An Edinburgh-based startup has created unique property technology that will “empower” individuals to save old, vacant buildings across Scotland.

Grand Bequest has used data science to develop its platform that links data analytics, stakeholder participation and alternative financing to help communities reclaim, conserve and reuse abandoned buildings.

The business hopes that its technology could change the way community housing issues are solved and help tackle societal challenges like the number of people on social housing waiting lists in Scotland – a figure that currently sits at 150,000.

To take the business from ideation to startup, Grand Bequest worked with The Data Lab and its TORCH Business Advisory Service, securing data science training, access to grants and software.

Dr. Katherine Gunderson, chief executive and founder of Grand Bequest, said: “What we’re doing at Grand Bequest is building a scalable approach to solving the housing demand, by looking at what’s already there and how it can be used to solve societal issues. While I knew I had a good idea, I was then wondering, what’s our next step?

“The Data Lab quickly became like fairy godmothers, working with us to provide three grants to give our team data science training, and helped us understand what the next step for us was. Their recommendations have now been implemented and we have software that is operational. What started as an idea is now a startup, and I’m excited to continue growing the business from here.”

Brian Hills, deputy chief executive at The Data Lab, added: “It often starts with a good idea – but how do you make it a reality? We are proud to have worked with Grand Bequest to help turn the ideation process into something tangible, reaching an exciting result: cutting edge property technology and a team of Architectural Conservationists now skilled in data. I’d encourage entrepreneurs looking to start-up to get in touch with our TORCH team for support, ensuring the business is leveraging digital from the outset.”  

This Data Lab initiative is funded through Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government, and is a direct result of the £11.8 million funding for digital technology that the Scottish Government announced in 2020 to help with economic recovery.