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 20 th in our “8 Questions” collection — through which 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 tasks for asset house owners/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 now, we sit down with co-founder and CEO, Grzegorz Marecki, to listen to his story from the beginnings of Continuum Industries. We hope this will help different founders and aspirational entrepreneurs in their very own ventures.

1. What impressed you to be an entrepreneur?

My dream was at all times to design the massive techniques that make the trendy world run, resembling roads, railways, electrical grids and full cities. I’ve enormous respect for issues which can be so properly built-in into every 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 parts like bridge foundations, particular person columns, or drainage ditches earlier than ever getting to steer large-scale tasks. Whereas these small parts 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 known as HYPED, which constructed hyperloop prototype autos for Elon Musk’s competitors in California. I wished to experience on the hyperloop as quickly as doable, and this expertise made me realise how a lot may very well be performed to enhance the method of planning and creating bodily infrastructure.

It was an attention-grabbing second — we noticed an issue within the trade, we have been surrounded by among the smartest and most pushed individuals I had ever met, and we occurred to run into individuals who have been additional down of their careers and have been prepared to take a wager on us. I had additionally simply graduated so launching Continuum Industries turned 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 trendy world flip. As a substitute of engaged on one mission each few months, I arm engineers and planners with instruments to do a 10x higher job on dozens of tasks.

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

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

That ‘moonshot’ compelled us to consider infrastructure planning and design from the primary ideas to hurry up the mission improvement 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 thousands and thousands of kilometres of recent 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 on the lookout for methods to hurry issues up.

It took us a number of iterations when it comes to market, clients, product and enterprise fashions, however now we have discovered our area of interest, and we at the moment are taking Continuum Industries international.

Our software, Optioneer, has been used to evaluate over 30,000 km of choices of linear property to this point — whereas that’s an extended 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 provides no good choices, and we have to embrace this to maneuver ahead and obtain no matter it’s we’re chasing.

That is true when it comes to our product and trade — our clients usually have to decide on between attaining long-term decarbonisation objectives or avoiding shorter-term localised environmental and social impacts.

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

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

I wrestle to single out any someday 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 you must assist hold the rocket collectively. I feel the tweet under captures that feeling fairly properly. haha


I feel that spring 2020 was one of many strangest instances for us — we closed our £1.5m fundraise with Playfair in March, and actually per week later, the world floor to a halt. So whereas we have 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?

Once we began Continuum Industries, I had little gross sales expertise past promoting outrageously costly rickshaw rides round Edinburgh. I used to be capable of make as a lot as £800 per night time 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 have been getting promising traction with a number of clients, we weren’t partaking with sufficient new clients to help our development plans.

This was a really tangible enter that led to us recruiting our first gross sales improvement rep and enabled us to develop gross sales 7x prior to now 12 months.

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

Having the ability to work with wonderful individuals to assist construct a machine that constantly creates worth for its clients and the broader society.

The underside line for Continuum Industries is whether or not we’re serving to to maneuver in the direction of decarbonisation — we haven’t but quantified our impression when it comes to carbon discount however we all know that our clients have been capable of convey their renewable power mission programmes ahead by as a lot as 8 to 12 months. For utility-scale wind farms and electrical energy transmission tasks, the impacts are enormous.

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 may be nonetheless plenty of work to do, however that is already enormous and very tangible.

Our expertise’s impression on elementary points dealing with humanity attracts distinctive individuals to our group, making a flywheel impact. The extra nice individuals now we have, the extra worth we are able to create for our clients and society.

7. Crystal Ball: What are your plans for the longer term?

The subsequent 30 years are going to be important in terms of coping with local weather change — we mainly need to double the dimensions of the electrical energy grid globally by 2050. It’s not a problem the trade will be capable of sort out with out elementary modifications to how issues are performed.

Continuum Industries will play its half by unlocking quicker improvement of recent transmission infrastructure, which is important to make the power transition doable.

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

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 shifting from Poland to the UK ten years in the past, I usually 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 an excellent group of 30 individuals who play a important half in creating infrastructure price billions of kilos.

I might say that simply persevering with to push ahead constantly over time will enable you to get to locations you wouldn’t have thought have been out there.



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