So who are the brains and inspiration behind Orbitance? Time for a Q&A with Geoff & Jon:
What was the inspiration?
Geoff: I was a photographer for 20 years. When I saw the Matterport camera I knew this was a new way to see the old familiar.
Jon: We were beginning to source properties for other people through our property development company and had started to create short videos to showcase to investors. Video is fine, but when Geoff came across Matterport, we saw an opportunity to really change the property buying experience for clients.
When did you start working together?
G: We met at a property networking seminar.
J: We created our property development company back in August 2016, but having met at a property networking event in late 2015, we soon realised we had a complimentary set of skills to work together.
How will you juggle both companies?
G: Jon has a calm and level-headed approach. He is the steady hand on the tiller. He is the perfect foil for my scattergun approach.
J: One aspect of property development is there is a great deal of time spent “waiting” on others, such as solicitors! Orbitance will complement our existing business and we are looking forward to the challenge.
Why do you work so well together?
G: I have worked for myself as well as for large organisations. Neither suited me as well as this partnership. Working with Jon allows me the freedom to think creatively knowing I have the support when the going gets rough.
J: We genuinely get on well and the fact that our backgrounds are so different really makes our business succeed. My civil engineering background provides us with the essential project planning and financial skills, whereas Geoff’s professional photography background provides us with the creativity, care of detail and people skills. The mix of skills really works together.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
G: Getting my license to fly my drone commercially…. I’m still trying!!!
J: For me the biggest challenge has been the upfront costs involved with starting a new company and the time it has taken to get everything set up. We really want to launch the company while the weather is still kind to us!
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
G: Touring the music capitals of the USA; Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Seattle, in a red 56 Chevrolet 210 Belair Coupe V8 Hot Rod (knowing Jon has everything under control back home!).
J: I would hope we could expand the business within the next few years to ensure that the way property is sold in the future is completely revolutionised. Within 5 years, I would expect everyone be able to virtually walk around a property from the comfort of their own home.
Why 360 VR?
G: First there was photography, then came film. This is the 360 era. Photography and film allow you to see what is presented to you. 360 allows you the choice to look wherever you want to.
J: There is so much time wasted going on viewings with potential buyers who cannot get a full grasp of a property with photos alone. With our 360 degree virtual reality technology, you can fully appreciate the property without the need to spend ages traipsing around home after home. For estate agents, someone who books a viewing after walking around virtually are a much more qualified prospective buyer.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
G: Deborah Meaden (Dragons Den). She exudes confidence and experience with a great sense of fun.
J: Having been a lifelong Manchester United fan, I would have to say Sir Alex Ferguson. His dedication to the team, bringing success whenever failure looked possible, his determination to succeed and a winning mentality are all qualities which would make him a great collaborator.
What’s been the hardest part/made you most nervous about the launch?
G: The waiting…I’m impossibly impatient!
J: We know the technology works so the hardest part is explaining the concept to potential customers. There has been a lower quality 3D tour on the market for a while now so we need to highlight the enormous benefits that our superior technology brings. Once we show the results of our work we haven’t found anyone who hasn’t been impressed.
Who’s home would you like to scan with Orbitance?
G: I have photographed Lord Bath’s home at Longleat. His art covers the walls of his bedroom. They are rude beyond description.
J: The Queen. Our scan would provide an extraordinary visual experience of Buckingham Palace!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a second business?
G: Welcome on board! Choose a business partner who compliments your strengths and supports your weaknesses. We chose two businesses with two different speeds: property moves in fits and starts – Orbitance moves like lightning. Don’t listen to the fear. Whatever happens, you will be the stronger for it.
J: Planning and market research are essential. Don’t be afraid to get outside help to complement your own skill set and be prepared to spend some upfront capital. Apart from that, go for it!
If you could have a third director who would it be?
G: Deborah Meaden (Dragons Den)
J: That’s a good question but I think I would stick to two so that I couldn’t be outvoted on important business decisions, such as where we are going for a working lunch!
What’s the best/worst thing about working with Geoff/Jon?
G: Best thing about Jon; he laughs at my jokes. Worst thing about Jon: he pretends to laugh at my jokes.
J: We can still have a good laugh together whilst working hard on our businesses. Meetings are always good fun and we make sure we fit in a café stop! The worse thing is his fascination with Donald Trump, although that that does offer up some funny and interesting debates…
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
G: Dougal from Father Ted or Phil Dunphy from Modern Family
J: Kevin Spacey, for no other reason than I think he is an excellent actor, although we do have similar receding hairlines…
Who has the nicest house?
J: Definitely Geoff, although my flat is in a nice part of Bristol!
G: Donald has! Mar-a- Lago
What will your next company be?
G: I was a therapist for almost ten years. I would like to somehow start a business that combines practical skills and therapeutic intervention to help people change their lives.
J: I have always been keen on new technology so let’s see what new developments there are in the future.