Matthew Michalewicz – CEO – Complexica

Matthew MichalewiczThere is no doubting Matthew Michalewicz’s pedigree in business. During this episode of The Arete Podcast, I explore how Matthew, an only child of parents living in communist Poland, grew up to be named in Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list of high achieving young business leaders.

Matthew’s current role as CEO of his new firm Complexica sees him working alongside his father, who is a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence. Matthew is showing large companies how they can apply artificial intelligence to big data, to sell more products and services while reducing labour costs. Matthew is frank about having some 200 meetings with 70 plus companies, in order to complete the primary research and ensure Complexica’s software would resolve his customers’ pain points.

During the interview I explore the story of Matthew’s previous business SolveIt Software, which he started in 2005 (again partnering with his father). SolveIT also applied artificial intelligence to optimise complex supply chains which required the scheduling and planning of people, machinery and multiple logistical movements. Matthew grew the company from zero to over $20 million in revenue with over 180 employees. SolveIT Software was ranked as the 3rd fastest growing company in 2012, won numerous awards and boasted an enviable client list including Rio Tinto, Xstrata and BHP Billiton.

It’s fascinating to hear Matthew describe the process of selling SolveIT, which was purchased in 2012 by Schneider Electric. Once the sale was complete, Matthew was able to take a short break from business to concentrate on writing another of his books, which include Life in Half a Second”, “Winning Credibility”, “Puzzle-Based Learning, and “Adaptive Business Intelligence”.

Matthew and I travel further back in time to explore what life in business was like for him while he was based in the USA. We explore his tenure as CEO and CoFounder of NuTech Solutions in the USA, which was the first business he undertook with his father. NuTech had six international offices, a staff of close to 200 people and raised more than $15 million USD in venture capital. Matthew shares the lessons he learnt around business scalability and how he sought mentorship and advice from the board he established. He tells inspiring stories about the persistence which enabled him to attract high profile people like former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Walesa; former Bank of America Chairman, Hugh McColl Jr.; and world renouned  fraud expert and subject of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster “Catch Me If You Can” Frank Abagnale, and former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Prior to NuTech, Matthew co-founded and operated a financial planning and money management firm, and before that, a personal fitness training business while he was at university studying finance. He reviewed all the regular job options such as ‘flipping burgers’ but he was hungry to earn more than just a minimum wage to assist with his tuition. With a passion for fitness training, the 18 year old learned what it means to be an entrepreneur and, as Matthew describes it, “hold the reigns of your destiny in your hands and have the freedom and control around your own actions and direction in life”.

Matthew has been named the Pearcey Foundation “Entrepreneur of the Year”, University of North Carolina “Alumnus of the Year” and Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist. His businesses and business acumen have featured many times on television and in print including Time, Newsweek and Forbes. He is also a board director at Prophecy International (ASX: PRO) and ComOps (ASX: COM), and a Limited Partner in Blackbird Ventures, an Australian early-stage venture capital fund. From 2005 – 2016 he held the position of Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide where he lectured on the subject of technology commercialisation for graduate students.

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