Why did we build Nimbus® Maps? Quite simply, we got fed up with looking for the same information, over and over again, on every property we looked at – and we looked at a lot, every day!
Although a truism, whatever your role within the property industry – agent, developer, investor, valuer – you have to look at a lot of property, not only on your subject property but those around it and in the wider area.
The way the industry conducts its business is grossly inefficient compared with other sectors. In a world where cars are becoming driverless and houses smarter, why can we not even access all the background information on a property from a single place?
As both Oxbridge mathematical engineering graduates with 10-years’ experience running a property agency together, my brother Paul and I saw a gap in the market to create a single source of real-time data to benefit the whole property industry.
The first iteration of Nimbus® Maps was created in-house within our property consultancy business c5 years ago. More data structuring than intelligent data – think sticky back plastic and here’s one I made earlier!
The final straw came when we were presented with a large portfolio of pubs, 5,000 in fact, with serious yet unlocked potential. However, each needed qualification to work up alternative uses and you know you’ll be asking the same question of each, repeatedly, many thousands of times.
We knew a large proportion of them would fall down after due diligence checks down the line – huge upfront time and cost that cannot be recovered. By the way, if you are interested, we found over £100million of previously unknown latent value from this client’s pub estate!
As we all know, the property industry generally runs off a tough business model: we mainly do all our work up front at risk and the remuneration if often months, and sometimes years, later. It’s riddled with frustrations – fickleness of buyers, sellers, occupiers, planners, planning committees and lawyers, to name just a few.
With all this in mind, we posed some challenges to the head of computer science at Warwick University, 10 miles up the road. Not afraid to take on any intellectual challenge, they said they could do this.
At the same time, HMLR released (for a not insignificant sum at the time but from 7th November 2017 free) a very large dataset.
Replacing ‘sticky back plastic’ and photocopies with multi-million-pound supercomputers, the underlying datasets for Nimbus® Maps were created. Over two years later, and having made a lot of it available completely FREE, the whole property industry is now reaping the rewards. With over 1,250 companies now using Nimbus® Maps, and growing on average by 40 per day, we clearly have got something right!
Simon Davis, CEO Nimbus® Maps