Global connections put the Viz into home business
A ground-breaking business set up via Skype calls between two former school friends living thousands of miles apart has received backing from Finance Yorkshire.
Kevin Hollinrake and Jeremy Ward, both 49, established property market intelligence company, Vizzihome, four years ago when Jeremy lived in Brisbane and Kevin was based in York.
Vizzihome is a large online database that collects data about properties that are being sold or let and now has over 200,000,000 records. The company then collates it into market research and then sells the information onto its customers who range from estate agents to insurance and utility companies.
The business doubled in size year on year and became such a success Jeremy moved back to his native York 18 months ago. Now Vizzihome has received a £100,000 Business Loan from Finance Yorkshire to help assist with its growth, develop its software and employ more staff.
Kevin said: “Jeremy and I have known each other since we attended Easingwold School in York when we were young.”
Their career paths took different turns as Kevin became an estate agent setting up Hunters Estate Agents and Jeremy went into IT and moved to Australia.
Kevin said the pair identified a gap in the property sector for strong market intelligence to enable estate agents to analyse their market share or identify home mover marketing opportunities
Kevin said: “We recognised estate agents needed information about their share of local housing transactions and it wasn’t easily available or up-to-date.
“The traditional way to gather this information was for people to walk down a street, counting and recording for sale and to let boards, but we developed a way to collect this information in an efficient way on a national scale and our information is gathered in real-time.”
Kevin said ‘the power of technology’ allowed him and Jeremy to communicate and run the Anglo-Australian business while Jeremy was living in Brisbane and it quickly took off.
He added: “Vizzihome provides business to business, market intelligence on home movers. It is non-personal data, we don’t record information on who lives there but simply that someone is moving home. It’s not about individuals it’s about the property.”
Jeremy said: “The business has been very successful because there is nobody else doing this. We invented our own unique system, It’s not just about getting the data it’s about how to make sense of it.
“We now have 200 major clients nationwide and we have expanded our data sales to businesses in other sectors like furnishings and insurance. We can also tell our customers, what their existing customers are doing and that they are on the move.
Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager, Jonathan Craig, said: “Vizzihome is a unique business that is growing very quickly - around 50 per cent per annum.
“We were happy to help a business that is reaching a national customer market and the money will help towards developing software that helps processes their 200,000,000 lines of data at the touch of a button.”
Kevin said: “Finance Yorkshire was very helpful in a time when funding for businesses is hard, even if like us you are a profitable business. The team ask a lot of questions obviously, but the process is not laborious.
“The funding has enabled us to recruit two extra people which will give us broader access to sales.
“The money will also help to develop our software so it’s even easier to target the right people.”
Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.
The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.
For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or ring 0845 649 0000.
Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire