Lauch Pad: A Kayak Of Abandoned Properties

Karl Ulrich calls FixList the “Kayak of abandoned properties.”

That’s because FixList helps “developers, investors, and nonprofits in major urban markets across the country” to “find properties that are ripe for redevelopment,” in the words of Stacey Mosley, CEO and cofounder of FixList.

Stacey and her cofounder, CTO Mjumbe Poe, have a fascinating conversation with Karl about how they’re marrying data analysis with the Open Data movement, where government entities publish their administrative records online, to create new access to information about properties.

Stacey and Mjumbe both worked in Philadelphia city government, and are therefore intimately familiar with how the city gathers and organizes data about properties. FixList includes every property asset in the city—around 580,000 housing assets for our population of 1.6 million. Not that all of these are for sale, but for those interested in making investments in development, the condition of a property, who the owner is and how accessible they are, the valuation history of different properties in the surrounding neighborhood, and other such publicly available pieces of information are crucial.

And while, yes, this is all publicly available, the difficulty is that it’s spread out and hard to find. Mjumbe explains: “There’s some 20-some-odd sites that we’re pulling in data from for Philadelphia alone. And in order to normally get access to that data, you have to know where all of those different data sources are and be able to join them with each other, whereas with FixList, we’re doing all of that work for you.”

Listen to hear Karl, Stacey, and Mjumbe talk pricing, how to build a tech product when you’re not a tech person (hint: a strong network is key), and how to use examples of what other companies are doing well in building your own startup.