Post-VFPC update: Catching up with Intelline
Intelline designs and manufactures high efficiency diesel generators. The young company received a $10K grant from VFPC (formerly Velocity Fund Finals) in 2018. Velocity caught up with its CEO & Co-founder Kyle Faller on how the company has developed once.
(The following has been edited for clarity)
Q: How has your company developed since receiving a hardware grant at VFPC (formerly Velocity Fund Finals)?
We successfully tested our patent-pending linear electric motors and discovered a more immediate, impactful application of this technology in linear combustion engines. With our unique combustion chamber design, we are building engines with up to 40% lower fuel consumption for industrial generator and hybrid vehicle applications. We gained a lot of interest exhibiting our technology at the PDAC 2020 conference, and we are now working with Canadian OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) of hybrid mining vehicles and equipment to integrate our first pilot test engines with their equipment.
Q: What is your company currently working on?
We are building engines with up to 40% lower fuel consumption. Our engine is ideal for generator or hybrid vehicle applications, where a rotating output is not needed but advantages of easy packaging, very low fuel consumption, and low maintenance cost are a priority.
We are also focussing on industrial diesel or natural gas powered applications, where full electrification or hydrogen power is not feasible. These industrial users produce substantial amounts of GHG emissions, and we are excited to introduce our engine as a way to cut emissions nearly in half while also reducing operating costs.
Q. What are your major strategic goals in the next 12 to 18 months?
We will be testing our engine in a hybrid generator application in January 2021 and in a rail vehicle application by Q4 2021. After testing we will begin low volume production to serve the demand of these users.
Q. How do you think your industry/field will evolve in the next 5 years?
Mining and other industrial companies are pressured now more than ever to reduce their environmental impact, and we are seeing an increase in the popularity of hybridization of heavy machinery. Engines and equipment that have been in service for decades are low hanging fruits for us as there are big efficiency gains to be had. As such, we expect these companies to replace a substantial portion of their existing equipment fleets with more modern technologies that reduce overhead costs and environmental impact.
Q. What are some of the best opportunities on the horizon for your company?
We have the chance to truly revolutionize industrial engines. Trains, mining trucks, ships, and construction equipment, are just a few of the applications that are predominantly diesel or natural gas powered. New equipment often involves hybrid powertrain technologies, making the traditional engine silly and archaic for the functional requirements. With our stackable engine modules, we can truly serve all of these applications as the modules are capable of scaling to any industrial power needs. When we imagine an industrial world powered by Intelline engines, we get very excited because we see an industrial world that could consume 40% less fuel.
Q. What do you enjoy most about building a startup?
It checks all the boxes for my dream job. Freedom to relentlessly pursue our own vision, using all of my skill set, motivating me to grow and strengthen my skill set, travel, make really cool stuff, have customers who get excited over the cool stuff we make… I can’t think of many other things that offer the same experience.
Q. Are there any tips you can give startups looking for an investment from Velocity?
Build your substance first. Talk to customers. Refine your idea. Ask yourself the hard questions an investor would ask then go find the answers. Build an MVP and get it in customer hands. Then tell a good story, and I think you’ll have a very compelling case.
Q. How about tips for those who get to the final stage of VFPC where they have to pitch?
Get as excited and passionate as if you’re also learning about your idea for the first time. People will sense that. The energy is infectious when you’re walking the audience through your first ‘aha’ moment. And enjoy this part of your startup journey!