21.9.20

The Propcast: The Importance of Real Estate Data

In this episode The Propcast talks to L.D. Salmanson from Cherre, and Thomas Walle from Unacast about the importance of real estate data.

Click here to listen to Episode 3.

The Propcast by Louisa Dickins, Co-Founder of LMRE the leading Global PropTech recruiter brought to you in partnership with UK PropTech Association, The UK PropTech Association is a membership organisation to drive the digital transformation of the property industry. This show will focus on connecting the PropTechs, real estate funds and VC’s globally…and get everyone talking about innovation of the built environment.

21.9.20

About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisa-dickins-ab065392/?originalSubdomain=uk

Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA).

About LMRE

LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the right place at the right time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people's careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community.

 

About Our Guests

L.D. Salmanson

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ldsalmanson/

L.D. has extensive experience founding, advising and investing and leading private technology companies. L.D’s latest venture is Cherre, which is the leader in real estate data and insight. Cherre connects decision makers to accurate property and market information, and helps them make faster, smarter decisions. By providing a unique single source of truth, Cherre empowers customers to evaluate opportunities and trends faster and more accurately, by saving millions of dollars in manual data collection and analytics costs. Prior to founding Cherre, L.D. served as an executive director of Oppenheimer’s private shares group, and after Openheimmer acquired GreenCrest Capital, a firm he co-founded to enable pre IPO transactions and some of the largest private technology companies in the world, including Facebook, Twitter and Uber. Prior to that, L.D. served as the principal of Knight Capital's group private equity fund and previously as a captain in the Israeli army, which I'd love to hear a little bit more about as well later on in the show. L.D. holds an MBA in finance and is a Joseph Wharton Merit Scholar. He also holds a BA, LLB and LLM in finance and international law.

 

Thomas Walle

https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomaswalle/

Thomas is the CEO and Co-Founder of Unacast, the leading human mobility data company who empower companies globally to make smarter decisions and build better products by understanding how people move around on our planet. Unacast serves data-hungry clients in multiple verticals such as retail, martech, research, real estate, and city planning. Unacast has been awarded multiple awards for its tech platform, products, and it’s Nordic-based culture. Prior to Unacast, he was a part of the early team at the music streaming service TIDAL, which was acquired by Jay Z in 2014, where he led business development and partnerships globally.Thomas shares his opinion on tech and startups regularly as a member of Forbes Technology Council and has been profiled by Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, The New York Times and Wired. He is also an LP in Nordic Web, a seed-stage fund investing in the growing Nordic Startup scene.

 

Resources mentioned

LMRE website www.lmre.co.uk  

UKPA www.ukpa.com    

Unacast website www.unacast.com

Cherre website www.cherre.com

 

Insights from this Episode

- What we’ve seen over last few years is the emergence of a lot of really interesting data sets that just didn't exist a few years ago or weren't packaged in a way that was usable… Firms are more and more looking to combine those datasets to have something that's a lot more meaningful for whatever end use cases they have today – L.D.

- In order to cater to the real estate vertical, the data needs to be as you started with, it needs to be clean, it needs to be easily accessible - Thomas

- Data is being put front and centre where it should be. It means that people are able to make a lot more informed decisions – L.D.

- In a case like COVID, where the mobility patterns of people that changed overnight, it has an extremely powerful data set to help them understand what's happening in their neighbourhood, in their city, and help them make better decisions – Thomas

- Our focus is on understanding how people move around on the planet, mobility data, that's where we are experts - Thomas

 

Episode Transcript

Louisa

Hi everyone, and welcome to The Propcast. My name is Louisa Dickins, co-founder of LMRE, and board director for the UKPA, and I shall be your weekly host. Each week for 30 minutes, we'll be connecting VCs, PropTech start-ups and real estate professionals globally and assist in bridging that famous communication gap we all love talking about. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the Propcast. In today's podcast, we'll be looking at whether data is helping to drive PropTech forward among other things. And today's special guests joining us from the US are LD, founder of Cherre and Thomas Walle, founder and CEO of Unacast. So welcome both of you.

