Fábio Miranda is Chief Technology Officer at 7Gen, a tech startup that is making it easier for commercial fleet managers to convert to electric vehicles. We talked to Fabio about his work, his company, and his experience with Commit.
Tell us about your background, education, and experience before you joined Commit.
I’ve been a computer engineer since 2004, so it’s been 18 years. I was a partner in my first company, which I founded with some friends from university. It was an aviation consulting company. One of our customers was one of the major players in Brazil, they operated 26 aircraft using the software I helped develop. After that the company was bought by another airline company and I started consulting for startups.
The last startup I worked with before joining Commit was Donorbox. It has now processed a billion dollars in donations. The pandemic was a hard time and I started considering moving to another company because I felt my engineering career was stagnating. I joined Commit looking for another professional challenge and things that could motivate me as a computer engineer.
What drew you to Commit?
It was a coincidence. I was looking into the market and what opportunities were out there, and Commit showed up as a Google search result. I was very lucky because I sent a message and a few weeks later I was doing my first interview here. It was like finding the right place at the right time.
Where do you work now?
I’m working at 7Gen, which is an electrification startup. The company currently does consulting for Canadian companies trying to move their operations from combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles and we are working on software to make this business scalable.
How did you get connected with 7Gen?
It was the fourth startup partner I was interviewed for. I had already received an offer from another sector, but 7Gen felt different because it’s not only a startup, it’s also a business in the industry. It felt like the challenge I was looking for. I’m writing software, and I’m also building a new business and a new industry. It seemed like a way for me to build my brand, to be the engineer behind the company doing this electrification journey for companies in the world. It’s very, very challenging. It’s a good story to tell.
How do you describe 7Gen to others?
Governments are giving incentives to companies operating combustion engine vehicles to buy electric vehicles and to start operating another way. 7Gen does the consulting process to convince the companies this is a good time to make the transition.
Electric vehicles are more expensive, but if you look at the complete journey, the maintenance cost and the fuel costs pay off over time. Even if you buy or lease a more expensive vehicle right now it will pay for itself over time.
The first software I wrote was for making this calculation. Doing the calculation of upfront costs that showed after six years the electric vehicle becomes the most efficient decision to make. If you change some parameters, like if you operate 20 percent more kilometres every day, the cost of the electric vehicle becomes even more attractive because the operation pays for itself. It’s changing OPEX and CAPEX to justify bringing our customers to the electrical path.
And what is your title at 7Gen?
At some point the CEO told me he wanted me to become the CTO. I initially resisted, I was trying to avoid the leadership role after my last company. I wanted time to build my role better, but now I’m feeling OK. I’m prepared to do that. So I accepted the challenge and I’m the CTO.
And what’s your main goal, what is your attention focused most on at 7Gen right now?
There are three main projects. The internal project supports the customer journey, things like simulating the cost of fleet electrification. We have a vehicle database showing all the options and what option is most suitable for that customer. Anything that supports the consulting business is part of the internal project.
Then there is the external project, the customer portal. Once a customer signs a contract this is where the customer will see all the information like their chargers, their vehicles, if their vehicles are charged, fleet management etc.
Third, we are trying to build software that integrates with the chargers. Customers will know: this charger is in use, this charger is connected to the vehicle and the state of the charger is 50 percent and it will take 30 minutes to finish that charging. We are also trying to build software that connects to that hardware and manages every charging session.
I’m leading the efforts on the three projects and managing how the developers are making progress in each of the fronts.
Why did you choose to join 7Gen?
Because it’s simply awesome. This kind of challenge was what I was looking for. Building a new industry and building innovative software with new languages, not only web applications. I feel I am in the right place at the right time.
What’s the team like?
I feel like they have all the right people in the company. They are very smart, they are very intelligent, and I feel great being in all the meetings. I feel that I’m gaining experience and I’m not only a better professional, I am becoming a better person. Seeing all their experience and the way they make decisions, the way they make it natural to make tough decisions. I’m feeling very, very lucky and I feel that I can grow a lot here as a person and as a professional.
What would you say about Commit’s mission and model?
Commit changed my life. It was the bridge that helped me in the most difficult moment in my life to make a career transition. It was a really hard decision and I had all the emotional and professional support, like a safety network, to know that if everything goes wrong, Commit is going to support me. I can do this pilot. If I like it I’ll be hired and I’ll be happy. If it doesn’t happen I can go back to Commit and they are there to support me. I felt it very, very strongly and it gave me courage.
With 7Gen I had to make some risky decisions during my pilot. Having this kind of safety network helped me to make good decisions so 7Gen is happy to be with me. Talking with Beier and Greg, having access to the select channels, seeing questions that people posted there that applied to me, I learn every day. Commit made it possible, and it was the most important experience in my career.
How has the Commit community supported you after you joined 7Gen?
The peer-to-peer channels help me almost every day. At least one or two posts every week, I think: this completely makes sense to me. I’m also having contact with new developers and new experiences. Reading the bios from the new engineers makes me think of the kind of person I’d like to hire or work with in the future.
Having access to all this material, all these people, the passion that developers have, looking for the same things I was looking for, this network of strong professionals, I feel like this is going to help me. When I go to Canada I want to meet all the Commit people.
What is the best thing about being an engineer and the worst thing?
Well it’s simply awesome that engineers can create new things. When I was young I liked to play video games. Being an engineer, it’s like reality is our video game, you create new things and you create new business and you change a person’s life, it’s awesome.
The worst thing is you always have to learn a lot of things, sometimes you feel like an imposter. And even in that effect, Commit helps us to understand that this is part of the learning process. Don’t be over optimistic when you are learning something new, be realistic.
The engineer is like this, balancing conflicting feelings over time because there are always so many things to learn and you have only a limited time to learn everything you’d like to.
Who is someone you admire in the tech field and why?
Since I joined Commit I admired Bill and I wanted to learn a lot of things related to the Zero framework. I admire so many of my friends it’s hard to mention only one person.
How do you stay up to date on the latest tech platforms and languages to know?
It’s always oriented by the current project. Right now, I have to make this integration between the hardware and the software and there is a very good language written in Go. I’m learning Go because I want to build the software. I’m having fun working with the new language.
What would you say to other engineers who may be interested in joining Commit?
I’d say, “Hey, come.” I was talking with a friend who wanted to do some projects outside Brazil and I said to him, “Hey, I’m working on this startup project Commit. You are going to like it,” and he’s finally coming to Commit this month. So every time I see someone that wants to do things like moving their career, I just invite them to come.