My accidental business celebrates 3 years with surprising growth
Accidentally building a thriving AI consulting company operating internationally.
It’s fair to say I’ve started my business, ulam.ai, by accident. In September 2016 I finished being a Research Fellow at Oxford and returned to Warsaw to become an assistant professor at Institute of Mathematics of Polish Academy of Sciences. You see, I was a mathematician doing pure mathematics. I was as far from business and practicality as possible back then. In 3 years everything changed.
Business started by accident
Around 2015, while still at Oxford, machine learning picked my interest, while I was looking for a way to automate proving math theorems. On the other hand I was reading tech news regularly so I was aware of amazing success stories of startups (and was naive enough to not know about epic failures of many more). Thus I had a notion of starting and running a business but I found difficult going into that direction as I had a stable position in academia as a researcher in various institutions (Paris, Oxford, Warsaw).
Nevertheless when I got back to Warsaw in 2016 I started talking to friends about potential collaboration. After all many of my old friends went into business and the first consulting gig quickly found me. Without even forming a company I was contracted by a large international enterprise for a couple of weeks. Impressed by my academic CV, they simply wanted to exchange ideas with someone on their next project.
It was a small project and it ended after two weeks, leaving me wanting more. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do and how to do it: no presentations, no sales pitches, no business plans. I vaguely knew that I wanted to do some AI/automation consulting and solve business problems to learn more. I was driven by curiosity like in my academic career.
The next gig came faster than I knew. I started a collaboration in March 2017 with a startup formed by a couple of my colleagues. This time I’ve decided to register a company and officially start under the new brand. The company was registered between March and May 2017 and I made an official launch (on social media and for friends) in May 2017, when I had…