We talked to Pablo R. Outón of INDRESMAT about redefining the thermal envelope of buildings and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Pablo R. Outón: 2 months ago, some close relatives were infected by COVID-19, but fortunately, they are now healthy. However, 2020 has been the most important year in my life, both on the personal and professional levels since we have a 7-month baby at home, which is the most beautiful thing in life. In addition, an important milestone of our company was successfully achieved, such as the implementation of our manufacturing demo plant to deliver KLIMA-PUR windows on a pilot scale.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded INDRESMAT.
Pablo R. Outón: I’m a polymer chemist and a purpose-driven person who wanted to make a positive impact on the environment and people’s life. After an 11-year career in different areas, such as production, quality, and R&D within different types of companies (multinationals, SME’s, and public research organizations); I decided to become an entrepreneur with all the knowledge and experience gained in biobased Polyurethane materials (bioPUR). INDRESMAT was inspired by our old family business related to the distribution of construction materials, and in October 2017 I founded my startup thanks to the support of my family and best friends who always trusted in my disruptive vision.
How does INDRESMAT innovate?
Pablo R. Outón: Despite we use to plan specific objectives for our internal R&D activity in advance, most of the times, successful innovation comes from observations performed when trying to achieve those objectives. Sometimes, something unexpected suddenly happens in the lab, and this is finally followed by a new research line, leading in most cases to a fruitful innovation. In my life, I experienced this situation several times, and it’s a kind of “learn by doing” that indeed works. We also innovate in new machinery design for manufacturing, but here, we are supported by external engineering companies helping us to achieve our goals.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Pablo R. Outón: Like many other companies, COVID19 has slowed our activity, leading to critical changes in our initial plans. However, we did not change our goals for 2020, and despite big delays with several contractors for the plant commissioning and with some suppliers for the development of our manufacturing technology; we finally succeeded to manufacture our first KLIMA-PUR frames at a pilot scale. Now, we can say this is not a dream, and you will see KLIMA-PUR windows in the market during 2021.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Pablo R. Outón: Yes, indeed. Probably, the most difficult decision was to move our R&D lab from The Netherlands to our headquarters based in Spain due to travel restrictions. However, we had no choice as this decision was forced by a 5 months period with no R&D activity because of COVID19, being this situation especially critical for an early-stage startup 100% dedicated to innovating.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Pablo R. Outón: Being the CEO of a startup is indeed stressful, and you finally learn how to deal with anxiety. Before becoming a father, music and sport was my solution for the stress; but nowadays, it’s my daughter’s smile that makes me feel extremely positive.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Pablo R. Outón: As frame producers employing bioPolyurethane (bioPUR) materials, we are a unique company, and we have no direct competitors. However, our indirect competitors are large PVC and Aluminium window & door frame manufacturers who will become our customers in the future. This is because our business model in the long term will be focused on providing technology (machinery, bioPUR formulations, and several services) to these large companies, thus catalyzing the worldwide production of our KLIMA-PUR frames.
Your final thoughts?
Pablo R. Outón: Despite huge adversities like those that happened this year, we have demonstrated that attitude is the most important thing for success. You may change your plans but never change your goals.