RigER featured in Calgary Herald as Startup of the Week. Michael Maltsev told about our product idea, first steps and RigER current focus.
May 15, 2014
If you’re in the oil and gas services business, you know growing your rental business requires better inventory management and operations control. Additionally the complexity of field service jobs, delays in paperwork preparation, inaccurate invoicing, and lack of performance analysis are all problems that aren’t new to you.
This week we talked to Michael Maltsev, founder of RigER, an oilfield rental operations management software designed for small and medium size energy services companies. RigER enables you to control your entire oil patch operations online, from client service requests and service schedules to invoicing. No more cumbersome spreadsheets and paper-based document flow.
Michael says that average wait times in manual paper-based document systems and with MS Excel can be 10-12 days. This delay does not allow you to recognize revenue on time. Say, a company’s revenue is $5 million and the average interest rate is 5%. A delay of 10 days in revenue recognition will result in a loss of interest of $6,849.31 annually. These internal losses are mainly because of inefficiencies in existing systems.
Here’s more from our interview.
How did you come up with the idea for your startup? Was there an “ah-ha” moment?
I served as a CFO in an oilfield rentals company for 3 years, so I have an inside view of the oil and gas services business. I found traditional systems to be very expensive and complicated, and classic Excel spreadsheets ineffective for multi-user and dynamic reporting. One day I was struggling for over 4 hours reconciling one of our major accounts with over 1000 jobs in Excel. That’s when I thought there should be a better way of doing things. Small businesses need effective and easy to use solutions. Two months later we built the first prototype. And it took another 6 months to have RigER Version 1.0 up and running.
What has been the biggest challenge so far? What have you done to solve it?
As for any startup, customer acquisition is the main challenge, and we’re no exception. It took us some time to come up with the right messaging and marketing plan. The best way to do that is to talk to your customers and understand how they operate. For example, we have several features on our roadmap, but our customers will define our priorities. We are a customer-oriented, not a product-oriented team.
Are there any key individuals outside of your organization that have been of great help to your startup?
Of course, I would like to thank my advisors and mentors: Mark Williams, Joyce Ng, Elena Bowes, Tim Haley, Scott Smith, and my wife. They’ve believed in us from our very first step and continue to support us.
What advice would you like to share to others just starting out?
Focus on your customers as their contribution will be invaluable to product design and development, service improvement, and business growth. We are certainly grateful to our customers.
Make sure everyone on your team buys into the vision and is passionate about the company. Mutual understanding is the main characteristic of our team. I recommend reaching out to your network to connect with as many people as possible so you can find the best talent for your team.
I also recommend attending events and programs run by Startup Calgary, Innovate Calgary, Canadian Youth Business Foundation and Alberta Venture.
What made you choose to go down the path of entrepreneurship?
I loved my job and worked for a great company, but I wanted to test my idea and challenge myself. I wanted to build a great company and had to make the decision. I participated in several startups as financial director and accountant an I’ve run a business before, but this startup is the hardest experience I’ve ever had.
What are your thoughts on our Startup ecosystem?
The startup ecosystem is developing here with plenty of events and programs to support entrepreneurs. We have a great entrepreneurial spirit, solid economic growth, and excellent business opportunities. We can certainly do with more computer engineers. Alberta’s image as Oil and Gas province distracts investors from the IT industry. However, I see that situation changing as the IT sector is growing very fast.
What do you and your startup need help with?
Customer acquisition is our number one priority, so if you know anyone in the energy services industry, please ask them to visit riger.ca.