Brett Chell doesn’t fit the stereotypical oil executive mold but he has made his way from working on the oil rigs to building and running his own.
The young entrepreneur from Calgary, Canada, is one of a new breed of movers and shakers in the legacy world of oil and gas. The cofounder of two high growth oil and gas tech firms, Cold Bore Technology and Raptor Rig, he has already raised over $65 million of funding.
Chell hails from a family of entrepreneurs; everyone from his grandparents down to his parents, aunts and uncles, all started and ran their own respective businesses. When he finished high school he followed his brother-in-law into the oil patch and started working on oilrigs with the intention of earning enough money to come back and start his own business. His plan was to spend a year or so out there but by the time he left, the better part of half a decade had gone by.
He says: “I loved the guys I worked with and the sense of accomplishment that comes with such a physically demanding job but it’s a mental strain marathon being away as much as the job demands.”
However if he was to fulfill his ambition to build his own businesses he needed to get to grips with the financial side of things and it was a piece of advice from one of his uncles that resonated him. “He told me, ‘It doesn’t matter if you want to install cameras on the space station or start a company selling wooden spoons. If you don’t know how to finance it, you won’t be doing either’,” says Chell.
This prompted his move into tech and early stage financing and in 2009 he left the oil and gas industry to join a team of entrepreneurs in the technology space, focusing on building and financing a number tech startups with the fields of space, financial tech and retail.
This article originally appeared on Forbes