our area of interest, and we are actually taking Continuum Industries international.

Our instrument, Optioneer, has been used to evaluate over 30,000 km of choices of linear belongings to this point — whereas that’s a protracted distance, it’s nonetheless solely the start of Continuum Industries.

3. What’s the hardest lesson realized since day 1?

That we dwell in a world that always affords no good choices, and we have to embrace this to maneuver ahead and obtain no matter it’s we’re chasing.

That is true by way of our product and trade — our prospects typically have to decide on between reaching long-term decarbonisation targets or avoiding shorter-term localised environmental and social impacts.

The identical applies to constructing an organization — it’s typically extra vital to make choices shortly and study from them slightly than dwell on points for a very long time.

4. What has been your strangest day as a founder?

I battle to single out any in the future because the strangest as a result of every day is stuffed with swings. On the one hand, you’re feeling such as you’re on high of the world and successful, however alternatively, a great deal of issues simply hold falling aside, and it’s important to assist hold the rocket collectively. I believe the tweet under captures that feeling fairly effectively. haha


I believe that spring 2020 was one of many strangest instances for us — we closed our £1.5m fundraise with Playfair in March, and actually every week later, the world floor to a halt. So whereas we had been hiring and very enthusiastic about what was subsequent, we struggled to reconcile our pleasure with what was taking place round us.

5. What have you ever realized out of your traders because you first fundraised?

After we began Continuum Industries, I had little gross sales expertise past promoting outrageously costly rickshaw rides round Edinburgh. I used to be in a position to make as a lot as £800 per evening on the rickshaw, however that was nowhere near what operating enterprise gross sales is like.

Throughout a board assembly about two years in the past, our traders helped us realise that whereas we had been getting promising traction with a number of prospects, we weren’t partaking with sufficient new prospects to assist our progress plans.

This was a really tangible enter that led to us recruiting our first gross sales growth rep and enabled us to develop gross sales 7x up to now yr.

6. As a founder, what’s your proudest achievement to this point?

Having the ability to work with wonderful folks to assist construct a machine that persistently creates worth for its prospects and the broader society.

The underside line for Continuum Industries is whether or not we’re serving to to maneuver in direction of decarbonisation — we haven’t but quantified our influence by way of carbon discount however we all know that our prospects had been in a position to carry their renewable power challenge programmes ahead by as a lot as 8 to 12 months. For utility-scale wind farms and electrical energy transmission initiatives, the impacts are big.

We’ve even seen goal dates for brand new community operations accelerated by as a lot as 3 years after work was carried out utilizing Optioneer. There’s nonetheless quite a lot of work to do, however that is already big and very tangible.

Our know-how’s influence on elementary points dealing with humanity attracts distinctive folks to our crew, making a flywheel impact. The extra nice folks we now have, the extra worth we are able to create for our prospects and society.

7. Crystal Ball: What are your plans for the long run?

The subsequent 30 years are going to be essential with regards to coping with local weather change — we mainly need to double the scale of the electrical energy grid globally by 2050. It’s not a problem the trade will be capable to deal with with out elementary modifications to how issues are carried out.

Continuum Industries will play its half by unlocking sooner growth of latest transmission infrastructure, which is essential to make the power transition attainable.

Our imaginative and prescient is to construct the go-to working system that helps builders take their challenge from an idea to a allow as quick as attainable and on the lowest attainable threat.

8. #1 piece of recommendation to an aspirational founder?

I have a tendency to enroll to the saying that concepts are sometimes low-cost and execution is what issues probably the most.

After transferring from Poland to the UK ten years in the past, I typically discovered myself with not more than £20 in my account on the finish of the month.

Quick ahead a number of years, and we now have a superb crew of 30 individuals who play a essential half in growing infrastructure value billions of kilos.

I might say that simply persevering with to push ahead persistently over time will show you how to get to locations you wouldn’t have thought had been accessible.



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