Wladyslaw Wygnanski talks to us about how his passion in science led to him starting out in business to make a difference
What do you currently do at Camcon Medical?
I am a Director within a small team of four at Camcon Medical and the inventor of the Binary Actuation Technology (BAT), which underpins all of our innovations. I first invented this revolutionary smart valve technology 20 years ago, following a request from the marine industry asking if I could create an energy efficient sound source for fog horns anchored at sea. The versatile valve technology delivers rapid, low energy and precise flow control and has since been adapted for other industries, with a successful heritage in the automotive, oil and gas industries.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I have a great passion for science, with a particular interest in physics and engineering, and a fervent desire to understand how mechanisms work with the primary aim of improving the effectiveness of a device. I came to London from Poland in 1987 looking for opportunities to apply my theoretical knowledge and experience to create practical applications and solutions. I set up Cambridge Concept Ltd., which gave me a wealth of experience and led to the formation of Camcon Federation of Companies based on the fundamental invention of BAT.
The potential medical applications of BAT were always on my mind with a clear intention to solve areas of unmet needs in the healthcare and life sciences industries, directly benefiting people and improving the quality of their live. This was one of the main drivers behind setting up Camcon Medical alongside the team. We officially launched the company last year, starting with a focus on medical devices within respiratory care, as within this area there is a huge unmet need in terms of patient care and substantial healthcare costs.
Camcon Medical’s first medical device venture into oxygen therapy, the Intelligent Medical Oxygen Delivery system (IMOD®), currently at prototype stage, was actually partly due to a request from the Air Ambulance Service who asked if BAT could be used to extend the time-of-usage of their helicopter oxygen supply for patients, which is a limiting factor on the length of time the helicopter can remain in the air and, therefore, the distance they can cover.
What defines your way of doing business?
I like to keep an open mind and take a collaborative approach to the way I work. It’s important for business development to work with a mix of people with various skills and expertise (e.g. industry experts, advisors, designers, engineers, investors etc.) to maximise the capabilities and to create an environment to make the right key decisions, especially when venturing into a new industry.
I was lucky to meet the right people at the right time, including Daniel Chapchal and Lord David Young, both part of the Camcon Federation of Companies, who I trust and have been instrumental in the success of BAT across several industries.
Who do you admire?
I must admit, I always admired Sir Clive Sinclair – an English entrepreneur and inventor – most commonly known for his work in consumer electronics in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His early products ZX80 and ZX81 allowed a younger audience to grasp fundamental concept of a software operating on a given hardware. I sincerely believe that current leading software designers started 40 years ago with a humble ZXs or Spectrum.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Most certainly! There are lots, but one of mine would have been to reduce the number of projects we pursued in the early days, which were very ambitious, but required a long waiting period to see any profits.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
My key piece of advice I would give is simple; try to find a solution to an existing and real problem or unmet need, don’t look for a problem to fit your solution or invention.