What was the catalyst for launching the product? / Why are you doing what you’re doing?
We were moved by our clients’ demand and the transformative potential of generative AI. We’d been helping companies experiment with AI technologies for almost a decade and recognised that businesses wanted to experiment with generative AI in a risk-free environment too, to uncover the best use cases. Our new product, Workflow GPT, is an extension of that initial mission, but on a much larger scale.
Tell me about the product – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers, USP and so on?
WorkflowGPT is an all-in-one platform that helps professional services firms who work with large amounts of documents and data automate tasks using the latest Large Language Models (LLMs). Those firms don’t fully know how to approach LLMs yet and there are major concerns around compliance and security issues; our platform allows them to experiment with this technology in a safe and secure environment.
We take clients on a journey from experimenting with their data and LLMs with small groups of people to integrating LLMs in day-to-day tasks business-wide, without the need to purchase a bunch of different point solutions. We hope that our offering will help accelerate the adoption and realise the potential of generative AI within professional services.
How has the business evolved since its launch?
Initially, we just offered a starter tech kit for companies to be able to build on top of, but it quickly became clear that our clients wanted more. Over the course of six months, we spoke with more than a hundred major law firms and insurance companies, and realised that what they really wanted was a comprehensive solution they could pilot-test and then transition seamlessly into daily operations. So, we adjusted our product to match this.
What is your favourite thing about being a founder?
There are many!
- Doing what I love and knowing for a fact that it will change the world as we know it. Being part of something that people will write books about is very exciting.
- Working with my excellent team. As a founder, you get to choose who you work with. Being surrounded by the smartest people you ever met is incredibly energising.
- Solving only the most difficult problems. As a founder, you are usually deployed to the most difficult situations, such as starting your sales team. I love being in the heart of things, so this really plays to my strengths.
- Being around other founders. Founders are a very interesting type of people – they gravitate towards other founders and support each other.
Which founders or businesses do you see as being the most inspirational?
I am pretty cliché when it comes to people I admire in business- here are a few: Sam Altman, Beyonce, Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey.
Which other figures in your life inspire you?
- Nicolas Taleb – Trader, philosopher, professor and writer
- My wife Victoire – Doctor, cancer researcher, gynaecologist
- Tim Feris – Podcast producer, thinker and investor
- Andrew Huberman – Researcher and a professor
- David Sinclair – Researcher
What has been your biggest business fail?
My biggest fail was with a whisky accessories business I started in my twenties. Despite initial rapid growth, I didn’t fully consider the limited market size. After exhausting profitable PPC terms, growth plateaued, and even pivoting to the corporate gifting space didn’t help. It taught me the importance of understanding your market before getting caught up in early success.
What are the things you’re really good at as a leader?
I would say I’m skilled at simplifying complex concepts, leading teams in uncertain conditions, and avoiding micromanagement while setting high expectations and providing strong support. I also trust people and am able to keep perspective in challenging situations.
Which areas do you need to improve on?
I could write a long book about this one, but here is a short list: I need to be more organised, patient, willing to ask for help, a better listener, and less strong about my opinions.
What’s in store for the future of the business?
Lots of projects! We started with the legal sector as it will be the most disrupted by generative AI, but our product can work for most companies, so we would like to expand our offering to other industries. While the business is well-funded right now, we could also possibly raise funding to support our growth trajectory in the next few months. And we want to enhance our presence in North America, where we have a small New York office, with plans for a new office in Canada in 2024.
What advice would you give to other founders or future founders?
Be aware of your timing! As an entrepreneur, I found that timing is the most important thing. A few examples:
- Timing feedback to an employee
- Timing difficult news to the company
- Timing of your product, are you too early? Too late? Do you know how to tell?
- Timing of increasing your pricing
- Timing of your rest and hard work
- Timing for growth and for stabilisation period
I spend a lot of time thinking about good timing (not perfect timing, that’s too hard). Get timing right and everything else will fall into place faster (most of the time).
Also, I alluded to this above, but make time for rest. Being a founder is not a 9-5 job, if you let it, it will become a 24/7 job, and sooner or later you will burn out. Keeping your mental health and happiness levels should be a metric in your business, because you need it to lead.
Also, hire a coach, especially if you are a solo founder. If you can’t afford one yet, get closer to other founders who are a few steps ahead of you on the journey. Most of them are very happy to help and support – they are probably where they are because someone else has supported them in the past.
And finally, a more personal question! We like to ask everyone we interview about their daily routine and the rules they live by. Is it up at 4am for yoga, or something a little more traditional?
My weekdays generally involve early mornings (5-7am) for work (my brain works best first thing in the morning), family time with my wife and 18 months old son, exercise or reading papers and books. Then I go to the office and do more work, and generally have an afternoon full of meetings.
After 6pm it’s family time, reading and a bit of Netflix to relax in the evenings. Weekends are dedicated to family and friends, except Sunday late afternoon which is my dedicated introverted time: I lock myself in a room and read until I go to sleep.
Dawid Robert Kotur is Founder and CEO of Curvestone.