Apologies in advance for the long post; the stories that guide our lives are convoluted and therefore often not told, but we believe there is immense value in them. This is Byron’s story (fuelsrv co-founder) on why he made the move from a career he was passionate about, to a business and team that inspire him.
Getting to Know Tyler
In the summer of 2012, I was going to Dalhousie University for my BComm. I was living near the engineering campus, which maintained a small gym -specifically, Sexton Gym. I would often see a tall young man there about my age and one day I asked him for a spot, which quickly led to a conversation, which led to him coming over that Friday night, where I taught him how to play beer pong (I know, who in university has never played beer pong?). That man was Tyler Reyno, and we quickly became best friends.
It was immediately apparent that Tyler was different than anyone I had ever met. He was 6’6″, in a mechanical engineering program, and was driven by his passion to be an astronaut. Due to his size, everyone he spoke to about his goal told him he would never even be considered to go to space.
Instead of giving up on his goal, he decided to start Open Space Orbital Inc., focusing on the design and planning of orbital launch vehicles, which would be a first in Canada. He was exiting his third year of undergrad and had no funding or contracts, yet he spent countless hours working on his vision, often staying up all night. He started doing educational seminars for schools and the university, and was even on the news a few times (above picture is us at one of those seminars he organized 10 years ago).
He faced endless “constructive criticism” from trusted friends and family that believed it was all a waste of time. I, on the other hand, was absolutely fascinated by it. Not so much by Open Space itself, but by his passion and persistence in the face of criticism without a clear path to success. I took any opportunity I could to attend his seminars and talk with him about what he was working on. I concluded at this time that this man would one day change the world.
The Beginning of fuelsrv
After completing his undergrad, Tyler went on to get his Masters in Aeronautical Engineering, and I moved into the Commercial Banking Industry; we stayed in touch, but infrequently. In the spring of 2019, he gave me a call with an idea he had for mobile fuel delivery to get my thoughts. The idea was that everyone was getting everything delivered directly to them; however, they still needed to perform the inconvenient gas station chore themselves, and with the value of real estate skyrocketing, gas stations were getting scarcer. He was planning on entering the market to raise capital for his idea, and I quickly decided I wanted to be the first investor.
He pitched this to a number of groups over the span of a few months; while there was lots of interest, there was no one else ready to commit. What had started with me being the first investor quickly turned into me being the only investor, and I had a hard decision to make; was I willing to invest in a business that no other investor (at the time) was prepared to bet on? I decided I had information that they did not; I had essentially studied Tyler throughout university and knew that if he started, he would find a way to succeed.
In August 2019, the business officially launched in Vancouver with one pickup truck, which had two tanks in the back – one for diesel and one for gas. We had almost no success in the beginning; Tyler eventually had to go back to work, but continued to deliver gas in the mornings, evenings, and on the weekend. He took no wages, and we still took a monthly loss. This continued for all of 2020. At this point, almost anyone else would have counted their losses and walked away, yet Tyler never waivered. In early 2021, we found out our only competitor, which was owned by a multi-billion dollar corporation, was going to dissolve their operations.
The Turning Point
Overnight, fuelsrv went from one truck on the road to six trucks and a dispatch team, and we shifted our focus from individual Consumers to Fleets. Unfortunately, we underestimated many of our costs, and after about 6 months of operating at an amplified loss the viability of our business came into question again. After coming up with a gameplan in the span of two days, Tyler stepped into action restructuring contracts and the business.
Although that was only a year and a half ago, it feels like an eternity as everyday Tyler and the team he’s built have systematically improved the business. We are no longer at the point of discussing the viability of the business, instead discussing scalability and how we can innovate to be a part of a greener future.
I am truly inspired by what this team has created in the face of such adversity and am thrilled by the opportunity to add my efforts to continuing what they started in my new role as Vice President.
How You Can Follow Our Journey
If you are interested in continuing to follow the fuelsrv journey, I encourage you to follow us on Social Media:
If you know of anyone that has a fleet that may benefit from our services, I would love the opportunity to connect with them to see if we can add value. We specialize in improving/simplifying logistics for fleets of all sizes; this is primarily done by mobile fuel delivery, but we understand every fleet has its unique needs, and we excel at creating custom solutions to fit their business.