The Utrecht-based start-up Perfect Place creates environmental analyses for large-scale organizations. Such as real estate parties, but also healthcare institutions. They reveal the best places to relocate to via data that shows, among other things, how many general practitioners are or how many supermarkets there are in a particular neighbourhood. Or what the level of education of the local residents is and whether there are a lot of families living there. According to co-founder Anton Los of Perfect Place, insights can also be provided into the type of visitors to certain neighbourhoods based on anonymous data purchased from apps.

Founders Johan Westerbeek and Anton Los of Perfect Place Photo: Perfect Place

Why did you start Perfect Place?

“As an independent entrepreneur, I realized strategies for real estate on behalf of various organizations. I noticed that data had begun to play an increasingly important role in this. There was an increasing need for data-driven decisions re real estate. But I couldn’t find a platform that would bring the right data together in a proper way. So finding that came down to hands-on work every time. It wasn’t doable, to be honest. I got things from all over the place. I searched for data via Google, via the CBS (Central Bureau for Statistics Netherlands) and other open data sources.

Then I dropped by Johan Westerbeke, who I used to work with at Woonzorg Nederland [a housing corporation, ed.] In the meantime, he’d also become an independent consultant. So, in order to find a good solution we jointly sought out a number of partners who we could work with. Such as Esri [a company working on mapping software, ed.] This is how we built the digital platform for Perfect Place.

What has been the main obstacle that you’ve come up against?

“Finding the right databases and converting these into information.”

What precisely was the problem?

“If you want to find a database for general practitioners per location, for example, it turns out that there is no such thing as a proper database. Some data is outdated, others are incomplete. Then you need four of those databases that you’ve collected with web scraping or through other ways in order to produce one good database. We’ve now automated that process. But to get that process done in such a way that you can use those databases to create reliable analyses and presentations for companies? That’s where we got it wrong. We thought: we can handle that, no problem. That can all be found somewhere. We thought we would manage to get it done within six months.”

How long did it take?

“We first spent six months building a system that we had to throw away in the end. After that we started all over again, so now we’ve got it right. Companies can subscribe to our digital platform and receive a login account. That took about a year and a half all in all”.

What has been the biggest breakthrough so far?

“We’ve been able to help a number of customers and those customers have come back to us. That was a breakthrough. But the really big breakthrough in our business operations is that we’ve got our data processing up and running so well that we can also make use of machine learning. Based on this, we have developed a code breaker for various types of markets that enables us to very quickly analyze in detail which locations in The Netherlands meet the specified search criteria of a particular customer. Imagine, for example, that you have a healthcare organisation that is looking for housing in the more expensive segment. In that case, we could use our demographic data and information on locations, for example, to determine where healthcare institutions want to be situated.”

Such as around the corner from a golf course because wealthy seniors looking for a care home often have that as a hobby?

“As an example, yes. Our platform is now so flexible that we have a specific formula for every situation. That’s only possible if you actually have your data properly up to date.”

What can we expect from Perfect Place in the future?

“We hope that we can extend our services to other areas in the real estate sector, but also to areas where we don’t have any insight into at all at the moment. You can apply our data and analysis to all sorts of areas in order to find a well-considered option for a location. Ultimately, we hope to be able to provide the ‘perfect place’ for everything.”

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