Searchland, a UK-based land sourcing automation startup focused on freeing up land resources for new UK housing, has raised £2.3 million of seed funds led by Fuel Ventures to help enhance its automation datasets.
The UK has a smaller landmass than either France (with a slightly smaller population,) or Germany (with 10 million or so more people).
A paucity of development sites in greenfield areas that aren't covered by planning laws has helped fuel housing shortages, both in terms of property buying but also finding affordable renting.
Searchland's lead pioneer, 26-year-old Mitchell Fasanya, previously co-founded the social media and influencer marketing agency Fanbytes, and achieved his first exit in April with the sale of that business to Brainlabs.
Now joined by land planner Hugh Gibbs, data scientist Arthur Goodhart and computer scientist Archie Kennedy-Dyson, Fasanya wants to tackle the UK's housing crisis head on with his latest venture, contributing to the supply of new homes.
The press announcement says property developers currently must juggle over "thirty data resources" to evaluate a building site, and that's before considering the variables involved with the site's acquisition and producing the cost estimates for the building design and its fabrication.
With its AI platform, Searchland claims to have built a "rich mosaic" of UK property insights that immediately helps property developers find places that meet their criteria. Key parameters include how much land in the area remains undeveloped, as well as the height of existing buildings, planning history and ownership rights.
The business graduated from the Geovation accelerator programme as part of the spring '21 cohort. Geovation is a proptech-specific UK accelerator that has support from the national land registry and ordinance survey.
Mitchell Fasanya commented: "Having tried to find a site of my own to build on, I discovered there was very considerable friction in the land sourcing process.
"The property industry is rich in data but it wasn’t being leveraged effectively and developers were having to trawl through a myriad of clunky databases to track down the information they needed.
"While modern digital tools had emerged they failed to eradicate the industry’s antiquated processes and were prohibitively expensive for the majority of developers.”
Mark Pearson, founding and managing partner at Fuel Ventures, added: "Searchland has created a very powerful and highly scalable product that is set to become the industry standard for land sourcing thanks to its customer-driven approach and pace of innovation.
"We were very impressed by the team and were keen to lead the current round with a significant ticket.”