The guiding principles and overarching mission of Local Logic mirror the journey of the company’s CEO and co-founder Vincent-Charles Hodder.
Growing up in a real estate family, Vincent dreamed of being a developer as early as age 10. This goal drove him into a finance education, but this is where his path diverged. Looking for a better understanding of the built world to differentiate himself in the finance field, Vincent sought to expand his scope and enrolled to achieve his master’s at Montreal’s McGill University studying urban planning.
This is the “aha moment”. At McGill, Vincent met a group of like-minded peers, all seeking the same understanding, and collectively they were all asking a similar question: how can cities be built better?
“We were all really passionate about trying to understand and optimize how cities are built,” Vincent says.
Two of these peers, Gabriel Damant-Sirois and Colin Stewart, would become co-founders in a venture that aspired to gather the insights needed to quantify the built world and use those insights to inform better decisions in how cities are developed.
The Early Days of Local Logic
“There were some really sophisticated, smart people making totally unsophisticated decisions as to how they were deploying hundreds of millions of dollars into real estate assets,” Vincent says.
While still at McGill, Vincent and Gabriel founded a real estate consultancy company, and even though they were still in school managed to work with some marquee names in real estate. They also quickly came to a realization about how the development world worked.
Many developers were making decisions largely on intuition and gut feeling, without having the objective data to effectively quantify and justify their investments from a risk-reward standpoint. And it wasn’t because of any fault of the developers; this level of data-driven insight simply didn’t exist yet. What’s more, the decisions these developers were making could be downright irresponsible from an urban planning standpoint.
“We felt that these developers or large asset managers couldn’t understand the impacts of their decisions on the built world and on the livability, the wellness, the affordability, or the sustainability of the neighborhoods that they were contributing to build, because the complexity of these decisions’ impacts wasn’t presented in an understandable way,” he says.
It’s out of this experience that Local Logic’s mission was formed. By providing objective, quantifiable data, and metrics, developers could optimize and improve the decisions they were making and better understand the effect they have on the cities they’re a part of.
Quantifying the Built World
The Local Logic team arrived at their mission at a fortuitous time. Not only was the market in need of this level of insight, but more and more data was becoming available on cities.
What makes the Local Logic approach to quantifying the built world so unique is how granular the level of insight is. Rather than looking at broad neighborhood or citywide statistics, the company decided to combine available datasets and proprietary algorithms to develop insights on an address level.
“We believed that it was now possible to really quantify the experiences—the vibe—of places,” Vincent says. “If you stand outside your apartment today, you intuitively understand what it’s like to be there. You take in thousands of data points through your eyes and your ears and your different senses to make sense of that place. Essentially, we’re saying, ‘We can do this through data.’”
Still based in Montreal, the team began applying this data-first approach to every address in the city. Once that first major hurdle was completed—over the course of two years—they expanded the project to the ten largest cities in Canada, which they managed over the next year.
The project scaled faster than the team could have imagined. With the largest cities in Canada quantified, again on an address-by-address level, Local Logic turned its sights to the US. They went in with a plan to map 100 cities in 12 months and wound up mapping 1,000 cities in six months.
Today the company has total coverage of both the US and Canada; which represents over 250 million addresses.
Putting These Data Insights to Work
Armed with all of these insights, Local Logic’s journey was a bit circuitous. Initially, the company licensed their data to large real estate brokers who could then offer a better experience for home buyers.
These insights provided those in the market for a home a better idea of the types of neighborhoods and properties that fulfilled their search criteria, which in turn improved the home buying experience and increased engagement and conversion. For example, homebuyers that used Local Logic solutions looked for properties within a 50% larger search radius. Homebuyers were also 36% more likely to contact an agent when Local Logic solutions were present on a listing page compared to a standard map interface.
But data inputs feed even greater insights. Based on the existing data insights as well as the way home buyers were engaging with Local Logic’s data, the team realized that these insights could be used beyond the consumer level; they could be used to help commercial real estate make better decisions about what they build, where they build it, and how those choices will impact the neighborhood.
Now, with dozens of the major names in commercial real estate leveraging Local Logic’s data and a 202% year-over-year API usage growth, the insights are beginning to inform real-world choices developers are making across a number of use cases.
Looking to the Future
In the end, Local Logic is left with two powerful things: a mission of making cities more liveable and sustainable, and the insights stakeholders need to act on those initiatives. In the same way the company’s journey as a B2B2C enterprise brought them influence in how developers make their decisions, Local Logic is only beginning to scratch the surface of the utility of this data.
“Ultimately, we want to work with governments, we want to work with transportation and mobility companies to really have an impact on how cities are planned from a policy point of view to make sure that we’re putting in place the right policies to incentivize the development of cities that are going to be more sustainable,” Vincent says.
As environmental, social, and governance (ESG) decisions become tentpole issues for policy decision-makers, they too become guiding lights that inform the commercial real estate sector’s decisions to build as well as an individual home buyer’s decision to live in a particular area. By structuring these sustainability decisions around objective data that understands where a city or neighborhood is right now—as well as predictive data that helps determine where a neighborhood will be heading—every stakeholder in a city’s future can make informed choices that weigh the impact of development on the ecosystem of the built world.
As a company with this unprecedented level and depth of insight—and a unique team of urban planners and data scientists working in the real estate arena—Local Logic is poised to live up to the promise of their ambitious mission.
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