Bringing your business to school
Torin Regier, 24, graduated from the Telfer School in December 2017. He is the co-founder and CFO of Kegshoe, an Ottawa-based company that designs and sells software to help breweries track and monitor their kegs. Regier and co-founder Adrian Pawliszko, developed Kegshoe during their studies at uOttawa – with help from mentors and access to resources from the Telfer School, including connections they made after being selected for the uOttawa’s 2017 Top 5 Start-ups initiative.
Becoming an entrepreneur was not my goal when I began my studies at the Telfer School. I really just had an interest in getting a good job in business in an international setting. That was until I took some entrepreneurship courses during an international exchange trip to Switzerland, and that sparked my interest. It was this whole new world.
When the idea of keg monitoring came along in 2015, Adrian and I saw it as a good opportunity. We’d done some work with a brewery just outside of Ottawa, and they had come to Adrian with their keg-tracking problems. Breweries own all their own kegs and send them to thousands of different bars and restaurants. Managing kegs is a huge and costly issue for them. We decided to come up with a solution. We built a software program that allows breweries to see where the kegs are, whether it be at the brewery, at a storage location or a customer’s location. They can also see what’s inside the keg – whether it’s clean or dirty, or filled with a certain kind of beer. Thanks to our software, they now lose far fewer kegs and they can get them back much faster.
Today, we’ve got about 65 breweries using our software all over the world, and we’re adding half a dozen new breweries every month.
I was in my fourth year at Telfer when we started Kegshoe, and Adrian was finishing up his engineering degree. We took part in the Start-Up Garage program in the summer of 2016, which, through the various courses, gave us the opportunity to put more focus on our business and gave us the jump-start we needed. We had access to mentors like Trevor Wilkins (Engineer Entrepreneur Executive in Residence) and Stephen Daze (Dom Herrick Entrepreneur in Residence), who showed us the ropes in terms of budgeting, cash flow, revenue projections and how to anticipate costs. That was really helpful in transitioning the business from the classroom into the real world.
Stephen helped us walk through the numbers, valuations and strategy when we were considering an investment partnership with a distribution company. I also took the Entrepreneurship Foundry course at Telfer, which gave us a weekly three-hour class to work on our business where we got to make meaningful connections with people. Bringing our business into the classroom was really valuable. The opportunities Telfer offers to its students who are starting businesses – to bring their ideas into the classroom and to learn hands-on provides invaluable experience that to me, is key to building a successful business.