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“We speed up the home buying process by providing a home valuation that can be done in one hour. Our business is designed to solve a problem. With the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher Scheme our goal was to do more research and development on satellite and aerial imaging to further develop our platform and we achieved this” – Stefano Francavilla CEO and Founder, Geowox.
Property tech start-up Geowox has completely revolutionised the process of home buying. Traditionally valuations are completed by surveyors manually which can be slow and sometimes not fully accurate and when dealing with large asset books not very feasible. Geowox has changed all this, creating scaled, fast and accurate valuations using open data, automation and machine learning.
The company is very much on the radar as one of the first tech companies in Europe to receive direct investment from the EU – €1.6million in 2021. They’re on a trajectory to success and as part of their continuing growth availed of the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme to work on refining and improving some of their imaging methods and this proved to be really successful for them.
“We set up the company to digitize the mortgage process and enable a fast track valuation through automated property valuation solutions”, explains Stefano Francavilla who founded the company in late 2017 with Paul van Bommel and Marco Giardina. With the help of Enterprise Ireland's Innovation Voucher Geowox worked with Trinity College Dublin to look at applied satellite and aerial imagery and discovered how accurate object recognition is to increase their automated valuation model coverage.
Geowox leverages three components – open, licensed and proprietary data which includes data extracted from aerial images and this was the core of the work that they used the innovation vouchers for. The information they gleaned through their research and development with TCD and the workflow they have built now enables them to further refine and adjust and they aim to expand into new markets.
So how did Geowox become aware of the Innovation voucher scheme? “Enterprise Ireland has done a great job in supporting business start ups. I was being kept informed of all of their supports and then saw the innovation supports and felt that it was a big fit for us at this stage in our growth”, says Stefano.
The innovation voucher allowed the company to look at what was available in aerial imaging and satellite images when it came to detecting lot size of properties. “We went to the Adapt Centre at TCD with this broad idea. We gave them the initial idea and then asked them to expand on it and they brought in their expertise and we got a lot of promising results. The end result was a presentation and baseline and we ended up setting up a team and now have a roadmap.”
Stefano and his team found the process straightforward and they now have a resource within the company working specifically on this topic and solutions for recognising lot size with a higher degree of accuracy for properties in Ireland. They have achieved what they wanted to with this baseline. He advises companies to engage as early as possible with the innovation voucher process. “Start building the relationship with Enterprise Ireland and get early feedback and have your goal in mind. They have the knowledge and industry experience. Have your clear questions ready and go to them with a goal in mind so that they can help you at an early stage.”