 

L.D. 

Thank you for having us

 

Louisa 

Awesome, before we start and let me get the listener a brief intro to both of you. So let's start with L.D, L.D. has extensive experience founding, advising and investing and leading private technology companies. L.D’s latest venture is Cherre, which is the leader in real estate data and insight. Cherre connects decision makers to accurate property and market information, and helps them make faster, smarter decisions. By providing a unique single source of truth, Cherre empowers customers to evaluate opportunities and trends faster and more accurately, by saving millions of dollars in manual data collection and analytics costs. Prior to founding Cherre, L.D. served as an executive director of Oppenheimer’s private shares group, and after Openheimmer acquired GreenCrest Capital, a firm he co-founded to enable pre IPO transactions and some of the largest private technology companies in the world, including Facebook, Twitter and Uber. Prior to that, L.D. served as the principal of Knight Capital's group private equity fund and previously as a captain in the Israeli army, which I'd love to hear a little bit more about as well later on in the show. L.D. holds an MBA in finance and is a Joseph Wharton Merit Scholar. He also holds a BA, LLB and LLM in finance and international law. So seriously impressive credentials L.D. and I'm looking forward to hearing more from you later on in this podcast.

But now it's time to introduce Thomas. Thomas, who is a CEO and co-founder of Unacast, the US based leading human mobility data company that empowers companies globally to make smarter decisions and build better products by understanding how people move around our planet. Unacast helps data hungry clients in multiple verticals such as real estate, city planning, retail and many more verticals. Unacast has been awarded multiple awards for its tech platform product and its Nordic based culture. Now prior to Unacast, he was part of the early team of the music streaming service Tidal, which I'm sure a lot of our listeners like me have used, and which was acquired by Jay Z in 2014, where he led business development and partnerships globally. Now, Thomas shares his opinion on tech and start-ups regularly as a member of Forbes Technology Council, and has been profiled by Inclusive magazine, Business Insider, The New York Times and Adweek. He's also an LP in Nordic web, a seed stage fund investing in growing Nordic start-up scene. And so welcome, Thomas and thank you and L.D. for joining us on the Propcast. So I guess it's time after that fairly inclusive summary of both you to kick start the questions. Now where should we start, the data, and specifically, clean data seems to be spoken about more than ever, I mean, even more so since what's happening with COVID. L.D. Do you want to kick start us with what changes have you seen to the importance of global data in real estate? Then maybe we can look at from Thomas in comparison to other industries?

 

L.D. 

Definitely. I mean, when we look at the real estate industry, we're a little lagging to a certain degree, right, the transparency that we see in a lot of other asset classes and a lot of other domains we don't really see in the real estate space quite yet, right. We see a lot of transparency in smaller verticals and we see a lot of data vendors trying to peel off some of those spaces, but up until very recently, we were really siloed to a certain degree, and what we’ve seen over last few years a, is the emergence of a lot of really interesting data sets that just didn't exist a few years ago or weren't packaged in a way that was usable just a few years ago. And more importantly, firms are more and more looking to combine those datasets to have something that's a lot more meaningful for whatever end use cases they have today. Then post COVID or during COVID, we should say, that means more and more things need to be automated - less visits to a property, for example, for underwriting of insurance, or maybe a mortgage or commercial loan. That means also a lot of decisions are made. A lot of data is being analysed way before people are looking at a property or making an executive decision about that property. It means that a lot of things that we were looking at as something a little more futuristic, this kind of road to digital transactions is happening a lot more rapid fashion, that's really exciting. It means that data's being put front and centre where it should be. It means that people are able to make a lot more informed decisions, you're not replacing really people in the process, because at the end of the day, we want human judgment, it's good judgment. But we want a lot more informed judgment. So we're really excited about that.

 

Louisa 

Yeah, I feel like that's like often a concern that people have about technology and data is they are replacing jobs, but I’m constantly reassuring them no, other roles are going to be created. Have we seen a similar change across other industries, Thomas?

