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Building Radar

European Space Agency award for company co-founded by Cambridge Judge PGDE alumnus that uses satellite technology to track building projects.

Building Radar

Building Radar, a Munich-based company that uses satellite technology to help track building projects around the world, has been awarded a 50,000 euro incentive at ESA BIC Bavaria, an incubation programme operated by company AZO on behalf of the European Space Agency that boosts the commercial use of space technology and infrastructure.

The ESA award marks the third recent honours for Building Radar: the company was accepted on a Google programme that provides about $100,000 worth of cloud-based server time and technological support, and it received a 15,000 euro award from ImmobilienScout24, an online property-search company.

Leopold Neuerburg

Leopold Neuerburg

The company was co-founded by Leopold Neuerburg, who studied on the Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship (PGDE) at Cambridge Judge Business School.

When it comes to selling property, the three biggest factors may be location, location, location. However, for companies seeking business from building projects, the key is often timing, timing, timing – in order to pitch products and services at precisely the right moment.

So Building Radar’s satellite-based search algorithm helps pinpoint the stage of completion of construction projects around the world.

Neuerburg, 25, a native of Aachen, Germany says:

Building projects often take longer than planned, but satellite images help us identify the exact phase without relying on publicly available information, which is often delayed.

“If you’re a manufacturer of office furniture like tables and chairs, you want to know when the interiors are being finished or just about finished, because that’s the time to pitch your products.”

Pitches that arrive too early are often forgotten amid all the other details of a construction project, and too-late pitches are of course futile, “so the key is to pitch at exactly the right time,” he says.

The company’s algorithms automatically detect, add and update thousands of new construction projects on a daily basis, and then lists them by neighbourhood. The company identifies the current construction phase – using terms like “Green Land,” “Ground Works,” “Topped-Out” and “Fitting Out” – and can recognise when projects are not proceeding according to plan. Satellite imagery helps verify information developed through various other online sources.

Building Radar launched last year and currently has nine employees, and has so far signed up such clients as Viessmann, a heating and refrigeration company, and Vitra, an office-furniture company.

Building Radar “enables us to easily browse and find early-stage construction projects,” says Raphael Gielgen, Head of Research & Solution at A&M Management, Vitra. “We now know all construction sites in Europe to boost our sales.” He adds that “Building Radar’s satellite imaging feature is a game changer; it allows our sales team to look at the construction site from their desks, instead of driving there by car.”

Neuerburg, who studied for the PGDE in 2013-14, says the market to supply building projects is global and enormous. He says the PGDE programme especially helped him set up the structure of the company, with financial modelling and in establishing a human relations system.

The Google tech support already has provided useful advice on user interface, says Neuerburg, who formerly interned at Google, helping Building Radar reduce to three (from five or six) the number of clicks most users need to get the information they require. The award from ImmobilienScout24, which operates in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, includes mentoring, the use of office space in Berlin and advice on recruiting new engineers.

“Our goal in five years is to know everything about any building project globally,” says Neuerburg. “This type of information is really valuable to companies that supply to building projects, because these companies don’t wait for their customers to call them and really need up-to-date information.”