In our latest Spotlight interview, we spoke with Clifford McDowell the Founder and CEO of Doorda. Doorda provide trusted data, on demand, which allows organisations to drive unique competitive advantage by accelerating insight and innovation.
Clifford shares insights into the world of public property data. The different ways clients are using Doorda’s data for their unique solutions and the importance of adapting to new technologies to continue to meet requests.
Q: What does Doorda do and what links it to the PropTech industry?
A: There is a vast collection of public data relating to property, businesses and local areas from over 1000 local and national government departments, regulatory agencies and other public bodies. Doorda collects, cleans, structures, links, documents and models this ever expanding and evolving universe of public data, creating history as well as current views of the latest data available. The main focus of our data is property as well as business and postcodes, meaning we can link across many disparate sources, for example we are able to link business rates, hygiene inspections and occupant names to a single address using our own patent pending matching technology. In addition to this we also identify registered companies in our data and link them back to our Biz product on Company number. The postcodes can also be linked to wealth of location data. In summary our customers can create detailed insights on over 34 million properties.
Q: How are your customers using data in the property space?
A: We provide our data transactionally via our API or in Bulk via our hosted database solution. This empowers our clients to develop whatever solutions they want. Some clients use our API to populate forms for underwriters, others use it to enhance their marketing and still others augment our data with their own to develop internal models.
Q: How are you adapting your current projects to meet customer demands?
A: 98% of our data processing is automated so we have the bandwidth to meet customer demand as it arises, as well as to research and add new data. In some cases a customer may ask for single dataset such as commercial EPC linked to company numbers, for others it’s a huge data grab with one example requiring the acquisition of 1,200 data sources merged into a single file. To ensure we continue to meet these requests we are continually recruiting and adapting to new technologies. Data engineering is one of the most diverse and fast paced environments so it’s always an exciting place to be (if you like data that is!).
Q: What do the next 5 years look like, do you see any roadblocks and how would you overcome them?
A: In the context of our sector the government is our biggest supplier so we are always nudging and encouraging them to release more data, as well as driving FOI requests. One of the most exciting projects is the digitisation of land searches by the Land Registry, it’s a complex thing to digitise as each local authority in England and Wales (over 300) need to package their current process to ensure it can all be centralised. However as it progresses, it has the ability to transform the time taken to purchase a property, develop a planning application and make location analysis more detailed than they’ve ever been before.
Q: Do you have any advice for start-ups in a similar sector?
A: My advice would be to work on solving a problem you have come across yourself. If it’s a problem for you odds are it could be sector wide. Once you have your idea, try not to re-invent the wheel – go along to some networking events and test the concept. Work out what partners in the PropTech ecosystem can help you realise your vision – e.g. with Doorda you can leverage the already available Doorda Property data to build value added solutions to problems.
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