Yvonne van den Berg and John van Pol | Winner of the 2018 Startup Canada Newcomer Entrepreneur Award – National
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
Yvonne van den Berg and John van Pol are the Co-Founders of Ingu Solutions.
Originally from the Netherlands, the entrepreneurs launched their company in 2014.
Now based in Calgary, their innovative technology provides oil and gas companies with immediate and affordable access to pipeline assets even in the most challenging conditions.
Their revolutionary technology eliminates the need for human intervention, reduces inspection and repair costs, and improves preventive pipeline maintenance.
With success in Alberta, they’ve secured over one million dollars in private investments, launched their first operational pipeline, and become active members of Calgary’s startup community.
Both Yvonne and John are generous mentors, sharing best practices with other startups and giving back to Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Startup News had the opportunity to sit down with Yvonne and John to learn more.
SN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
YJ: “Take the leap, Talk to everybody, Ask for help, Be willing to take a risk, Have faith, Get things done, Stay focused, Every detail counts, Learn, Find your inspiration, Hang in there, Work hard, Surround yourself with an awesome team, Have some luck, Contribute to the innovation ecosystem, Celebrate every small win, It will lead to success!”
SN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned to date?
YJ: Tech startups are a major driver of innovation and growth in Canada. And Canada is already doing an amazing job in embracing the talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and celebrating the success stories. Still, there is a gap to bridge. Especially early tech startups, but also medical startups, for instance, have quite some hurdles to overcome to go to market. Because they need time, they often need funding as well as launching customers who dare to innovate and validate the technology. With Ingu we experienced the difficulties: we missed out on startup funding because we weren’t eligible for years in business or revenue, we talked to many early stage investors for who we were too early, but we were very fortunate to find two majors in oil and gas who started working with us at an early-stage and are still working with us today. So we’d like to challenge companies to work with startups also in the early days, private capital to make early investments and funding agencies to make funding available for startup companies. This would position Canada as a true global innovation and entrepreneurial leader. With Ingu we wouldn’t have been where we are today if we hadn’t met all these amazing people who believed in us and supported us, and still do.
SN: What advice do you have to those starting up today?
YJ: When traveling through New Zealand, Yvonne came across this saying that, since then, she always took with her: do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail (Ralph Waldo Emerson). That is exactly what John has always done throughout his life. So their message is: Live your dreams, small and big, find your own journey. It’s never perfect, it comes with highs and lows but there is always a way. And on your journey? Do good, and you’ll meet good.