Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Cisco Start-up Hub talks to… Steve Banks, Managing Director of i2i Pipelines

May 19, 2016

You’ve told us you want to hear more from entrepreneurs at the sharp end of innovation to share their insights and experiences. With that in mind, here’s a fascinating addition to the Start-up Hub, looking at the challenges an IoT-based engineering company faces.

Steve Banks, managing director at i2i Pipelines, is happy to admit that heavy industry and engineering solutions aren’t necessarily the sexiest things to approach an investor with. But that, of course, doesn’t make them any less important or mean that there aren’t investors out there looking to back these kinds of innovative solutions.

The story of i2i Pipelines has all the hallmarks of a classic tech start-up tale: identifying a problem or inefficiency with an existing method, developing the technological innovation needed to solve the problem and then delivering it to market.

It sounds simple, but as Steve will tell you, there’s little that’s simple in the life of a start-up.

In the case of i2i Pipelines, Steve and his team realised that the oil and gas companies running the pipelines that keep the modern world ticking over have to halt production in order to carry out vital safety checks.

With a wealth of engineering experience from his years spent in the armed forces, Steve was able to set about developing a solution that would allow pipeline owners to check in on their pipes without having to slow or stop production.

As can so often be the case, here we have incredibly complex technology being used to solve a relatively simple productivity issue – but on a huge scale.

Being able to communicate these benefits effectively without getting caught up in the technical nuts and bolts of the solution has been key to Steve and his team’s success over the past year.

i2i Pipelines now counts some of the world’s biggest oil and gas providers among its clients and last year took home the prize for second place at our very own  BIG Awards.

I caught up with Steve to hear about the benefits of being based in Manchester and away from the oil and gas industry hub based in Aberdeen; how to tackle the issue of exciting investors with a heavy industry offering; and to get his top tips for other entrepreneurs embarking on their own start-up journeys.

For more from our ‘Start-up Hub Talks To…’ video series that features some of the UK’s most promising tech entrepreneurs, you can see what Mutaz Quabbaj, CEO and Co-founder of Squirrel, says about researching your market; hear Alex Siljanovski, founder of BaseStone, talk about what inspired him along the way; and get tips on how to deal with the early stage challenges from Jude Ower, CEO and founder of Playmob.

Interested in knowing more about crowdfunding? Check out Tom Kneen’s latest video Q&A with Emily Mackay of Crowdsurfer.

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