Entrepreneur Artem Kuchukov
“I have always wanted to make a positive impact”
By pursuing a second degree, Artem Kuchukov wanted to expand his knowledge of Civil Engineering and gain international experience. But studying at TUM opened several other doors, too. Together with fellow students, the TUM Alumni created a start-up and is now doing what he always wanted to do: making a difference.
For Artem Kuchukov, the biggest motivation is continuous development: building his own skills, developing his fast-growing company, and finally, helping the people around him to grow. “I want to spend my time and energy doing things that allow me to make a positive impact on people and on the environment,” he says.
With his start-up KEWAZO, the successful young entrepreneur is able to put this into practice day after day. Studying at TUM brought him to where he is now. It was here that he met the TUM Alumni who then became his co-founders and closest confidants. And it was here that he acquired the knowledge of cutting-edge robotics technologies, which make work on construction sites easier and safer.
Living the Dream
Having completed a Civil Engineering degree in Russia, Artem Kuchukov felt that this was not the end of the story yet. He wanted to go abroad and do a second degree to expand his horizons. The Advanced Construction and Building Technology program at TUM was just what he needed, as it combined his two great passions of Civil Engineering and new technologies. “The opportunity to be at the forefront of a field like robotics in construction is only offered at a handful of universities around the world,” Artem Kuchukov explains. “The degree program at TUM was entirely in English. This was a huge advantage and allowed me to pursue my dream.”
Before my time at TUM, I had no plans of starting a business.
In 2017, Artem Kuchukov had successfully completed his studies. But living in a foreign country with a foreign culture was initially anything but easy. He also found the complex curriculum and unfamiliar teaching methods very challenging. Perhaps the most important experience Artem Kuchukov has gained from his time studying at TUM is that he learned how to deal with such uncertainties and the continuous flow of new challenges. These skills should prove to be of great advantage to the young entrepreneur.
The Right Place at the Right Time
Artem Kuchukov had not expected to set up a company at all, and in a foreign country at that. “Before my time at TUM, I had no plans of starting a business,” he explains. “It was more a serendipitous matter of being in the right place at the right time with the right people and the right skills.”
His studies revealed a huge gap between the reality and possibilities in construction logistics to Artem Kuchukov. Not so long ago, intelligent robotic elevators for material handling would not even have been conceivable. “Today, new software and hardware technologies allow for such solutions,” he explains. “This is why completely new solutions can now be developed and brought to the market. It is the right time to change the state of affairs on construction sites, which has remained the same over the past decades.” His idea: to use robotics and data analysis to digitalize the construction industry.
Making a Difference
Together with his university friend Leonidas Pozikidis (Master Advanced Construction and Building Technology 2017), Artem Kuchukov further formulated their mutual idea and already developed the first technologies. But it was the young visionaries’ participation in UnternehmerTUM’s Think.Make.Start course that brought about the breakthrough for their ambitious project. Here they met TUM Alumni Sebastian Weitzel (Master Informatics 2017), Ekaterina Grib (Master Consumer Affairs 2017), Eirini Psallida (Master Informatics 2017) and Alimzhan Rakhmatulin (Master ESPACE 2018) – and launched the start-up KEWAZO.
Today, these TUM Alumni are not only his colleagues, but also Artem Kuchukov’s best friends and closest confidants. “Especially in the early stages, we had to overcome many challenges together,” he recalls. “This is a bonding experience and takes the relationships to a new level.” Also TUM made its contribution to the start-up’s development: with many rounds of consulting, a workspace in Garching and the necessary hardware. “Step by step, all this led to where we are today,” Artem Kuchukov says. “We are one of the world’s leading teams in the field of robotics in construction.”
The ambitious company now has over twenty employees. It is backed by world-class industry specialists and leading European investors. Recently, it received CE certification from TÜV Süd. And it is off to its first small-scale production: in 2021, the high-tech transportation device will be on the market – with the “LIFTBOT” robot, which works shoulder-to-shoulder alongside humans on construction sites. “I always wanted my business to have a big impact on the world surrounding me,” says Artem Kuchukov. “To establish and develop my own company somehow was a response to and fulfillment of this desire.”
Master Advanced Construction and Building Technology 2017
From 2009 to 2014, Artem Kuchukov studied Industrial and Civil Engineering at Belgorod State Technological University named after V.G. Shukhov in Russia. Subsequently he came to TUM in Munich to do a Master’s degree in Advanced Construction and Building Technology. Even before he graduated, he launched the start-up KEWAZO in 2016 together with other TUM Alumni. The passionate team’s goal is to become Europe’s leading company for robotics in construction. They are well on their way to achieving it. In 2017, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy awarded them the EXIST Business Start-up Grant. In 2018, they took first place in the TUM IdeAward. In 2023, the company is planning to deploy over a hundred robots on construction sites in Germany and around the world.
In Bavaria, the Russian-born entrepreneur discovered another passion: hiking in the mountains. Having become a weekly ritual, it helps the young entrepreneur to stay mentally clear and organized despite the crazy pace of his professional life.