CruxOCM Startup Of The Week

Startup Of The Week – CruxOCM

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Founded in – 2018

Industry – Oil and Gas Technology

Founder – Vicki Knott and Roger Shirt

CEO – Vicki Knott

Team Size – 19 people

Below is the transcript of our interview with CruxOCM

How you simplify gas and oil operation for the control room operators? How does your entire team works?

We simplify by building software that amalgamates advanced control, dynamic physics, ML and rules-based logic to execute control room operators’ procedures, checklists and rules of thumb on their behalf. We integrate directly into the existing control system and execute these commands in real-time. Our team builds the software product features and then deploys the software in the customers’ environment.


Being a control software provider, how you implement Artificial Intelligence in your operation?

Assuming the definition of Artificial Intelligence is “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” Crux software completes decision-making and execution of those decisions as it pertains to the complex operations in heavy industry control rooms. By making the decisions and executing for control room operators (humans), crux products increase revenue for heavy industry, increase the safety of operations, and decrease the probability of an environmental incident.


What are the challenges you faced during the initial days? And how did you push through?

Being 2 technical engineers from heavy industry, we didn’t know how to start a business (we had never worked a sales pipeline, didn’t know how to qualify leads, had never heard of venture capital). We took lots of meetings and learned but the learning curve was very slow. We found the Techstars accelerator and were accepted. That was a pivotal point for us and if we didn’t get into the program, we likely would have thrown in the towel.


What is your vision and mission behind this company? And where you want to reach? Any future plans?

Automation is the aim, but humans are the heart of our business. Our long-term goal is to work within industry regulations to create a remote working environment for control room operators, helping operators stay safe and ensuring heavy industry operations continue even as the world changes. Just as planes are now standardized to have an auto-pilot that helps (but doesn’t replace) the human pilot, Crux OCM works alongside human operators in the control room to maximize revenue, increase safety, and decrease the probability of environmental incidents.


What have you failed at? And how you recover from that phase? Because being an entrepreneur is not easy, it’s like walking on the stone each day. What boosts your mind when you face failure?

Biggest failure so far was how much time we wasted before trying to get into a really good accelerator (in all honesty we didn’t know they existed but I wish we did). We spent 2.5 years and got no where until we started learning about how to build a business. What boosts my mind? This is what I have to do. The heavy industry needs this so I have to keep going if there is an opportunity to be had. Every time I was close to giving up something great would happen and so I could keep going.


In which cities or countries you’re currently serving? Any further expansion plans?

We are currently in Canada and the United States but expanding to more countries.


 Any secret formula to young entrepreneurs?

Only become an entrepreneur if you know it’s the only thing you can do with your skills/interests/personality. Any sort of half-assed attempt at entrepreneurship in the pursuit of fame and/or fortune will destroy your soul. Know yourself first before you try to become an entrepreneur. I believe entrepreneurship is a personality type.


Could you describe yourself in one word?



Before we conclude the interview, anything you want to say to Unboxing Startups team?

Thanks for having us! I hope this is helpful to others currently involved in or considering starting a venture.


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