We spoke to CEO and founder, Arun Gopinath, about the company’s journey so far and how support from the AI Accelerator and the University of Edinburgh is helping to shape the transport infrastructure of the future.

Arun Gopinath
Climate Tech
Accelerating the transition to electric vehicles by optimising infrastructure location.
AI Accelerator
September 2022 - March 2023
I tell everybody I meet in the startup ecosystem about the AI Accelerator. If you are a company and you have an AI-driven product, you should join this programme because the design is great, the team is excellent to work with, and you get access to knowledge, expertise and support from some amazing experts and mentors. In addition there are opportunities to share ideas and issues with other entrepreneurs in the cohort.”

What led you to set up Vahanomy?

I've always been very passionate about the environment. I've been a two-time entrepreneur in the past and I took a sabbatical to work in the third sector with equality and human rights charities. During that time, I worked on some climate change projects and knew I wanted to do more to reduce carbon from transport.

What real world challenge do you want to address?

We set up Vahanomy to help reduce carbon from transport. In the UK, transport contributes 27% of greenhouse gases (GHG). Less than 10% of the electric vehicle charging points required by 2030 are in place at the moment. Vahanomy provides a data driven location intelligence tool to help charging point operators to analyse the opportunity, viability and risk to identify electric vehicle charging locations thereby accelerating the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

What role does data play in Vahanomy?

It's difficult to access geospatial data and information to make confident decisions regarding EV charging point locations. We looked around and asked stakeholders in the EV charging infrastructure ecosystem how they were finding and assessing sites, and they said they weren't able to easily access reliable data either. We saw the gap and wanted to provide a way to help operators set up charging points in optimal locations for them and their customers.

What motivates you as an entrepreneur?

We are committed to doing good and doing business with kindness. We’re working to tackle climate change so we can leave a better place for our children. That's what drives us as a company.

What success have you seen so far?

In terms of success, it's the partnerships we’ve made and the money we've been able to raise. Our location analysis tool for heavy duty vehicles is ready and we are working on further improvements to the insights for all types of sites. We've made huge strides from where we started six months before we got into the programme to where we are today.

We’ve been able to benefit from the success of the previous AI Accelerator cohort and the reputation they’ve brought to the programme. Academic and external partners want to engage with us because of the quality of the previous cohort’s work and what they achieved.”

What role has the University of Edinburgh AI Accelerator played in your entrepreneurial journey?

Being part of the UoE AI Accelerator has facilitated access to academia, experts and industry that we didn’t have access to before. We have had support to make successful funding applications, made joint applications as a commercial partner of the University and worked with academics to develop our models. At Vahanomy, we are building predictive models for new and existing EV charging locations but historic data is limited as the sector is still emerging. Working with academics on these predictive models will make them more robust because the models are also based on their expertise and our assumptions are peer reviewed.

What was the draw of working with the University of Edinburgh AI Accelerator?

The initial draw was the opportunity to work with academics and gain better connections in the University ecosystem. Joining the AI Accelerator enabled us to work with the Edinburgh Earth Initiative and now we're also working with Edinburgh Business School’s Centre for Business, Climate Change, and Sustainability to introduce new modules to our marketplace

What is next for Vahanomy?

We are a company with global ambitions and we will go to the US in about six months as we've been working on localisation for the US market already. We’re ready to launch our product, so it's the moment of truth for us.

Get in touch!

Want to learn more about Vahanomy, click below to head to their website.