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Xpanxion > Case Studies > First Fuel Case Study

First Fuel Case Study

Founded in 2010 and privately held, FirstFuel is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts . The company was founded by Swapnil Shah, Ken Kolkebeck, Nalin Kulatika, and Robert Kaufmann.

  • Founded in 2010 and privately held, FirstFuel is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts. The company was founded by Swapnil Shah, Ken Kolkebeck, Nalin Kulatika, and Robert Kaufmann.
  • FirstFuel is the global leader in customer engagement for energy providers and their business customers.
  • FirstFuel Software is the trusted source for energy use intelligence. FirstFuel helps customers deliver scalable energy efficiency through the Remote Building Analytics (RBA) platform, which uses advanced meter data analytics to identify, enable, and track energy efficiency savings behind the meter in commercial buildings – all without onsite visits or device installations.
  • Designed to be rapidly and cost-effectively deployed across hundreds or thousands of commercial buildings, FirstFuel changes the scale at which the sector can achieve its energy efficiency goals.
  • FirstFuel Software, with the goal of revolutionizing the $2.2 trillion global utility sector, is looking at growth following an influx of $23 million in Series C funding. They are PE/VC funded with the funding’s coming from international expansion-stage venture capital firm Next World Capital and Electranova Capital, and with participation from existing investors including Battery Ventures, Rockport Capital, Nth Power and United Kingdom energy supplier E.ON.
  • Their rapidly growing customer base already includes some of the nation’s largest utilities and government agencies.
  • Currently helping over 30 clients in North America and Europe deliver customer engagement programs for their business customers.
  • Xpanxion started with FirstFuel initially with 5 resources with the whole purpose of developing an MVP for their ETL portal.
  • One of FirstFuel’s pain points was getting data from heterogeneous sources, transforming data and performing data analytics.
  • Xpanxion helped FirstFuel develop their first product named FirstAudit which was very well received and appreciated within their clients.
  • After FirstAudit, the Xpanxion team ramped up to 16, post which their second product named Monitoring was launched.
  • Then came the third product FirstScreen followed by fourth product FirstEngage in 2014. The team had ramped up to 32 by then.
  • FirstAdvisor, the fifth product was rolled out in 2015 with the Xpanxion team ramping up to 47.
  • FirstFuel’s RBA platform enables end-to-end commercial efficiency from opportunity identification and customer engagement through individual savings realization and ongoing tracking.
  • Leverages advanced, deep data analytics which is delivered through a user-friendly web portal .
  • Product’s ‘zero-touch’ approach brings proven scale to commercial efficiency
  • FirstEngage – Drive improved customer engagement & satisfaction through compelling, digital self-service
  • FirstAdvisor – Enhance the reach and productivity of your DSM program and business account teams
  • Domain:  Energy Efficiency
  • As a technology partner, Xpanxion is helping FirstFuel to be Global Leader in Commercial Energy Efficiency.
  • As a technology partner, Xpanxion is helping FirstFuel in Energy Analytics.
  • FirstFuel received 3 rounds of funding to expand customer intelligence platform to energy providers globally.
  • In 2014, FirstFuel Software announced that its Remote Building Assessment project with the Department of Defense (DoD) has been named Project of the Year in the Energy and Water category by the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program  after enabling $4 Billion in energy savings.
  • Minimum human intervention on CI, CD and environment monitoring.
  • Single click deployment in QA environment.
  • Maximum utilization of AWS resources. Identify cost optimization opportunities and execute.
  • Achieved high up time and better response time using AWS auto-scale.

Value Addition

  • Implemented Continuous Delivery
  • Highly scalable infrastructure (200 servers) for faster throughput
  • 3 TB data is managed in Production
  • Build Processing scaled up from 20,000 to 60,000 in an hour
  • Concurrency scaled up from 500 to 3000 users
  • Always using latest tech stack in all the relevant areas
  • Automated Unit Test coverage for RoR
  • 100% Veracode compliant – This is done after every release
  • Moving infrastructure from CloudFormation to Chef.
  • Utilizing Splunk for Log analytics and Alert for pattern or keyword match.
  • Achieve High code Quality via Rapid deployment, managing code coverage using Sonar Cube.

Development methodology: Agile (SCRUM)

FirstFuel Suite consists of multiple products. Tech stack for all products:

  • Front End: ROR (Rails Version – 5, Ruby Version – 5 (x86_64-linux))
  • Back End: Java (1.7.0_91)
  • DB: MySQL Server 5.6
  • Application Server: Apache Tomcat7

Common technologies:

  • Full text searching: SOLR 6
  • Testing: TDD approach, TestNG for back-end & RSpec front-end for unit and integration tests, Selenium WebDriver for UI
  • Test Coverage & Code Quality Coverage- Sonar
  • CMS – Drupal, PHP, Modeling – Matlab, Python
  • ETL – Pentaho
  • Test Rail
  • Splunk for log analytics, Google analytics and Tealium for tracking user behavior
  • Aug 2010 – Dec 2010: Automated whole building analysis which was done manually by the experts. The whole building analysis was developed using Java and Pentaho ETL.
  •  Jan 2011 – Aug 2011: Developed weather analysis in Matlab. The biggest challenge was to integrate this analysis with the web-based product.
  • Sep 2011 – Dec 2011: Added support of multi-tenancy for the product. Data is private to each client of FirstFuel and we wanted it to be as secure as possible
  • Jan 2012-Dec 2012: Automated end use analytics and building processing. Support for automated rules. JBoss Drools Guvnor was used and CMS(Drupal) introduced for content management
  • Jan 2013 – Aug 2013: Automated data import in the system by removing the need to upload the data and implemented IDA (Interval data Automation) which reads from the tenant-specific remote FTP site and uploads to database.
  • Aug 2013 – Dec 2013: Simplified modeling release process and exposed modeling functionality as well as other processing features as a service. Created Analytics as A service.
  • Jan 2014: Developed a new product named FirstEngage for Europe Market
  • June 2014 – April 2017: Sold FirstEngage product to 15+ clients
  • Dec 2015: Developed a new product – FirstAdvisor
  • March 2016 – Till date : Sold FirstAdvisor to 6+ clients
  • Renewed FirstAudit deals for 2-3 existing clients