A start-up that is founded on data
Here we present the story of a company that not only has impressive achievements but also counters a number of clichés that immediately come to mind when you hear the term “start-up”. For it proves that even an experienced entrepreneur can create a start-up. Moreover, you don’t really need to be involved with trendy wireless technologies to draw attention.
In neural networks
The beginnings of the start-up lie where most other businesses would fall into an infinite loop: neural networks. The future founders of ExMetrix, Ryszard and Zbigniew Łukoś, saw the potential of these structures for financial analysis and modelling. They turned their interest into fascination, and then their fascination into knowledge. They wrote more and more expert articles to more and more established magazines. Soon, their essays were published by the Rzeczpospolita national daily, the Parkiet daily that covers the stock exchange, and the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily. Between them, the two brothers published around a hundred articles on the use of neural network-based forecasting in various fields of our lives.
Sensitive to the ongoing changes around them, the Łukoś brothers started to take an interest in artificial intelligence, increasingly advanced analytical technologies, and hardware with increasing processing capabilities. All this allowed them to streamline the management of data optimisation. Ryszard and Zbigniew also noticed that despite the growing presence of the digital in our lives, and the increasing availability of valuable data, this data is not used efficiently. They believed that data was often collected primarily because it could be collected, and not because anyone had any idea how to use it. And they knew how to use it.
The most spectacular proof of the significance of neural networks that use data and artificial intelligence is the triumph of a robot over a human in the game of Go, which is popular in Asia and far more complex than the perhaps more familiar to us, chess.
Many believe this to prove one thing: people stand practically no chance when competing with AI.
Armed with such knowledge and skills, and with partners in the persons of Konrad Pawlus and Grzegorz Błażewicz, Ryszard and Zbigniew launched ExMetrix in 2016. All the elements of the puzzle clicked into place: the Łukoś brothers provided the know-how the form of proprietary, innovative mechanisms, and Grzegorz and Konrad contributed business acumen and additional financing.
The goal of the four was to launch an analytical platform that would provide valuable data and forecasts concerning the economy, markets, demographics, and social processes. They decided that their solution would support managers, financial directors, and expert analysts in their decision-making processes.
The key contributor to the value of ExMetrix is the use of just a single structure for linking databases and the tools to analyse them. This, as Zbigniew Łukoś emphasises, means that the analytical work is much shorter and generates notably fewer errors at the preparation stage. The solution is the outcome of many years of experience of the start-up founders who always work on the mechanisms they develop in person.
Databases start humming
Over the following two years, ExMetrix developed analytical tools and databases. The starting point were artificial intelligence technologies and big data, and the objective – the creation of databases capable of covering the broadest possible range of themes. The first data sets, composed of around 1 million time series, dealt primarily with macroeconomics. With the addition of further sources the number of data streams grew and after 12 months, the platform was already capable of analysing 20 million data streams from areas and fields comprising economy, social processes, meteorology, health, and air pollution. Today, the ExMetrix prepare their forecasts using no fewer than – a meagre – 100 million time series. They use the tools they developed themselves for efficient, quick, and multi-factor analysis. New analytical methods are added together with new tools, and also new mathematical modelling functions.
The platform starts
In 2019, the platform designed by ExMetrix is ready to be launched. The start-up begins the first implementations of the proprietary solution. At the same time, it applies to the KPT ScaleUP, an Industry 4.0 accelerator. The giant Azoty Group realises the potential of the opportunity represented by cooperation with the start-up, and it is alongside that company that the ExMetrix team fine-tunes their solutions over a six month period. The young company also expands its service offer by including ready-made models for forecasting key metrics that impact the business of a specific company. As a result, the ExMetrix team generates ready-made packages of models that forecast the prices of commodities, energy, CO2, and fuels.
Another effect of acceleration via KPT ScaleUP is the idea for delivering interactive analytical reports online. The forecasts and analysis they contain would be updated in real time as the latest information, readings, and listings are received.
Luckily for ExMetrix, COVID-19 has not slowed the development of the start-up. On the contrary, enjoying growing renown, the company has been invited by the Council for National Development as well as the Polish State Sanitary Inspectorate to cooperate on the modelling of the progress of the coronavirus pandemic in Poland.