Calgary’s Business: What is Fuelled? What’s its history and how did it start up?
Singh: We launched the Fuelled Marketplace in 2015. The concept was to build a platform to help bring transparency and efficiency to the way in which surplus energy equipment was bought and sold. I felt that the business was extremely inefficient and that there was no marketplace platform that was solving the problem. I thought that if online lending platforms were able to dis-intermediate and disrupt some of the oldest institutions in the world – banks – we could do the same for energy equipment.
CB: Who are your major clients and who are you targeting for future business?
Singh: All of our clients are important and critical to our success. Some of our largest clients are Encana, Obsidian and Zedcor Energy Services. Our targets for future business are really any companies that are looking for a strategic and technology-driven approach to sell idle or surplus energy equipment.
CB: Why are large companies in the oil and gas sector looking more and more today for tech-driven solutions to their industry?
Singh: The sustained downturn the oilpatch has faced has created an opportunity for technology companies that bring unique and innovative solutions to the table. With ever-tightening economics, oil and gas companies are more open-minded to adopting technologies that ease the pain. I believe the downturn has only amplified the impact of technology on an industry that does not get the credit it deserves for the development and adoption of new technologies.
CB: What is Fuelled Certified?
Singh: Fuelled Certified is a buyer’s assurance. When a company buys something on Amazon they get assurance from the brand and the company. Fuelled Certified provides the same assurance: ensuring that what you see is what you get, when you want it. We have trained techs who thoroughly catalogue every piece of Fuelled Certified equipment. This includes pictures, technical data and virtual walkthroughs, and then we further support the sale by taking care of the logistics. Because of Fuelled Certified, most of the equipment we sell, the buyer doesn’t touch, the same as Amazon. The Fuelled Certified process and the Fuelled brand assurance has allowed us to break down borders with respect to moving and reutilizing energy equipment.
CB: In this economic environment and the challenges facing the energy sector, what are the main factors companies – startups – have to consider to be successful going forward?
Singh: I believe the main factor that startups need to consider in any environment is to be open-minded and receptive of feedback, especially constructive feedback. We took all feedback into consideration and tweaked our model and platform to better address the customer pain. We’re grateful to clients like Encana and Obsidian, who were apprehensive at first, because it only helped us develop and made us better and more commercially viable.
Another important factor, I believe, is resilience. There will be no shortage of people telling you that you won’t be successful or that the problem you are trying to solve is insurmountable.
Finally, although we are in a challenging environment right now, inevitably this will change. I would suggest that any startup companies ensure that their business model is attractive or viable regardless of where in the cycle we may be. Downturns can spawn the adoption of technology and an openness to innovation, but ultimately these solutions need to be long term to be successful.
– Mario Toneguzzi
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