EdgePetrol is a unique offering, but it has something in common with many successful start-ups – it was created by someone who has faced the real-world problem that the new company solves. EdgePetrol’s platform delivers live supply, demand and price data to fuel retailers, allowing them to restock and set prices in response to real-time information. The company, which is little more than a year into trading, has been gathering customers across the UK and Europe and is ready to take on its first enterprise client.
HC Insider (HCI): Which problem is EdgePetrol the solution to?
Gideon Carroll (GC): The main problem that EdgePetrol solves is visibility. Our simple USP is that EdgePetrol helps fuel retailers make quicker, better decisions on the procurement and pricing side of a petrol filling station. The alternative is clawing eight or nine different data streams together manually before establishing a position, often using data that’s not as accurate as it could be.
HCI: Can you tell us something about the creation and launch of the company in terms of timeline and how the idea came to you?
GC: I was at Trafigura for six years and was exposed to fuel retail through the company’s subsidiary Puma Energy. I was able to see and understand how we were making pricing decisions on very limited information. Data reporting was reactive, so it tended to come as a shock at the end of each month if we saw that we didn’t achieve budgeted expectations. That’s where the concept started – I could see that the shock was caused by the lack of visibility through the month. It became clear to me that managing a retail site proactively requires real-time information.
I incorporated EdgePetrol when I left Trafigura in 2015. I was still defining the concept at the time, so I spent a year at Gazprom in London and continued to develop it. I went full-time with EdgePetrol in 2016 and created a prototype to attract early adopters. It was important to have people buying into the concept and to raise money for the launch, which happened in September 2017.
HCI: What career path led you to create EdgePetrol?
GC: I qualified as a chartered accountant but left the field before starting to practice because I realised that it wasn’t for me. I joined Trafigura immediately, starting in the finance team attached to the oil division in London. About 18 months later, when the company started moving its front office to Geneva, I put my hand up and said that I didn’t think we should move our back office to Switzerland. We had four or five offices around the world doing similar things, and I thought that we should centralise. The company had a small commercial office in India dealing with scrap metal, and we decided to centralise everything from there. That’s where I learned how a barrel of oil moves around the world. Understanding the market-risk and pricing issues involved in moving a cargo from A to B is really the machine room for understanding oil trading. After my second year in India, I moved to Geneva for a couple of years and was in a management role on the oil side, as well as doing some project work with coal and other commodities. I moved back to the UK in April 2015 to work at Gazprom and to develop EdgePetrol.
HCI: Your service is ground breaking in terms of fuel retailers being able to rely on real-time data and analysis. What kind of technology sits behind it?
GC: We securely integrate both sides of a petrol filling station’s world – fuel supply and point of sale. We collect and collate each transaction in real-time, apply the relevant cost and sale economics on both sides and deliver that to a live platform. We also have a full-time data-science team who are looking at forecasting demand for each grade on each site. They look at factors like paydays, school holidays, bank holidays and special events spread across geographies to tell a retailer when to take their next fuel delivery and why.
My vision for EdgePetrol is to really understand each site’s intricacies and site-specific characteristics. Every site will react to factors including location, competition and contractual supply terms differently, and all of these must be visible before operators can make the best possible procurement or pricing decisions.
HCI: What is the development plan for EdgePetrol over the coming year?
GC: Our development plan is very much focused on winning our first enterprise client. We’re looking at how we might slice and dice the data differently to serve a portfolio of perhaps 1,000 sites. We started with smaller-and medium-sized retailers, and now we are applying the information we’ve gathered to an enterprise product.
HCI: Do you have competitors?
GC: EdgePetrol is the only company to have brought both sides of the petrol filling station together in one place. The point-of-sale companies are looking at dashboarding the data they collect, but there’s only so much budget a retailer has for technology, so we have to make sure that we’re developing a product that continues to be the retailer’s software of choice.
HCI: EdgePetrol’s service will clearly change the way fuel retailers handle their supply chains. In what way do you expect this to affect the wholesale market?
GC: Forecourt operators’ efficient use of visibility on forecast demand by site, region and country will benefit the whole supply chain.
HCI: What is your vision of how fuel retailers will operate five years from now?
GC: Hopefully they’ll all be on EdgePetrol. Knowledge is power, so having the data at their fingertips will help retailers make better decisions. There will be more automation, and this will allow operators to really sweat their assets.
Find out more at edgepetrol.com or on +44 203 865 8689