 

Thomas 

Well, I like to look at data, if you're looking from a data perspective, it's also important to look at users off the data. And that's where real estate is kind of different. There's been a lot of other industries, such as marketing and finance, hedge funds, that have been very advanced for many, many years. I would say that real estate is less sophisticated when it comes to using data. There are fewer companies, most likely only like the largest ones that has like data specialists, are building a data science team. So it means that in order to kind of to cater to the real estate vertical, the data needs to be as you started with, it needs to be clean, it needs to be easily accessible and we are seeing a development now that more especially on the commercial real estate side that companies are onboarding data scientists and analysts, they're able to work with large amounts of data. But it is still lagging a bit behind better development. Like just like the last three to six months now with COVID has tremendously accelerated their understanding of how data can be used, and also the different use cases that data can help the PropTech industry.

 

Louisa

Yes, from a recruitment angle just past two to six months, we’ve seen every client from funds to start-ups all looking for more people in the data space whether its analysts or data scientists. So that's definitely a trend we're seeing our side. With everyone recognising and the power of this data and what it can do, like L.D. mentioned about efficiency, the question on everyone's lips is would you say it's helping to drive PropTech forward? And helping to actually drive adoption or speed it up?

 

Thomas 

Well, I would definitely say it's helping to drive better decision making. And that's at the bottom line, that's what data should do. It should help companies or individuals to either make better decisions or to build good or greater products. I think for the PropTech vertical is most likely around decision making, right? Like what kind of investments are they doing? How are they optimizing their portfolio etc. And where real estate historically has been a bit more a gut feel anecdotal driven, now, like suddenly you have like massive data sets, they're able to tell very precise information in real time, or close to real time and also compare this year over year. So I would say that it's mostly focusing like better and more data driven decision making.

 

L.D. 

Maybe just a comment on that. I mean, I completely agree with Thomas. I think also, it's important to point out that some of these folks in the real estate industry that haven't adopted some of these solutions yet, it's not because they're stupid, right? These are really smart players, really smart technologists, a lot of these firms as well, some of them also have data science teams in house. So I don't think it's because we've made the point that they're a little lagging adoption, I want to make the point that it's not because they're stupid. It's because there are a lot of built in challenges that make it really, really hard to connect data.

To give you an example. I would say that the vast majority of our clients would love to have location data and POI, right. And then so in their mind, they're thinking about cell phones, right and collecting cell phone data. We've literally heard this and then we'd say okay, well, there are these great companies like Unacast it already did this job for you and have really good package data, you can just buy it as it is. And then they get really excited, and they start saying, Well, how does that connect to all these other data sets I have, right? So they want the data, they know they want the data, the challenge for them always in houses, how do I connect that to all my other data sets? And that's always something that's really, really challenging. That's changing though very quickly. So I would say in the real estate industry, the interest for location data, especially during COVID, obviously, but even before COVID, we saw that rise happen very fast, We see something high on the list of what clients want because of the small micro changes that means for properties, but it also means that things that are possible now just weren't possible a few years ago. So you're seeing a very rapid kind of convergence of use cases within the real estate industry that just weren't possible very recently.

 

Louisa 

Going into a bit more into what you said, Thomas do you think POI and mobility data is helping drive tech adoption, where you might see other types of data might not have the same effect?

 

Thomas 

Yes, well it depends on the use case. Let's take a very recent use case now, which is COVID. The world was turned upside down, and everybody is trying to figure out, what should I do? Like, should I do something? Should I just sit tight? Should I reinvest some of my assets? Like, what kind of decisions should I make? And in a case like COVID, where it's the mobility patterns of people that changed overnight, it's extremely powerful data set to help them understand what's happening in their neighbourhood, in their city. And as I alluded to earlier, help them make better decisions. So, it is kind of always with data, its use case driven, and all usage of data has to kind of come from what am I trying to solve? We see for instance, our clients that are wondering, will my retailers, will my tenants be able to pay to pay the rent? And then they can leverage our data to understand how is the traffic in that neighbourhood picking up? Is it recovering? Like, will those stores see foot traffic? Yes or no. And the good thing about a data set like mobile data is that it's very fresh, like a couple of days lag. So you don't have to wait for census data or other data sources that will take months to get access to, because people don't have time to wait now they need to make decisions to either save or to accelerate their business.

