Why we invested in Orbital Witness
Like the origins of many great ideas, Orbital Witness was born out of a conversation between two friends over a pint at their local pub. As the name Orbital Witness suggests (and yes there were a few curious looks when it appeared on Outward’s new deal agenda!) the original idea was to use space imagery data to resolve land and property disputes. Fast forward three years, add multiple iterations shaped by deep market research, co-founders Ed and Will are on track to build a platform that will completely revolutionise the way we buy, lend, and insure against property.
Orbital Witness is designed to be a central source of use throughout a real estate transaction, for all parties involved. In the early stages, the legal teams use it to uncover and report on risks relating to the asset in question – from titles and easements to listed charges and restrictions – cutting weeks off the due diligence process. Today, it is providing a system of intelligence across all participants and the wider market.
Zooming out, the future state of the platform will be to generate an instant universal risk rating for any real estate asset – think, an ‘Experian’ like credit score but for land or property. This will have a significant impact on the real estate market; for example in the UK £56bn worth of commercial real estate assets are traded on average with roughly 80,000 loans secured against these assets every year.
Much of the success to date has been with law firms (a market that is notoriously hard to crack!), having built up an evangelical user base of real estate lawyers including the Magic Circle law firms. However, its application in the legal market is not the reason we invested. The overarching strategy is to leverage the expertise of lawyers using Orbital Witness to build up a risk engine that will deliver a ubiquitous risk product to anyone buying, trading or insuring against real estate assets – that’s equivalent to a £4bn+ market opportunity in the UK alone.
Co-Founders Ed and Will are a young but confident team, who are constantly willing to learn from their customers, partners, and investors. They’ve demonstrated hustle and with limited funding have proven their ability to execute whilst building a team around them who have experience in scaling businesses. Since our very first meeting, Ed and Will asked all the right questions, and were tough negotiators right the way through (but at the same time willing to listen and understand) – a huge tick in the box for us!
True to the name, there is nothing ordinary about what Orbital Witness have set out to achieve and we look forward to partnering with the team on their journey to build a category leading business.