By: Lloyed Lobo
Calgary-based startup Cube Cities is taking 3D visualization to an interesting level of interactivity by combining the experience of Google Earth with commercial real estate data to allow prospective tenants, brokers, owners, investors, appraisers and anyone else interested, to experience and understand buildings in a whole new way.
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Whether you’re looking for the perfect office space or high-rise condo in the city, Cube Cities’ search results “fly you there” in 3D and “light up” the actual windows in the buildings where those things are located. With one click, you’re inside that space, looking at the view, virtual tour or speaking with an agent.
Cube Cities can also dynamically illustrate any kind of market, building or tenant information across an entire city, like lease rates, occupancy data or energy consumption, and show animated changes over time, providing “at a glance” answers to otherwise incomprehensible tables of data.
The only remaining step seems to be a button to begin the leasing process!
We recently caught up with the Founder and CEO, Greg Angevine to learn more.
How did you come up with the idea for your startup? Was there an “ah-ha” moment?
A couple of years ago I worked on creating similar visual city search tools to show office space manually. Seeing the benefit of our technology was easy, but creating an automated platform that would scale globally was not only difficult, but also the real opportunity.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Being able to ingest any kind of information, for any city in the world, with any building type is a challenge only multi-billion dollar portals and mapping organizations tackle… we did it with 2 guys.
Also, trying to roll out our system across different industries in hundreds of cities around the world requires the right national and local partners with the listing data. We’re looking for those partners now, and the first movers will be rewarded with market domination as people refuse to accept the old flat maps going forward.
Are there any key individuals outside of your organization that have been of great help to your startup?
Jim Young, CEO of Realcomm, realized early on the impact of our solution to commercial real estate and supported us with positive reviews, and accelerated our awareness in that industry.
What’s new with your startup that we can share?
We’ve recently had significant positive movement on our patents. Also, Dave Lorenzini, who helped start Keyhole, Inc. (which is now Google Earth), is joining us as VP Business Development.
Personally, do you think it is more difficult to raise capital or find the right talent?
In our experience, raising capital has been easier than finding the right people for web and mass market product development in Calgary.
What has contributed to your success to this point?
Nailing down a full featured system from the start allowed us to partner with an industry powerhouse like Altus InSite, enabling us to register thousands of listings across Canada in a matter of weeks. This helped us build things right, at scale, from the start.
What made you choose to go down the path of entrepreneurship?
Realizing a unique ability to solve a real market problem. The utility of “actionable” 3D information was too powerful to ignore. Google, Apple and Microsoft’s 3D maps are good for sightseeing, but Cube Cities has been designed to focus on transactions.
What are your thoughts on Calgary’s startup community?
Pros: organized startup community (lots of events, mixed with academic and government groups), well-capitalized (entrepreneurial city), very active commercial real estate market, and new public transportation infrastructure with more coming.
Cons: lack of co-working spaces with high walkability, local IT expertise is energy focused, small local consumer market for mass-market Internet products, and limited local population of web developers.
What’s your ask right now?
We would like to talk to commercial and residential real estate brokers and listing data providers like MLS, municipal and national organizations. We’re also looking to round out our team with senior developers who can handle mobile or back end data manipulation. If you’re interested, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lloyed Lobo covers Calgary’s tech startup community. He is a Partner at Boast Capital and the VP of Community Evangelism at Startup Calgary.
This interview was originally published by Startup Calgary, a non-profit organization focused on cultivating the tech startup community in Calgary. For more information, visit startupcalgary.ca.
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