During his time as a recruitment consultant, Ed O’Hanrahan, Sales Manager at Forbury, heard the complaints of clients struggling with software that failed to deliver. So when the chance arose to join Australasian proptech firm as it launched its platform in the UK, he jumped at the opportunity. “Ultimately, it’s still all about the people,” he writes.
After seven years as a recruitment consultant, I have seen first-hand how daunting it can be to change careers. To make such a move in the middle of a global pandemic, to a company based on the other side of the world, would be considered by some to be a ‘brave’ decision. But it is testament to the opportunities presented by Forbury that I have done just that.
Forbury is a blue-chip name in Australasia, where investors, lenders, agents and developers rely on the analysis its real estate valuation software provides. Driving insight, efficiency and collaboration – with the familiarity and compatibility of a Microsoft Excel interface – it holds great potential in a UK market that has traditionally been poorly served.
Prior to joining Forbury, I was a recruitment consultant within the property sector. Over seven years I worked closely with investment houses, family offices, propcos, banks and private equity firms to attract the talent they needed to thrive. That often meant recruiting analysts – those specialists with the ability to take raw data and produce the insight that would underpin investment decisions.
But in conversations with my clients, it was clear that the sector was facing some significant issues with the available modelling software. Cumbersome to use, awkward to collaborate on and unsuited to their specific requirements, investors often struggled to get the genuine insight they need. The effects of this were compounded by the high churn of analysts as competitors poached them. Many clients were seeking a better solution.
Forbury is the established valuation software of choice across Australia, New Zealand and the wider region. Clients prize the analysis it provides, the ease with which it can be used, the familiarity of the Excel interface and the collaboration enabled by its shareability.
But Forbury also realised that the unique nature of the UK’s commercial property market demanded a bespoke solution. Rather than launch too soon, it took the time to adapt its existing offer, developing the software to meet the specific needs of UK investors in the office and industrial sectors.
It is only now, with the adapted platform having completed beta testing with a select group of clients, that the software is ready to be unveiled in the UK. The ease with which it enables investment models to be built for both individual assets and portfolios, allied to a unique “Add In” function to share outputs both internally and externally, make it particularly valuable to family offices and smaller investment houses, where the senior team’s focus needs to be on origination rather than model-building.
Read More: Forbury recruits in London to support UK expansion
Spotting the opportunity
It was when I saw Forbury’s Datum being demonstrated that I realised the potential it held. The reactive approach of many funds – hiring at analyst level or outsourcing work to bespoke modelling companies – was costly, quickly outdated and hard to guarantee integrity. I could see straight away that Datum would solve the issues my clients were talking about. When the opportunity arose to become a sales manager with Forbury, I jumped at the chance.
It is clear that existing platforms are falling short of what investment houses require, and that the better software solution provided by Datum is required. Forbury has proven credentials in Australasia and now promises to do the same in the UK. It is a tool that enables better decision-making and unleashes employees’ potential, putting their skills and expertise to more effective use. It is a pleasing parallel with my previous career that, ultimately, it’s still all about the people.
Ed O'Hanrahan is part of Forbury's UK-based team, leading the way with the launch of its new real estate financial modelling tool, Datum. Prior to joining Forbury, Ed spent seven years in real estate investment headhunting across Europe.