Day one with Pi Labs at The Collective
The Urban Intelligence team will today begin a 13-week accelerator programme at the Property Innovation Labs (Pi Labs) new home at the Collective in Bloomsbury, London. We are pleased to have been selected from over 200 applicants to join four other disruptive companies in the third cohort of the accelerator which is aimed at property technology (proptech) verticals.
Pi Labs, Europe’s first proptech venture capital firm, will provide us with £50,000 of investment which will be primarily targeted at research and development. In addition, we will receive intensive mentoring to help us develop our strategy in a manner that is responsive to the trends in this growing sector. The programme will culminate with a ‘demo day’ where we will pitch to investors.
The focus of our business is the use of technology to drive productivity within the planning system, which has changed very little from its initial conception in 1947. Using fresh thinking and a range of spatial datasets that are being made increasingly more available from all levels of government and other bodies, we aim to develop software solutions which will improve speed, accuracy and cost-savings for built environment professionals.
Our initial product, ‘Howard’, is a search engine of planning policy which aims to consistently digitise local plans in order to improve their accessibility and usability for research and reference purposes with the inclusion of interactivity between documents. This need was raised within the findings of the recent report by the Local Plans Expert Group, chaired by Quod Director, John Rhodes OBE. The report highlighted that there was a need to improve accessibility;
‘particularly the ability of users of local plans to find the information they need quickly. Local planning authorities should want their plans to be accessible, easy to digest and user friendly.’
Named after the father of the garden cities movement, Ebenezer Howard, our planning policy search engine is currently available in beta. It has coverage of national planning policy including the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Planning Practice Guidance, the London Plan and key development plan documents from the 33 boroughs of Greater London.
During the accelerator, we aim to significantly develop the policy search engine, including deeper links to relevant content available elsewhere on the web, which is currently time consuming to piece together when undertaking research for property development purposes.
The beta version is currently being used by a select number of professionals within a range of environments which include large planning consultancies. We are keenly interested in working further with a variety of practices who are seeking to embrace technology, in order to ensure our engine is built in a manner that is responsive to user and business needs.
In addition to our partnership with CartoConsult, our work is being closely supported by other key organisations in this space including; the Geovation teamat Ordnance Survey and the Future Cities Catapult which are aiming to help develop SMEs that provide innovative solutions to geospatial and urban problems. We also have a very good relationship with Land Technologies, (part of the first Pi Labs cohort) who are also disrupting the methods of traditional property industry through the use of technology and spatial data.
If you’d like to talk to us about our services or investment, please get in touch.