The solution is set to empower better decisions, save on capital and operational costs as well as generate high revenue.

How was the idea behind your startup born? Present your team and let our readers know how you all came together. 

Grama is a software house based in Coimbra, Portugal, dedicated to the design and development of advanced software solutions. Our founding team has extensive experience in the development and implementation of complex IT projects for some of the largest telecommunications operators in Europe and South America.

We use the industry’s most recent technologic stacks, and we work in the full software development cycle. From customer needs analysis, technical requirements production, software architecture development, high-fidelity mockups designing, to developing, implementing, and testing the entire solution. In summary, we provide services to our customers in the following areas:

  • Project management
  • Technical design
  • UI/UX design
  • Software development (Backend, Frontend and Mobile)
  • Big data and machine learning models
  • Cloud Management
  • Quality Assurance: manual and automated tests

And, in addition to the provision of services, Grama is investing in the development of internal projects and products, which may, in the future, boost the company’s growth. We are providing special emphasis and focus on Smart Planner, the solution developed in collaboration with EDP during EDI’s program.

Susana Lourenço – Head of Operations

Can you please present your solution? What makes your solution stand out from the rest?

Our project is based on an EDP’s challenge to develop a platform to provide the best location for electric vehicles (EVs) charging points. 

Therefore, we developed Smart Planner, a useful tool for EV charging operators which, by fusing forecasting and optimization techniques, automatically identifies the best combination of locations that satisfies the operators objectives and restrictions. 

Which Data Provider do you collaborate with and how has your experience been? What made you choose them and their challenge? 

We choose EDP’s challenge since it is focused on an emergent market, EVs and e-mobility segment, where the need of a good charging infrastructure is key for its adoption.

The experience of working with EDP has been extremely positive since the beginning of the project.

Weekly meetings with the right team at the table, allowed for a very productive collaboration. We have worked together from understanding the problem and the relevant datasets for our Smart Planner, to identify the relevant use cases and the right functionalities to incorporate in the product. This close partnership supported us in keeping the product aligned with their needs.

You have come a long way since the start of the EDI incubation programme. Can you tell us more about the evolution/traction of your solution, company and team during the programme?

We started EDI with a company composed of a team of 12, focused on developing  software solutions for our customers. By the end of EDI, we now are a company of 21, continuing to develop software solutions for our customer but also with the MVP of a product ready to grow and to be explored in the market. 

As for the next steps we aim to grow our business on these two fronts, expecting to continue growing our team and to duplicate our revenue during 2021.

What challenges did you face and what lessons did you learn? 

The major challenge was to build a product from scratch while respecting EDI’s programme deadlines. 

The timeframe to deliver results was tight and the pressure was high. But the way the program is designed was crucial to keep pace and to develop our Smart Planner both from a technical, product and business perspective.

During the process we were able to learn a lot from all the stakeholders involved, starting with EDP and EDI team, but also from all our mentors and the different training sessions provided. This ongoing learning process fitted our agile Smart Planner development process, with a successful MVP ready to be delivered after 6 months.

What impact has your solution achieved/ you are planning for it to achieve? 

The major benefits of using Smart Planner we can highlight are:  

  • Empowering better decisions: Our platform offers more than just a black box solution. Analysts can explore the generated solutions, understand what were the key underlying factors that determined the outcome, provide different metrics and/or restrictions and compare results.
  • Savings in capital costs: Smart decisions on where to place your charging points, means you will need less of them to reach the same or even more clients.
  • Savings in operational costs: Less charging points to operate means yearly savings in maintenance costs.
  • Generate more revenue: Having charging points in optimal locations means they will be used more often and by more clients, increasing grid usage and generated revenue.

According to your experience, what is the secret behind a successful data driven startup?

We believe it is crucial for successful data-driven startups to deepen on the customer needs and understand how existing data and knowledge may help in solving it. 

If we analyze, for example, the concrete case of EDP, our goal is to provide analytical and optimization tools. There are trade-offs between initial investment size, expected profits, spatial distribution, etc. and variable context, such as future EVs adoption growth or country demographic changes. But also, not ignoring the insurmountable amount of knowledge captured by EDP business stakeholders, which is not easily captured by existing datasets. 

Thus, to create a digital model of our world we believe we should combine information gathered from trusted data sources, as for example the European data platform and national statistics institutes, with business insights and proprietary datasets, such as the ones provided in the EDI challenge by EDP. This way we can empower stakeholders to make better decisions.

What’s next for you? Are you looking for partnerships, a new round of investment, new piloting or something else? 

As next steps we are looking to negotiate the continuity of the project with EDP while looking for engaging additional charging operators as Smart Planner customers.

In parallel we will continue to develop Smart Planner, implementing our product roadmap.

How would you describe your experience with EDI? 

Participating on EDI was an amazing experience from the beginning. By answering to a concrete challenge from an existing customer’s pain we were able to develop a product from scratch.

EDI’s program and team allowed us to focus on the different stages, both technical and business related, until we reached an MVP phase of our Smart Planner solution.

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