Volodymyr Levykin is the CEO and founding father of Skyrora, a British rocket firm constructing launch companies for small satellites.
Edinburgh-headquartered Skyrora grew to become the primary firm to finish a profitable built-in rocket stage check within the UK because the Seventies, and has accomplished 4 suborbital rocket launches. Whereas a check flight crashed within the Norwegian Sea final October, the corporate says it’s on observe to finish its first vertical orbital launch from UK soil this 12 months.
Levykin, a Ukrainian-born tech entrepreneur, hung out working in IT in Silicon Valley earlier than transferring to Edinburgh to discovered Skyrora.
On this week’s Founder in 5 Q&A, Levykin shares who he admires at SpaceX (it’s not Elon Musk), how he prevents burnout from working a rocket firm, and why he’s excited by ChatGPT.
1. Who’s a frontrunner you admire in your business?
Volodymyr Levykin: Naturally, the plain reply is Elon Musk given what he’s achieved however commercially Gwynne Shotwell, the president and COO of SpaceX, has actually taken the corporate’s progress to new heights. Becoming a member of the corporate greater than 20 years in the past as its seventh worker, her affect on the business house sector is one thing to be admired; and her accomplishments have been recognised by each Forbes and the TIMES100.
From a UK standpoint, George Freeman MP, is making nice strides in the direction of establishing us as a science superpower and a pressure on the worldwide stage within the house business. His dedication to looking for out alternatives, understanding the innovation inside the subject and the potential affect this business may have for the UK, each domestically and internationally, is pivotal. Authorities help and funding on this burgeoning sector will foster change and generate financial progress at an important second for the nation. His drive inside authorities may help early-stage house firms safe additional funding to verify the UK retains maintain of key expertise and doesn’t repeat the ‘mind drain’ from 50 years in the past.
2. Has sustainability modified any of your enterprise processes?
VL: At Skyrora, we search to implement accountable design and growth processes to minimise waste, emissions and vitality consumption. Our flagship orbital rocket Skylark L is designed to make use of a gas combine that produces 45% much less CO2 emissions than most different launches. We’ve additionally constructed our personal in-house hybrid 3D printers, Skyprint 1 and Skyprint 2, that permit us to develop our rocket engines via additive manufacturing and remove wasted sources.
From an ecological perspective, we minimise the footprint of our launch operations as a consequence of our cellular launch advanced. With its modular design, the whole launch infrastructure can match into transport containers and little to no hint of the launch is left within the surrounding setting.
We’re additionally dedicated to managing our consumption of pure sources. Water recycling is a core function of our rocket check facility in Midlothian – the most important of its type within the UK. It harnesses rainfall from the Scottish Lowlands as a part of the cooling methods for the check stand. From an environmental and sustainability perspective, having a neighborhood check facility means a decrease carbon footprint in comparison with having to move equipment to third-party services.
LISTEN: Skyrora founder Volodymyr Levykin talks to the UKTN Podcast.
3. In one other life you’d be?
VL: If I hadn’t moved to Edinburgh with my household and based Skyrora, I might nonetheless be working in IT. I used to run my very own IT firm and studied laptop science at college, so I’ve at all times had a eager curiosity within the topic. IT is nice as a result of it’s so in depth, virtually each business advantages from IT and it allows me to use my expertise to any sector. The power to decide on and uncover new alternatives, starting from healthcare to finance to defence, looks like an thrilling enterprise for anybody beginning out on the earth of labor.
There are such a lot of extra alternatives to study technical, scientific and engineering expertise, to not point out the alternative ways wherein AI is being developed and utilized throughout completely different sectors. I really feel it’s an extremely thrilling time to be learning such issues to assist drive future innovation and industries.
4. How do you forestall burnout?
VL: I are inclined to take care of stress in one in all two methods: by breaking down the issue and by interacting with these round me.
Tackling a sequence of smaller, extra palatable issues is less complicated than specializing in one enormous situation. This has helped me many occasions, and likewise offers me with a way of a private achievement, as every step might be ticked off a to-do listing.
It’s easy however speaking to folks additionally actually helps. Because the outdated saying goes, an issue shared is an issue halved. This permits me to get out of my very own head and achieve insights from these with completely different views. Other than this, driving via the attractive Scottish countryside and spending time outdoor with my household does wonders for decreasing stress ranges.
5. Which nascent know-how holds essentially the most promise?
VL: There’s been plenty of chat – pardon the pun – just lately about ChatGPT. Generative and open supply AI have the potential to change into an integral a part of our on a regular basis lives, and we’ll see them built-in throughout all industries. Its potential to extend effectivity and yield sooner outcomes can’t be denied.
Just like the web, e-mail, and cellphones, generative AI might be the following “large factor” and OpenAI has the makings of a brand new Huge Tech participant. The moral points should after all be addressed earlier than its widespread use, however making use of such instruments is essential. People who fail to utilise new applied sciences will lose out – each financially and from a expertise perspective – to firms that innovate and look ahead. Adaptability is likely one of the most essential attributes for any entrepreneur and nobody can afford to disregard these tendencies in the case of their very own enterprise.
Founder in 5 – a UKTN Q&A sequence with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s progressive tech startups, scaleups and unicorns – is revealed each Friday.