 

Louisa 

Yeah, everything inreal estate seems to take some a lot longer so anything you can do to speed this up, you would have thought people would be getting on board with that. We're looking at PropTech solutions and we can cover it for obviously both Unacast and Cherre, what kind of PropTech solutions L.D. can be built on top of Cherre?

 

L.D. 

Yeah, that's great. I mean, pretty much anything. We're designed to be an infrastructure for data delivery in a usable format, right. So most of our clients will have some kind of application they're building on top of it. Very often workflow type tools, so in the insurance and banking industry that means tools that help them do either automated or semi-automated underwriting for either PNC insurance risk or commercial or underwriting or mortgage lending, things like that. Hedge funds will typically use it for multiple different use cases they don't tell us about, but often they're trying to map it back to public entities. So being able to track certain retail activity or maybe other public entities relate to the real estate industry and maybe other private equity funds that have floated certain parts of their companies.

And finally, technology firms, so I'd say easily more than half of our revenue comes from technology firms. That means other companies are trying to build on top of our platform, some kind of end workflow solution, another prop tech company if you will, just often very large PropTech companies just because affording us is a little harder. But I was going to say good opportunity for a shout out. We just made public, our start-up program with some new entrance there, so we're trying to make that platform available to some smaller companies as well so they can grow with us but it's a work in progress. We’d really like to have more people have access and be able to develop more cool solutions for the industry.

 

Louisa 

At the end of the show, definitely tell us how the start-ups can connect with you on that. But that sounds really exciting. Thomas, obviously you cover so many different verticals, there must be various solutions that can be built on top of Unacast?

 

Thomas 

Yes, and there's a few I'm very excited about right now, you have of course the more traditional use case like site selection, for instance understanding what part of a city or what kind of area should open my next store or buy properties in. But we have a few other ones that are also going to showcase how data can be used in the real estate setting. So like neighbourhood activity, like understanding how is this neighbourhood, how's this census block performing? Like what kind of foot traffic do we see there? And how's that foot traffic split between workers, residents, tourists, and locals. And all that information is highly relevant, and of course now with COVID-19, we're just seeing how it has accelerated because imagine if you have a property that is very dependent on tourists, and you can actually understand that this area has a 95% decrease in tourists and we haven't seen any recovery over the last three or four weeks. That's going to be like a tough uphill battle. And then the other thing I want to like highlight is migration patterns. And we know that kind of people are moving constantly, like people are moving from cities and across different states, but we have a data set that showcases the migration patterns across the US. So very helpful to understand what areas are most likely going to boom, are people moving out of New York City to the suburbs, are there places in California that are seeing an influx of people, all of this right will impact the local economy, both from housing needs to commercial real estate, to properties and stores. So that's kind of some of the couple of solutions that we're seeing a lot of activity and demand for right now.

 

Louisa 

My next question I was going to ask is what are the big opportunities which you get from to the data, but there’s  a debate going around at the moment and I've watched various  webinars on it and I'd love to hear from both of you, who do you think should control this data? Because I would presume you guys obviously share would want to share data? Have you always thought it should be shared? Obviously, it changes country to country, what are the positives and negatives of it? L.D. do want to kick start?

 

L.D. 

Yeah, sure. And to be fair we're in a slightly different position, since Cherre is not a data vendor. Our job is to connect data in the middle, so I think we're in a little different position, our job is not to broker who, what and how data is controlled, our job is to deliver data. That being said, I think that data sovereignty is kind of a fluid question, right? part of its who collects the data, So think of , companies like Unacast, great example put a lot of effort into collecting data that otherwise would not be available. That's a lot of work, it's a lot of effort, it’s cleaning that data. It's collecting, I mean, that's a lot of work that other people are not doing and therefore that data's unique. And you should be able to control the processes around that data.

