With condo booms booming in major cities around the world, three young Halifax entrepreneurs have created a company that uses virtual reality to show prospective condo buyers when their yet-to-be-built units will look like.
The company is Nanuk Technologies and its VR system gives condo developers a cutting-edge marketing tool. Prospective buyers coming into a sales office or show suite can strap on a headset and view a condo even before it’s built.
The trio of co-founders have developed the technology and have been piloting it with a few Halifax real estate developers. They anticipate a full launch within about four months.
“We started with the most advanced virtual reality solution on the market really,” said CEO Jake Moore in an interview. “We’ve been heavily involved with virtual reality and at the moment, the solution we offer is the most cutting edge on the market.”
The co-founders of the company are gamers and current university students or recent graduates. Moore is studying computer science administration at Dalhousie University. CTO Diogo Farinho is studying computer science at St. Mary’s University. And COO Mike Cyr graduated last year with a business degree from SMU. (Cyr also launched the Nova Scotia Startup Community Facebook group.)
As gamers, they understood the possibilities of virtual reality and have set out to build a company that aims to be the global leader in using the technology for marketing in the real estate space.
The way it works is a developer invests about $3500 in a virtual reality headset, and then contracts Nanuk to provide the VR programing. The condo developer has to supply floor plans and renderings to Nanuk, and the company can have a virtual reality presentation of a condo unit within a week.
A view can be a major selling point for a condominium, and Nanuk can even work the view into the VR presentation. The team can take a drone to a construction site, send the unmanned craft up to the position of the condo and take photos of the landscape. With these images, the viewers can get the virtual sensation of stepping on to the condo’s balcony and enjoying the view.
“One of the reasons we started doing this is we used to be virtual game developers and we saw this as the next step for this technology,” said Moore. “We love virtual reality and we wanted to see the true potential of it. We wanted to see more ways for the using it . . . rather than just playing games.”
The system helps condo developers make early sales, and that can help in getting financing to build their project. It also affords the developer a cool device to impress a prospective buyer – which never hurts in a marketing program.
The Nanuk co-founders so far have not taken on board any investment, though they’re interested in talking to real estate developers about investing. The plan for the coming year is to do a full launch in the burgeoning Halifax then move on to a larger market.
“Toronto is on the list of places to go,” said Moore. “Once the market here in Halifax has been properly displayed and opens up, then Toronto would be an attractive market for us.”