First Start-up Launched Within the Partnership
FeedZai is the first start-up to be created as a result of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, funded by the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT). Paulo Marques and Pedro Bizarro, two faculty members of the Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra (FCTUC), and Nuno Sebastião, product manager at the European Space Agency (ESA), embarked on the adventure to create a new startup specialized in processing large volumes of data with low-latency producing actionable information in real-time.
(left to right) Paulo Marques, Pedro Bizarro and Nuno Sebastião
The idea of creating FeedZai came from two different vectors. "On one hand both me and Pedro Bizarro where having very good results in terms of research in real-time data processing at the university. Since both of us had a number of projects with industry over the years that lead us to recognize that there was an important opportunity available in this domain," explains Paulo Marques. He further added that "Nuno Sebastião was just comple-ting his MBA from the London Business School, being interested in returning to Portugal after having work at the European Space Agency for almost a decade." FeedZai was the result of several conversations between the three friends, and the common goal of "creating a company and a product that could have a global reach and impact." The name is connected to the area, because "Feed" comes from "data feeds," which is what company processes, and "’Zai’ is simply because it's cool."
This company brought to the market "a revolutionizing product in terms of real-time data processing," which allows companies to look into their data in real-time, as things are happening, and understand in detail what is going on. Paulo Marques gives examples: "it allows a telecommunication operator to know in real-time how its network traffic is behaving and if it is following a ‘normal’ pattern or not; it allows an electrical utility company to understand in detail the load that is taking place in the network and if there are ‘unexpected leaks’ occurring. In a sense, we take the massive amounts of data that companies are currently generating and are able to produce real time intelligence over that."
"The partnership with Carnegie Mellon University has been very important in this process. I would say even critical," says Paulo Marques adding that "being adjunct professors from Carnegie Mellon University gives us, me and Pedro Bizarro, a high degree of credibility which is quite important when trying to convince a company to try out a new technology." On the other hand, Marques emphasizes that there are a number of activities that the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program has been promoting, where this startup have been present, which opened FeedZai to new markets. For instance, the ‘Smart Energy Workshops’ organized by the program allowed this company to reach to the energy market and to start working on this domain.
Two years after the creation of FeedZai, Paulo Marques says that "this last year has been quite intensive." The FeedZai team "has been furiously developing our product, which is called FeedZai Pulse, which at the same time working with existing customers and potential future customers. In terms of markets we are in three different verticals: energy, banking and telecommunications." At present, the FeedZai team developed a complete energy monitoring solution for one of their customers, and has a number of projects currently ongoing. FeedZai team is "processing in real-time bank transactions for two different costumers, and are doing real-time monitoring of telecommunication data for another." Currently, they have 12 engineers working full-time and a lot of work to tackle. "It has been a very intensive year!"