Now, maybe when it comes down to something like an MLS listing, maybe an agent might say, well, who owns that data? Do I own that data? Maybe the owner of the home says that they own that data, maybe MLS thinks they own that data, some interesting questions around that. I think those questions are all micro questions, I suggest maybe looking at it from a macro lens, their issues around privacy and security of data, which are legitimate concerns I think I’ll solve those frameworks more generally, whether it's something like GDPR or the California Privacy Act, they both have their own challenges, but we'll have some kind of framework that solves that. Then secondly, the question should be, are you a data provider I mean, are you collecting source data, packaging it or manipulating ut in a way where clients want to use it? And there are a lot of great examples of that, in which case they own the data. Or you really just passing on user data as is. For a good example, that might be listing data, in which case there's legitimate discussion. So I'd leave it as a more broad question. I think users want value from data and want to feel like they're not being screwed. I don't think that the vast majority of the vendors that I know of in this space are doing a really good job at protecting their clients data or their source data and anonymizing in proper manners, and I'd be less concerned about ownership and those types of situations.

 

Louisa 

And Thomas, what's your thoughts on this?

 

Thomas 

Yeah, no, there's no doubt that privacy is of the utmost importance for companies like ourselves to create the healthy data economy, right. So that needs to be like the core of every data company. And it is moving in the right direction, like we have seen GDPR being introduce in Europe, we are seeing CCPA being introduced in the in the US and we will continuously have a scrutiny on privacy, which it should. I think that's just in the interest of everyone. But I want to like, take another angle at this because privacy and who controls the data, It's a very kind of black and white discussion. But either you comply with the local laws or you don't. But another discussion, I think we will see more of in the, in the future is data ethics, more about how should they data be used, are there use cases where certain data sets shouldn't be used for in order to protect the individual. And that's a much more trickier conversation because any laws around their ethics, it will be up to each and every company to decide what they're comfortable with how, they want their data or their products to be used. So that's something that we at Unacast have spent a lot of time on in the last couple of years, like while we've been doing everything to be compliant with GDPR and NCCPA. But we also have an ethics committee that are reviewing certain cases and we have a big document that says what we are okay with and what we discourage. But that's going to be a very nuanced and interesting discussion in the years to come because it will be up to each and every company to decide for themselves what they want to do or not.

 

Louisa 

Yeah, a lot more formalized as well to their clients. What are your thoughts on the US governments increased scrutiny on data companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google, we've been reading about it a lot. Do you think these massive data companies need a bit more regulation? Obviously, we went into ethics, do you think they need to delve and a bit more into that, or are these restraints and scrutiny going to inhibit technological advancement? What are your opinions LD?

 

L.D. 

So I have a legal background by training and spent a lot of time in anti-trust so it's an area close to heart. I'm not a huge fan of regulating technology firms, I'm not a huge fan of regulating information generally. I don't know who the correct arbiter of information is, even if we decided we want to be so, whatever biases you have will manifest in whatever regulation or self-regulation you put in. So I'm a little cautious about those types of platforms and I like the free exchange of ideas, and I like them to compete in the open world, especially the most vile ideas, I want to hear them publicly and I want to debate them and I want to quash them and I want to make it very public, right? The last thing I'd want is that speech to be barred and hidden away and not be addressable. So that's kind of my thought around speech in general. Specifically around the anti-trust issues here there's a legitimate question about how some of these companies allow advertising to happen on their platforms.

So Apple within the app store and buying within the phone, or Google within buying keywords right there. There are many other Facebook within their search algorithms, right? there's There are many different challenges here. I think they're worth reviewing. Although I would say from an anti-trust standpoint, we've definitely taken a step back as a country over the last maybe 50 years when it comes to trust busting, we're not we're not in that mood anymore. Since the baby bells and at&t, I think it was the last time we really did something serious. And I don't see that happening in the information companies. But I'll also give a flip side, it's not clear that the moats are as deep as we think right. Companies like Instagram came out of nowhere and were able to challenge Facebook, companies like Tiktok they're now valued at potentially $50 billion, or potentially even more, didn't exist just a few years ago. So I would argue that the ability to create an incumbent that competes with one of these “giant monopolies” if you will, and I'm not sure that they are, but if you want to describe them as such, I think that the competition is a lot more fierce than one would think. And I'd be a lot less inclined to be protective were I a regulator.

