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Octopus Profile: Richard Wazacz, Head of Labs

January 03, 2017

Octopus Profile: Richard Wazacz, Head of Labs

Richard Wazacz always wanted to explore. Raised by Polish parents in West London, his dream was to travel and prospect. So, like any young Londoner who wants to dig for treasure, Rich found himself in Cambridge, where he studied chemical engineering which lead to an initial career in oil and gas exploration.

In his mid-20’s, a Fulbright Scholarship set Rich off on a new course of adventure. “I arrived [in New York] one month before September 11, 2001. This had a massive influence on my time there. I learned to really appreciate the American ‘can do’ attitude and entrepreneurial spirit.”

While completing his management studies at Columbia Business School, Rich spent one summer working in Warsaw for the consulting firm McKinsey and Co. “It was very special for me to work and live in Poland. And learn about my roots.”

Rich returned to London and assuredly rose through a series of more and more senior roles, eventually becoming a director at Prudential. But the explorer in Rich wanted more challenge and risk, an environment with less fear of change. He looked around and saw what was happening in fintech and Octopus Investments.

As Head of Octopus Labs, Rich points to their first product, Choice, as an example of the expedient turn-around Labs is capable of. “Choice took us 6 months from when we got going full time to get a MVP out,” he said. “Old world dinosaur financial service companies would be lucky to get something out in two years.”

When not competing as a mediocre amatuer triathlete or enjoying time with his wife and two young sons, you can find Rich exploring ideas and concepts, so as to discover new ways to make a real financial difference in people’s lives.