While building LandFund, we spoke to a lot of people within the industry – developers of all sizes, mainstream lenders, crowdfunders, solo investors… you name it.
And the same issue came up time and again.
When it comes to development (and finance in particular) how can we get everyone sharing the right information, and speaking the same language?
So we got to thinking… imagine if we could build a simple way for developers to collect all the necessary information together, a way to easily crunch all the numbers, and a way to give lenders everything they need. All in one place.
And so LandFund was born.
When it started to take shape, we had a lot of discussions around how much to charge, and even how to charge. Monthly subscription? Per appraisal? Per export?
But then we had an idea.
What if we… didn’t charge?
Why we made LandFund free
The more LandFund grew, the more important we realised it could be.
And the more important we realised it could be, the more we really just wanted to open it up to everyone.
If we charged, we could help a few thousand developers to complete their appraisals faster. But if we left it free? We could help many, many more.
It means more would-be developers could dip their toe into the property industry.It means more lenders giving the green light to more projects, because they trust the numbers.
It means more houses, more first-time buyers fulfilling their dream of getting on the property ladder and all that.
It felt like a pretty easy choice in the end.
If it’s free, what’s in it for us?
Don’t get me wrong, altruism is great and all, but we’re a business. Inside my chest beats the heart of a seasoned salesperson.
This is still a business play. It’s just a long-term business play.
We don’t want to make a quick few quid. We want something bigger…
1) We want LandFund to become the industry standard
The value of LandFund comes from people using it.
Developers recognise how simple and effective it is to use on their side as they input the numbers and get an accurate insight into the viability of their project.
Lenders recognise how simple and effective it is to use on their side as they spot a LandFund-completed appraisal and know that as a sign of quality, meaning their approval process (and life) is about to be a whole lot easier.
If we charge, fewer people will use it. But we want as many people using it as possible.
It’s as simple as that.
2) We want to add real value later in the process
The development appraisals in LandFund are free, and we have no plans to change that.
What if, instead of monetising the appraisals, we can add more value later and earn money then?
For instance, what if we could use real time data to help developers understand and mitigate risk by giving a clearer idea of build costs, GDVs and sales rates?
Or, if we introduced lenders directly to developers, and earned our fee when the deals actually happen? When value has already been delivered.
Developers get a free appraisal platform, access to the most lenders, competitive rates, a place to collaborate. Lenders get access to great developers with better projects. We get a small intro fee.
There are better (and frankly, potentially more profitable) ways for us to earn a few beyond just whacking a price tag on the appraisals.
3) And, yes, we want to show off the value of everything else we do
Oliver is leading the charge on the next LandTech product, looking into the world of development finance. He loves an adventure – he once bought a 1970s camper van to travel around Australia, and bought a boat off eBay to teach himself sailing. His family home is in one of the most notorious crop circle hotspots in the world (though he claims to know nothing about them).