 

Louisa 

And then Thomas, do you have anything to add on that?

 

Thomas 

Well, I do think it's important to say like, there are two discussions in regard to scrutinizing data because one is privacy, and that that should always be scrutinized, regardless of size. If you're like Google, Amazon, or if you're a smaller start-up, privacy needs to be at the core, especially in the state of economy. But yeah, I'm kind of following L.D. that the competition side of anti-trust is more interesting. I'm kind of worried that you that we will see monopolies and I hear you all this saying that there is competition etc. but I just think we have to be mindful that there will still be sufficient innovation from start-ups, that they will have a scene where they can grow and they can gain more market shares. I don't think it's an issue now as we speak, but it's definitely something that needs to be under scrutiny, as these big companies are just going to be bigger. Everything like leads to that, Facebook, Amazon and Google are just going to be bigger in the next five to 10 to 15 years, also outside of their core verticals. And that's when it starts to get really interesting when they start to take your massive dominance and go into new verticals that they haven't entered yet.

 

L.D. 

It's funny that you say that I was. I tend to agree with you by the way and especially on a privacy issue. I think that that's it doesn't matter what the size is, that's a that's a societal question, but I was at a dinner with someone not too long ago from Nielsen, a very senior person actually, it's quite a while ago, because before COVID now I think about it, but specifically talking about Amazon, he was making the argument that Amazon's distribution advantage, which is the vast majority of their business and shipping is really not a major advantage that can be disrupted literally overnight by many other companies. And my point is not that necessarily it's true or not true.

The point is, even companies like Amazon that we think of really as dominant in their fields, there are really smart people who would make the argument that, I’m not taking a side of this, I would actually take the side that they have a stronger advantage, but I think there's a really strong argument the other way as well, which makes me think that any antitrust discussion is going to get gridlocked because there's a genuine question from economists what is the implication of these oligopolies? I think the question to your point Thomas, is always are we stifling innovation or not? Is a new company thinking about shipping or thinking about social, thinking about something saying, I'm not even going to bother trying because I can't compete with Facebook? Or are they saying something like, I have a different angle, I'm going to be the Tiktok, I'll get people to dance with me, and I'll have that nation whether that competes with Facebook directly at the end or not is an open question. I think there's a path for innovation. If the answer is yes, I'm with you. I think that should be a good decision, even though it's not very easy to answer sometimes, but I think it's a good guiding principle.

 

Thomas 

But then you also have another angle, which is the difference between China, for instance, and the Western countries. So let's take GDPR as an example. There's no doubt that GDPR in Europe has made it much, much harder to be a data company, like the bar has been much, much, much stricter and it should, but it also means that the European countries will have a hard time getting access to the same type of information, and to develop that information into meaningful insights and products as, for instance, companies in China would because there's literally kind of nothing, no laws, nothing. And that's a that's something that also worth considering. Because even though we think about privacy from country to country, we're all competing on the same global economy. And I know there are a lot of voices out there saying, well if you put too much limitations on Western technology companies, they are going to lose out for the Chinese giants that can do literally whatever they want.

 

L.D. 

Yeah, I mean, we think about those algos right and to drive your point even further, I can perfect them in China, people have no rights from privacy standpoint, and then come to Europe, I don't need your information,  I already had all the training data I needed. I just need to run it on you and it's already working better than anything you could develop in Europe, because you're not going to have access to that. But I'll say two things on that. One is the European regime is getting more strict in the sense that if you're selling into Europe in any way whatsoever or touching anything, you're going to have to adhere that in your home country to, so that would lock out, in theory, some of these although I haven't seen a willingness to enforce to a certain degree. I think there's another huge opportunity here, which you're pointing out in between the lines, there's a huge opportunity for companies today to collect raw client information, anonymize it, and use it as panels for those companies to be able to train on in Europe such that they can compete with those other countries that don't have that regime, because I think there's a technology solution here. So I think the combination of both being a little more strict on specifically China, I mean, we're talking about this if it's other countries, its specifically China, right, for more strict on China's respect for IP laws and privacy laws across the world and at the same time, we also allow technology solutions to give that same advantage to kind of the home court, at least my home court.

