The seeds of Door Insight were first planted as Calgarian Tej Kang was searching for his first new home.
“I found the process of finding a home really disjointed in terms of, there’s so many data sources, so many different things to look at,” Kang said.
“You don’t even really know what to start to look at.”
Finding information about different neighbourhoods, their demographics and services was difficult to begin with. Then, try to compare them, Kang said.
“I thought maybe I could create this tool that would just help with that whole due diligence process,” he said.
That’s when he teamed up with co-founder, Toronto-based Harbind Kharod. Kharod had also experience something similar, having bought his first investment property back in 2019.
Sifting through multiple sites for data just seemed to be time consuming. Then, when it was all collated, it was difficult to make sense of it.
“I can only imagine you know what, person buying the first home or better copy goes through collect all the important data that they need to make an informed decision,” Kharod said.
“So, it was about, how do we allow more Canadians to access this data easier and to help them and to de-risk the biggest purchase that they’re ever going to make in their life?”
Find, collate and present
The goal for the software engineering duo was to bring all of the data points into one, easy-to-read format.
They wanted to present the information in a way that made it simple to answer questions that any prospective homeowner would have.
Kang said the information is gathered and presented in such a way that it not only helps homebuyers, but those considering renting out a basement. It can search multiple rental listing sites to see where a homeowner should be on rent.
They’ve found information schools, crime, average income of an area, demographics – these are important data points for homebuyers, Kang said.
“We look at like, all these different things when you’re trying to decide what neighbourhood to buy in,” he said.
Kharod said down the road, the value in this platform lies in how they can derive more insights from the data they have.
That might include predicting how a neighbourhood changes due to certain events. Or, what will a neighbourhood look like 10 years down the road. One of the most valuable sets of data is from transit.
“That kind of gives you an idea of, OK, where is the city thinking about expanding and then how is that going to affect the market in general or just that area,” Kharod said.
Solving a customer’s biggest problems
Aside from the invaluable connections made with other entrepreneurs in Calgary, Kang said one of the lessons they’ve taken to heart is to focus on customers.
He and Kharod want to focus on solving their homebuying information pinch points. Each one is different, too. They have first time buyers and seasoned investors using their platform already.
“One of those big takeaways is having lots of conversations with the people who are using our site, to kind of gauge what are their biggest challenges,” Kang said.
They don’t have a paid service, and it’s available through your browser, and there are already users seeking data on the site.
The data is drawn from a variety of sources. That means users from across Canada can access information on the Door Insight website. The goal is to get people countrywide using their service.
They’ve looked at the US, but they want to perfect the platform in Canada first. That’s because most of the data is found in a handful of places.
“Our priority is really on the Canadian market and democratizing the data in this field,” said Kang.