Over the span of two days, the Chemical Ventures Conference 2019 will feature several sessions focusing on innovation, investment, and deal flow in the chemical arena. Invited speakers with vast knowledge about venturing and investing in the chemical industry will share their thoughts, outcomes, and strategies for success.
The goal of this conference is to highlight the large untapped opportunity in the chemicals market that could ultimately benefit the economy, provide high quality jobs, and provide critical materials to the broader marketplace.
Henry Uyeme will be speaking about his startup company, Intrida, which provides innovative data management solutions to various chemical and process industries. He will be delivering his speech at the Chemical Ventures Conference 2019 in April. I spoke with Henry about the inspiration behind Intrida, the goals he hopes to accomplish, as well as the challenges he faces as a startup company in the chemical industry.
Introduce your startup to our readers. How did you get started? Where are you located?
We are tech startup based in Cambridge, UK, that is working on the research and development of innovative intelligent data integration solutions for a variety of industries like chemicals, process, etc.
We got started after we realized that areas/processes within the technical sectors of our target industries have been identified to be grossly inefficient with the validation and management of their technical data. We attempted to sculpt out a solution set which employed the use of modern and available technologies, as well as simple methodologies.
We had these solution concepts vetted by seasoned industry experts and other engineers before deciding to proceed as a startup and focus on delivering our solution concepts to the industry.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur and pursue your idea?
Having worked in engineering technology firms which catered to chemicals as well as other technical industries, I observed firsthand how large companies, such as those I worked in, were fairly slow to respond to some of the broad challenges in the aforementioned industries. It was almost a bureaucratic process in order to define elegant solutions for identified pressing issues, and the time taken to fully generate deliverables was almost unjustified.
These and other observed development bottlenecks lead to dissatisfaction in both the levels of services provided as well as quality of engineering products delivered.
I knew that with a small but focused team of dedicated individuals who are free to better research and work on the issues surrounding the management and validation of the huge streams of technical data, we could provide streamlined and modern solutions based on our innovative ideas. This is largely because we are lean, agile, and able to accommodate rapid changes.
What problem does your startup hope to address?
Many engineering and technical projects struggle with validating and tracking the quality of their technical data. We are working on a system which will allow them to correctly verify, check, analyze and monitor that data, enabling them to generate error-free deliverables efficiently.
The optimization of this system will be achieved from knowledge gleaned from our engagement with the technology research bodies, key industry players, and also from our implementation of modern methods within our development processes.
What are some of the challenges your startup faces, specifically as a chemical startup?
Some of the challenges we face as a startup include the following:
Funding - We’ve had to self-fund (boot strap) our way so far. The presentation of our concepts to the selected market players, the development of our prototype (alpha) product, even travel has cost us quite a lot, and these expenses were covered by us.
Technical Support - Getting technical partners such as for software licensing etc., to trust in your vision enough to want to lend support. (We have been quite lucky in this regard.)
Industry Support - Reaching out to many of the chemical companies and other industry players has been a challenge, as we didn’t always know someone on the inside who could help introduce us to the right channels. Cold calling and e-mailing isn’t very much appreciated by their recipients. We are hoping to leverage our network within AIChE to better reach out to relevant companies, showcasing our concepts and the benefits.
Henry is the Founder and CEO of Intrida, a startup based in Cambridge, UK, that is working on the research and the development of innovative intelligent data integration solutions for a variety of industries like chemicals, oil/gas, process etc. Having spent more than a decade working for engineering technology firms such as AVEVA group (as a senior engineering applications consultant) and Dassault Systemes - SolidWorks (as an assemblies quality assurance manager), and on large projects in the chemical and process industries, he observed firsthand how such large software companies (such as those mentioned above) were fairly slow to respond to some of the broad data quality challenges in the aforementioned industries. Intrida is our avenue to sculpting out solution sets which employ the use of modern and available technologies as well as simple methodologies which attempt to allow for efficient validation and management of technical data within our target industries. Our mantra remains "Keep things very simple!". The company is currently at a seed fund raising stage, and after a successful prototype development, Intrida has now started work on their flagship product beta development. Henry holds a B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering (Major in Aeronautics) from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary, and an M.Sc in Mechanical Engineering (Major in Computational Modeling) from Aston University Birmingham, UK.