 

Louisa 

Outside of say these issues, globally to do with ownership and the ethics surrounding it, if we're looking specifically into PropTech, are there any other limitations that still needs to be addressed in regards to data?

 

L.D. 

I mean, in my mind, it's a lot of politics still. So you're hearing right now from again, of course we’ve got some great partners and we love working with good forward thinking, folks, right? There are data providers out there that are still kind of old school, very protective of their world and are still in the mind that they can be the one data set to rule them all. It's not a realistic expectation, I can tell you, there's no such data set in the world in any asset class, surely, if you're a multi asset class manager, it doesn't exist. It's just not a realistic expectation. So I think if anything, the challenges are still a little political. There are some data vendors out there that are still a little more difficult with their end clients about what they're allowed to do with the data, can you do analytics or only display it? Can you do descriptive and declarative analytics? Or can you also put into a machine learning platform? I think we're evolving there because it's a new world for a lot of these data vendors that their advantage used to be being able to guard that data such that you can only use it in a very limited manner and they made a lot of money on that.

Today, that advantage is not very important anymore. Clients are demanding data be delivered in multiple different manners, and formats, and they want to be able to connect that data to multiple other data sets, and they want to be able to extract meaningful analytics in ways that they might not be allowed to do today. So again, I don't want to make it sound like that's huge because it's changing really fast. I mean, two years ago, we had zero data partners today, we're more than 50 right? So it's obviously changing fast and the most important data partners in the industry are there. But it's still there's still some notable holdouts that I'd love to see in that ecosystem. They're not there quite yet.

 

Louisa 

Well, we we've got a long way to go but we're on our way. How did your partnership between your two businesses come about? Thomas do and tell us about that whole journey.

 

Thomas 

Yes, like the how Cherre and Unacast fits together, it's pretty strong actually because if you think about this is what L.D. said in the beginning, like our focus is on understanding how people move around on the planet, mobility data, that's where we are experts. But some companies say, hey, I want to take the mobility data, I know exactly how to use it, I have the use case word and we support them. But as L.D. said also, initially in many cases there might be a real estate developer that are looking to merge multiple data sets, like mobility data, POI data, and maybe some housing data etc. And that's where it fits very well to work together with Cherre because they can access all those datasets including Unacast very easily. So it goes a bit back to kind of the questions that you just asked LD, what are some of the limitations? And I think that's what Unacast and Cherre are addressing together, because the limitations in my view is mainly about adoption and accessibility. And that's on us as companies and industry to make sure that as many clients, as many people can get access to this valid valuable data very seamlessly, and that's literally why we love working with Cherre because they just make it so much easier for people to work with Unacast.

 

Louisa 

Our listeners completely vary around the world, who are you looking for partnerships with? We will tell them at the end how to get in contact with you, what does Unacast and what does Cherrie look for?

 

L.D. 

Yeah, sure. Just maybe to add to your previous question, the way our partnership started is almost the same as all of our partnerships start, some client has a need for some type of data, and we look for the best in class solution for that type of problem they're looking for. And being able to identify trends is a massive use case, right? And we can talk just about what trends means for literally a whole podcast. But generally people are trying to figure out where are people going, where are they moving to? What are the things that they're buying? What's changing in their patterns, right? And census data is every 5/10 years, if we even have a census this year, we'll see that data is also not the best and most accurate data, because it has its own limitations. So be able to take very, very specific from a location standpoint data be able to track where people moving from, where are they moving to, and be able to correlate that with other types of things that I know. So if I look the last year, especially in COVID, obviously I look at the last five, six months I see, okay, there's been a massive movement of people into X, what has happened? What has changed? What are the patterns that have changed? Is that pattern, something that we're observing across the US? Or is it only in certain types of asset classes and cities? Once I understand that, can I now extrapolate and say, Okay, here's another place where we expect that same pattern to happen. Let's wait and see, we can confirm that happens.

