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GeoSpock showcases rapid expansion with data insights

GeoSpock office open day at St Andrews House saw luminaries including Sir Michael Marshall and Hermann Hauser. Picture: Keith Heppell
GeoSpock office open day at St Andrews House saw luminaries including Sir Michael Marshall and Hermann Hauser. Picture: Keith Heppell

New ‘£15-20million’ finance round and global development on way

GeoSpock CEO Richard Baker . Picture: Keith Heppell
GeoSpock CEO Richard Baker . Picture: Keith Heppell

GeoSpock’s open day last Thursday coincided with a number of significant developments including a new finance round, the opening of a new office in London, a recruitment drive and an indication that discussions with Ordnance Survey are progressing.

The day comprised an office tour of the expanded premises at St Andrew’s House followed by presentations from GeoSpock executives highlighting the progress of the firm’s expertise in generating new insights from vast data sets.

CEO Richard Baker and founder/CTO Steve Marsh were on hand to outline developments, including the investment round which will close in “late September or early October”.

“It’s the start of the next investment round on Monday,” said Baker of this week’s schedule.

Big data: vast new sector needs insights
Big data: vast new sector needs insights

“We’re looking at £15-20million: it’s an extreme ramp-up for the future. What we’ve got is outpacing everything that’s emerging from Silicon Valley and we now need to find our marketing voice and tell the world what we’re doing – we need to go for it. It’s no surprise we’re thinking internationally – we will have our first office overseas in Singapore open by September and our London office opened in June, with Allen in charge.”

Allen Dickson started his role as chief commercial officer (CCO) earlier in June.

“GeoSpock is at the cutting edge of an explosion in the data market,” said Dickson, “and I am delighted to join the senior leadership team at this critical time for the geospatial industry. With GeoSpock leading the way, extreme-scale data visualisation at sub-second response time is now a reality, allowing businesses to harness valuable insights. I am looking forward to driving existing EMEA operations and supporting GeoSpock’s global expansion.”

Cambridge Innovation Capital, ParkWalk and Global Brain have already chipped in on two previous investment rounds, in 2015 and last year, bringing the Series A investment pot so far to $13.6million. Sir Michael Marshall is also an investor. Japanese strategic investors 31 Ventures, along with Global Brain, have also participated. Hermann Hauser, who was at the open day, is watching closely.

What the fuss is all about was made succinct by Dr Marsh at the previous day’s CW International Conference.

“GeoSpock is creating an operating system for the physical world,” Dr Marsh told the conference. “There’s a need to process data, to navigate bureaucracy – there’s so much wasted and duplicated effort. Data can be repurposed and repackaged for free – it’s the insights that GeoSpock focuses on. Data is siloed and we need to bridge those silos to get the most out of it. We can give contextual advice as it’s needed and make sure the entire network is functioning at optimum efficiency. We can reduce the running costs over time. When it comes to smart data, context is king and location is the king of context.”

One of the presentations at St Andrew’s House further clarified the GeoSpock contribution to smart cities. Lead data scientist Félix Sanchez-Garcia considered data sets arising from city life in a smart era.

“The data sets could be the number of Santander bikes on the roads, or road accidents in London. Or bicycle accidents in London, based on severity. Were any caught by speed cameras? How about when it’s raining – then we can see two or three hotspots, so maybe the infrastructure needs upgrading, or someone needs to get out to the hotspot to assess what’s going on... Next up you could look at antisocial behaviour in, say, Cambridge. And 9 per cent of such incidents are related to bicycle theft in the city – people go crazy when their bike is stolen!

“Using GeoSpock, you can build a very powerful framework for analysing city data. For instance, pollution and traffic in Cambridge are very related: the most pollution is where the main roads are. Fortunately we have plate recognition data for any seven-day period so the vehicle count shows the morning peaks, and the weekend peaks. And we start monitoring wind speeds, and air pressure, and the question is: how can we change traffic to reduce pollution levels?”

The cross-analysis required is built into the software and could be of use for the 22 smart city projects currently active in the UK.

Sanchez-Garcia added: “On February 16 ,the parking in Cambridge was very good. Why? That was the day of a snowstorm. And August 22 was also good for traffic – it was a bank holiday.”

“There is no shortage of people who love our story,” says Dickson to guests. “People using our location capabilities are really coming to the fore: it’s of strategic interest for the smart city concept. We have good engagement with Singapore and Hong Kong, so it’s international. We’re also having strategic discussions with Ordnance Survey.”

GeoSpock is on a phenomenal growth curve. At the start of the year it had 28 people on board, there’s 40 now, there will be 60 by the end of the year, 100 by June 2019 and potentially 150 by the end of next year.

“Our patience has paid off,” says Dr Marsh of progress this year. GeoSpock is developing with great assurance every day: just yesterday (July 10) the firm announced a partnership with London-based Tamoco, who operate the world’s largest proximity network.

“The Silicon Valley gap is that their technology is pretty average, but the marketing is incredible,” says Dr Marsh. “In Cambridge we have rock solid technology, but we’re not so good at marketing.”

Quite apart from the other milestones it is leaving in the rear mirror, GeoSpock is tackling the Cambridge gap head-on too.

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