13th March 2019

Geovation Spotlight @ Tech Wednesday / Innovation Birmingham

Joss Harris

A few weeks ago, we were kindly invited to bring a Geovation flavour to Innovation Birmingham’s regular Tech Wednesday meet-up.

Tech Wednesday’s have been running for a few years now, so the formula for the night works incredibly seamlessly. A brief introduction from the hosts is followed by three x ten-minute pitches from three start-ups, with an opportunity for Q&A from the audience in between each pitch.

On the day three Geovation start-ups presenting their business ventures to a packed room of investors, business leaders, start-ups and SMEs.

Clockwise from top left: Pia introducing the event; Toad; Podaris; and Skyscape

Pia van Antwerpen, Brand Experience Manager of Innovation Birmingham, provided a very warm welcome for Geovation. She highlighted some of the collaboration work that we’ve completed with Innovation Birmingham over the past eighteen months, including running workshops around Geo Data Visualisation and OS Zoomstack.

Our Head of Geovation, Alex Wrottesley, then provided useful background and context about Geovation. Alex explained how the initiative, now ten years old, aims to accelerate location and property innovation for OS & HMLR. He outlined how our initiative is particularly founder-friendly with an emphasis on championing entrepreneurship to be accessible to anyone, regardless of background.

Then it was show-time for the main event! The start-up presentations…

First up, was Skyscape.

Max – a senior Software developer at Geovation – quite valiantly – stepped in to deputise to pitch for the Skyscape team at the eleventh hour (thanks Max!), due to illness.

Max took us on a whistle-stop tour of the technologies and lean methodologies he brought to the table whilst developing Skyscape – a venture that seeks to unleash the vertical potential of our urban environment. The offering uses AI to analyse rooftops and identify opportunities to maximise utilisation and address urban challenges. Max’s presentation ended by highlighting the next steps – both technical and business, to be taken on their journey, where automation will be key in them expanding the coverage and functionality that the product currently offers.

Next up, George from Toad.ai took to the stage. Firstly, why is the business called Toad, we hear you ask? Well, Toad is an acronym (a very memorable/catchy one at that!) for his business – The Outdoor Advertising Directory.

George explained the problems and opportunities associated with the outdoor advertising markets both nationally here in GB and globally, and how he plans to use technology to provide more data-driven targeting for publishers and agencies alike, saving them time and money in the process. His offering maps the UK’s inventory of outdoor advertising spaces and overlays it with the audiences these sights have exposure to. This data driven approach informs advertisers what the best locations are to reach their target audiences. A great pitch that attracted many questions during Q&A.

Nathan from Podaris rounded off proceedings with his well-executed pitch. Supported by Geovation since 2016, Podaris is another business that seeks to save customers money and time in the area of urban planning and infrastructure development. Nathan cited the example of Crossrail and how it took 78 years from conception as an idea, through to the start of development operations. Well, Podaris is a real-time collaboration tool for planners, engineers, policymakers and public stakeholders alike – and seeks to weed-out the well-known inefficiencies that exist in this area. 2018 saw Podaris gain their first major customer based in the Silicon Valley, California and it looks like many more will follow soon.

After the presentations, the Geovation team and start-ups engaged with the audience during the networking. The new Geovation stickers were a popular hit – as was the entire night.

Thanks again to Innovation Birmingham for having us and watch this space for more collaboration news between Geovation and the team in Birmingham in the coming weeks.