Now we understand that we can have some kind of predicting predictive power in certain types of trends. So that's very, very meaningful. And most of our partnerships will be that we'll reach out to best in class data providers, as needed by our clients. Sometimes clients will name it by name, like Unacast will say, I want that one. Sometimes they'll say we want best in class providers that can be that as well. But most of our data partners will start with that. That being said, we highly encourage anyone who has a really great data set, whether it's a very local data set very, very deep, or maybe not as deep but very, very broad, if it's a meaningful data set, even if you're not entirely sure how it would fit in the Real Estate world we'd love to talk and see if it's something we can maybe offer our clients and potentially add that to our ecosystem. So definitely welcome you to reach out. I'm LD@Cherre.com but you can just reach out to our website and fill out a form and someone will get back to you really quickly and see if I can get you on board.

 

Louisa 

You make it sound so easy! And Thomas would love to hear from you as well.

 

Thomas 

Yes, like I say if you're in the real estate space, if you're a commercial real estate developer, if you have tenants, if you're developing retail assets, then we'd love to kind of help you see how right now understand how COVID-19 is impacting you. We have multiple data sets that allows us to answer a wide range of questions. And that's usually kind of what's important because everybody has some intricate or different things that they want to figure out to improve their business. We'd love to show you some of the data sets that we have. I mentioned neighbourhood activity migration patterns and you can always reach me at Thomas@Unacast.com.

 

Louisa 

Awesome. Look guys, we've spoken a lot about data. Okay, so if you weren't in the data space okay, what other industries would you both look into or what other career path would you have pursued? L.D. you can kick start.

 

L.D. 

So, I've always been around data in some way throughout my career path, different industries maybe but it's really just a question of collecting data and making it more meaningful. If I wasn't doing this, I'd probably be building buildings. Real estate is a huge passion of mine. In my dreams, I'm building buildings, real ones not data buildings. Maybe one day but in the meantime, I really enjoy the data side of it.

 

Louisa 

And Thomas what about you? You cover different verticals, would you be in one of those? Or would you pursue something different?

 

Thomas 

It's interesting I have a kind of similar path as L.D, like I actually discussed this with my wife this weekend and said hey, what if we did a career shift? What would that that be? For me it would be to become an architect, I’d love to see like the visual come to life or how to build beautiful buildings. So maybe L.D, one day we will team up together I will draw them, and you will build them.

 

Louisa 

A little JV. Unfortunately guys, this brings us to the end of the show, and Thomas and L.D. have both and shared how to get in contact with them. But L.D. and Thomas you want to also say hello but how to get in contact with your company as well as the listeners and can connect with you?

 

L.D. 

Sure, our website is www.cherre.com pronounced like the fruit. Just go there, fill out a form we're always available otherwise just shoot me an email directly LD@cherre.com, we answer really quickly.

 

Thomas 

Yes and for us go to www.Unacast.com  I'll recommend that you have a look at the dashboards we have there. They're pretty cool, like seeing how foot traffic is changing across the US, how people have fled New York and migrated to other parts of the country. And if you're in real estate or in retail, leave us a note and I will get in touch with you shortly.

 

Louisa 

Awesome. Well like and thank you both for joining us on the Propcast. And I hope you'll have a good week.

 

L.D. and Thomas

Thank you.

 

Louisa

Thank you for joining us this week on the Propcast and a big thanks to our special guests. Make sure you visit our website www.lmre.co.uk  where you can subscribe to our show, or you'll find us on iTunes and Spotify where all good content is found. While you're at it, if you found value in the show, we'd appreciate people rate and review us on iTunes. Or if you simply spread the word. Be sure to tune in next Tuesday, and I'll catch you later.

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