“Nowhere is the flow of information as good as in the office. A small thing for one person can be a gamechanger for another,” says Mateusz Pawełczuk, CEO and Co-founder of AIDA Diagnostics. He admits that the right space unlocked his company’s full potential, crucial when you decide to jump off the cliff.
Mateusz Pawełczuk graduated from Medical School, but being a full-time doctor was not his destiny. He wanted to operate on a larger scale and founded AIDA – a startup that helps medical professionals better manage blood transfusion systems.
In the bright space of HubHub, where AIDA has its Warsaw office, we talk about his amazing career. Despite the pandemic, part of the team works mostly in the office. Mateusz emphasizes that the working environment is extremely important for a startup like AIDA. “Of course we are flexible and we do not force anyone to work from the office, but we encourage our teammates to do that.”
“We have 13 people at AIDA, so it’s not hard to get the whole team together. And it increases creativity. Even a coffee break can be inspiring. When you have a startup, you breathe startup, you live startup.”
Exploring the AI
His interest in Artificial Intelligence arose rather accidentally. While still a medical student, he started working part-time in Copernicus Science Center. He got that job by accident too. He didn’t have a college degree at the time, a must if you work for public institutions. “But someone had forgotten to write that in the recruitment offer and I was taken,” explains Mateusz.
He spent a year researching AI and found it fascinating. “I was paid to read about AI, so I had the opportunity to look into it from the ethical and technological perspective. I was excited and I knew I wanted to explore this topic further,” he says.
Founding a startup
With two friends by his side, he founded a startup. They had no clear idea what they wanted to do, other than use AI to solve problems in medicine.
“We set out to find the greatest challenge. I already had some experience as a doctor and I noticed a big problem with blood transfusions. The existing patterns were not really working, the system was not efficient. We knew we wanted to address this situation and we wanted to find a solution in Poland before someone else would do it and sell us the technology.”
The road to success was not always smooth. AIDA offers a product that requires medical certification, which is not easy to obtain. The team developed solutions, tested them in a hospital, and gathered feedback. They were ready to start clinical trials when Covid-19 hit.
The Covid challenge
“We didn’t want to impose extra work on doctors, who already were dealing with multiple duties. We are waiting for the pandemic to pass,” Mateusz explains, being optimistic about the future. He believes that AIDA is a real help and not just another tool that needs to be learned.
“Our system for blood donation centers gives a preview of how much blood they will need and when to collect it – when to launch a campaign, when to send a mobile blood donation bus or when to post on social media.”
“Our goal is to make a digital version of ‘from vein to vein’ concept. We want to help doctors, hospitals, and institutions that collect blood.”
He adds that AIDA is efficient and user-friendly. “We’ve invested heavily in our UI and UX so that doctors don’t have to learn the system. Our product is not only technically good, but it is also functional.”
So how do they work?
An office that supports creativity
“We started AIDA as a trio, now we have 13 people on board. Everyone works from anywhere – on our development team we have young dads who prefer to work from home so they can take better care of their families. But I was already working from home before AIDA and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I really wanted to get back to the office because I didn’t have a clear boundary between my professional and private life,” says Mateusz.
Until then, AIDA had rented six desks in the investor’s office but they knew they needed a change.
“We realized that an office was essential for a startup like AIDA. Thanks to ShareSpace, a couple of months ago we moved into HubHub and couldn’t be happier. The Community Team is great, so is the atmosphere. The infrastructure, the amenities – it couldn’t be better. I mean, we even get our desks cleaned every day!”
“If you have a startup, you need an office”
Mateusz feels really comfortable in the space he’s rented. And he admits that he’s much more productive now.
“When I used to work from home, I felt like I was always busy doing something else. Thanks to working in an office, I’m free of that. I understand why some big companies started in a garage, but the office is so much better!” he laughs.
He adds: “If you’re running a startup that’s supposed to be looking for new solutions and new business models, you have to have an office. If you’re just going to jump off the cliff and build your plane on the way, you shouldn’t clip your wings by working from your couch.”
“That way, you’ll never fully realize the potential you have and the potential of collaboration. And you do that by being in physical space, together,” Mateusz concludes.
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