A business supported by Innovate UK is making the search for homes, jobs and leisure more human for customers of major online businesses
Business customers gain from new search engine
Digital business iGeolise is challenging traditional distance-based online location searches and winning over blue-chip customers with its focus on travel time.
Its TravelTime platform plugs into the consumer-facing websites of clients including Countrywide, Zoopla, JobSite and OpenTable and allows their customers to return instant searches by travel time and transport mode.
Countrywide and Zoopla have seen three times as many customers clicking through to property listings as they would expect on a purely distance-based search.
iGeolise was started by Peter Lilley and Charlie Davies in 2009 and was first based in the loft of Peter’s house. It moved to incubator space at the University of Surrey before taking on its new home in City Road, London.
iGeolise growing through its sales revenue
The business now employs 17 and is looking to grow as more customers sign up for its software service. It has had small amounts of investment cash but has concentrated on growing the business through sales revenue.
What our software does is enable the searching of maps by time instead of distance. Before our technology was launched the only searching you could do was: what can I do within one mile, two miles, three miles and so on.
That’s a really useless way of searching because humans do not live their lives in straight lines.
We can tell that, although something is ten miles away, it could be an hour-and-a-half away, while something 12 miles away could be only 45 minutes away. Knowing all the intricacies of life, we can improve the relevancy of any search.
Major clients attracted by time-based search
iGeolise software is also being adopted by companies such as Pitney Bowes and Javelin Retail Group, which are using it for business and marketing analysis including working out realistic footfalls for potential developments.
Other customers have included Oxfordshire County Council, the Greater London Authority, the Guardian Media Group, and Talk Talk, which have all found travel time useful for various analyses.
The company is starting to see successful results in the jobs market and believes the same time-based search will bring advantages in a range of other areas including restaurants, hotels, shops, events and dating.
TravelTime has also been shown to work well in other countries and is already in use in the US, France, Thailand, Switzerland, Australia, Spain and the Netherlands.
Grant was key to securing first customer
iGeolise won an Innovate UK award in 2012 that allowed it to add UK public transport timetables and US public transport timetables into its system.
It won two SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) contracts in 2013 and 2014 under the umbrella of ‘future cities’ and ‘re-imagining the High Street’.
SBRI enabled it to improve the TravelTime platform so that users could search by multiple modes of transport in one go and get data on fares and CO2 use.
If we hadn’t had that first grant, we wouldn’t have public timetables in our system and we wouldn’t have got our first customer Countrywide. Without the first client we wouldn’t have got the second one Zoopla, or the third one Open Table, or all of the ones that came afterwards.
We wanted to build a business that could stand on its own two feet. The grant from Innovate UK got us there. It got us a product that customers would pay for. It was fundamentally important. We live now on commercial revenues.