UK:- The British government recently announced its £5M investment in unlocking the value of geospatial data.The Geovation Programme which has been running for three years helped 72 GeoTech and PropTech businesses create 189 new jobs and raise £19.5M in investment funding.
Businesses joining the start-up accelerator each receive up to £20,000 in funding and a range of resources and services, including access to experienced software developers, geospatial expertise from Ordnance Survey, property expertise from HM Land Registry, and specialist mentoring to assist with business proposals and investor relationships. The latest group to receive this help and benefits are:
- getGround make transacting property in the UK buy-to-let market speedier and more cost effective.
- Tonic Works provide innovative software and digital marketing services to law firms wanting to increase business opportunities and grow their client base.
- Skyroom partner with major landlords to help them turn their disused rooftops into high-quality, low-cost, eco-friendly homes for key urban workers.
- QFlow use Internet of Things technology to help businesses manage their resources more sustainably on construction and development sites.
- RunFriendly take an Airbnb approach by helping people find run-friendly routes, people and places.
- ONIGO Will you escape the park? Your team has 60 mins to uncover clues and crack cryptic puzzles to complete top secret missions.
- ProxyAddress uses empty addresses to connect those facing homelessness with the support they need by creating a ‘proxy’ address that can be used to access services and provide identification regardless of location.
David Lidington, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “This Government is committed to helping put British companies onto the global stage. By supporting and promoting emerging technologies, we are creating more opportunities for businesses both large and small. The Geovation Programme has created nearly 200 jobs and raised £19.5m in investment and is an excellent example of how data and technology can be used to improve lives.”
Jenna Brown, CEO and co-founder of Shipamax, one of the first businesses to enter the Geovation Programme, said: ”We needed experience and access to people with that geospatial and mapping expertise, because our business is fundamentally about how we navigate ships around the world. We visited a lot of start-up offices around town and I think the Geovation Hub is one of the few spaces that actually feels like you can get work done. We found it really useful having someone always there on the business side of things – advising on fundraising etc, and on the development side – making sure we’re set up to work as a team, and knowing how we can get access to different data sources, which was really important to us. Technologies with that mapping element to it, I think, are going to grow in importance, especially as things get more real-time. There’s a really big place for Geovation in helping start-ups get involved and moving in the right direction.”
Orla Shields is the founder of PropTech company GetRentr, which uses artificial intelligence to track UK property licensing regulations and consultations in real-time to ensure property portfolios are compliant. After a successful application, Orla’s company was one of the first PropTech businesses to join the Geovation Programme when it expanded to accepting PropTech businesses as well GeoTech ones. In the months that followed, Orla and GetRentr raised over £500,000 in funding and are currently working with letting agents and landlords and have partnerships with Association of Residential Letting Agents and the National Landlord Association.
Orla said: “Geovation has been life changing. The £20, 000 grant has helped us do things we couldn’t have done while we were waiting to secure other investment. Free office space in Clerkenwell is a major benefit for any business – early stage or not. It’s a great environment, with numerous other inspiring start-ups in a similar field. Geovation’s network and connections with major people in this industry and in government is priceless. The team is very pro-active, and their support and experience was really helpful and always available. One of the best benefits has been the ability to use Ordnance Survey and HM Land Registry data. This gives us the option to reach out to more people who are looking to invest and be strategic with their portfolios. It has also helped us predict where regulations will be implemented. Overall, the culture at Geovation is one of collaboration and support.”