Our story so far
The picture you see above is our crew, all working through the COVID-19 pandemic from our respective homes. It reminds all of us Walulelians how we've never strayed from our original mission to come together, inspire each other and innovate for the better.
Walulel was born in 2017 out of the realisation that meaningful information about one’s neighbourhood and (existing or prospective) property was disparate at best and in most cases unavailable. This applied to renters and purchasers who had the means to access premium analysis in relation to any other asset they wished to purchase. With average property prices and rents soaring at the time, and with this being unlikely to change in the near future, Walulel’s founders could see an ever-widening gulf between equity of information, meaning that urbanites in London, Accra, and in turn other city dwellers, would continue to part with money to live in properties and neighbourhoods based mainly on anecdotes, some partial information about historical price movements in the area, and distance to local infrastructure. We considered that this could at times yield positive outcomes for urbanites by chance, but on many occasions might lead to them not finding the best value neighbourhood for their particular wants and needs.
We also considered that in no other transaction would one have to hand over such a high commission to a broker when they'd already done the hard work of finding the area.
The founding team thought these location metrics could be utilised to help urbanites objectively compare London's neighbourhoods, and later using the same process, other cities too. London was the ideal city to start with as the Greater London Authority captured and had started to release a high volume of quantitative data regarding each borough of London.
Our driving thesis then was that:a “location” and the preferences people attach to it, fundamentally only ever consists of three data types or facets which we were to analyse:
- Firstly there is the observable data (what people can see) such as the volume of rush-hour traffic, house prices, healthcare facilities and the quality of schools.
- Second is the unobservable data (being data people can’t immediately see, but recognise its existence) such as levels of crime, community cohesion and opportunities for relatively meaningful employment.
- Lastly and thirdly there is the perceived wisdom (qualitative) data (i.e. the collected and shared knowledge of a location as found in anecdotal sources). Such sources include; newspaper articles and discussion forum opinions.
We wanted Walulel to be one of the few companies in existence armed with such an understanding of what constitutes a location. We wanted to utilise this competitive advantage to interpret supranational, national, regional and local government statistics, combined with proprietary self-gathered data enables us to quantitatively assess the objective “quality” of every single neighbourhood within a given urban area or city. We also knew we needed to provide “qualitative assessments” of neighbourhoods, including little known facts, local histories and general neighbourhood overviews.
Walulel’s founders realised that the harvesting of existing data and creation of proprietary data, hosted on a web platform was the optimal way to bring this information to existing and prospective Londoners and Accrafoɔ, so the idea for WaInsight was born. The founders also realised that true value lay in gathering data at the postcode (or zip code) level, as London, Accra and many other capital cities, vary widely within a borough or district, so it is very hard to make meaningful and valuable statements that are true of an entire borough or or district. hence, WaInsight was born.
As the geospatial team at Walulel began work on how to capture the boundaries of each area, they realised that in trying to solve the problem of serving users within their postcode coordinates to determine which postcode they were in to enable searches of information on WaInsight, by dividing an area into discrete geodetic units, we could create an additional web application that would only permit entrants within a certain geographic boundary to a messaging application, needing no other criteria, such as a phone number, than ones location to be permitted entry, and so WaCommunicate was born.
The synergy between WaCommunicate and WaInsight was that whilst the qualitative assessment of neighbourhoods could be provided by us in the form of Area Guides for WaInsight, perceived wisdom could only truly be understood from the lived experience. hence we needed residents to share their views. That was the original business case for WaCommunicate.
In late 2018, we realised that simply offering WaCommunicate to customers solved only half of their problem. We knew that customers wanted geolocation dependent social networks for their buildings (to handle their soft FM administration), but at that stage we were of many companies with the capability to “scratch the itch”. Therefore in 2019, WaPatron was designed to generate revenue to be redirected to WaCommunicate, whilst similarly giving local business the opportunity to advertise to a locally verified customer base. WaArtisan was born of the need for a bridge to link the soft FM problem laden, landlords with the problem solving artisans. With 4 products in production a Walulel Ecosystem was born.