OwlSpark | Rice University Startup Accelerator | TeamWise: PredictMX
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TeamWise: PredictMX

PredictMX helps asset-heavy industries reduce the downtime and maintenance costs of remote or mobile equipment using predictive technologies.

Charles Connell, founder of PredictMX, earned his bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Illinois in mechanical engineering before joining Schlumberger. When asked why he chose Schlumberger, Charles said it gave him the chance to travel and see the world. In fact, his first position with the company landed him in Mexico.

One notable opportunity that Charles had with Schlumberger was being sent to Malaysia to launch a brand new organization dealing with new technologies in Southeast Asia. This was his first management experience, and he had the opportunity to create new procedures and build a group from the ground up. After this, he was sent to Angola where he was the locations operation manager for a remote location. Due to the isolated location, he had to take ownership over almost all sides of the business operations, gaining a very broad understanding of how all operations intersected.

After all this travel, Charles was ready to return home. His wife was working on her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Washington, and Schlumberger didn’t have many growth opportunities in locations that would also allow her to conduct scientific research. Charles decided to go back to school and earn his MBA and advance his career. He chose Rice University in part because of its proximity to the medical center for his wife’s research, as well as its reputation for excellent entrepreneurial education.

From his experiences in Malaysia and Angola, Charles realized he preferred smaller business environments. He had planned to work with a small company for the summer, but nothing caught his attention throughout the recruiting season. By the time the year ended he hadn’t applied for a single job.

He hadn’t initially thought about starting a company on his own, but an opportunity fell into his lap earlier this year: During the second semester of his MBA program, he enrolled in the The New Enterprise class. The assignment was to create a product and, using the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework, develop a plan for taking the product to market. Charles chose to address a pain point that he experienced while working for Schlumberger–the constant breakdown of equipment in the field. He completed the class, but Charles felt as though he’d only been able to scrape the surface, and looked to OwlSpark as a way to continue to learn and explore entrepreneurship. Charles hopes to leverage his decade of industry experience to launch his startup, and later serving other industries and transitioning into a technology company.

When he isn’t working diligently at the OwlSpark and RED Labs co-working space, Charles enjoys photography, woodworking, and hiking.

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