Welcome to real-life SimCity - Technical.ly DC

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Jan. 21, 2015 9:43 am

Welcome to real-life SimCity

The brand-new Create.io is a sleek and (dare we say) fun way to explore D.C. real estate data.

Some real estate stats on the White House.

(Screenshot via create.io)

This app is for real estate developers, brokers and realtors. (As well as anyone else who would like to zoom in on any property in D.C. and receive instant data on its land use, market conditions, financing and surrounding demographics — along with throngs of other numbers and information.)

Launched Friday, Create is “like SimCity, but in real life,” cofounder and COO Edward Switzer told Technical.ly DC. Create aggregates real estate data from public agencies and commercial sources, placing them all on an intuitive Google Earth-style platform.

It took Switzer and his cofounders, Stefan Martinovic and Laura Ferguson, about three years to finish up the website, which is now available for free for a 30-day trial and then for $20 a month.

Try it out

The idea came about when Martinovic, a former real estate developer, was showing a model he’d designed to Switzer, his old friend from the Peddie School in New Jersey.

“I asked him if we could import live data,” said Switzer.

The answer was yes. But it would take no small amount of brunt work.

“There is a wealth of information [on real estate] but it’s just very poorly organized,” explained Switzer.

Create has now already racked up big institutional clients such as the Washington DC Economic PartnershipJohns HopkinsGeorge Mason and Georgetown Universities, and the Dupont Underground project to repurpose an abandoned trolley station in the neighborhood.

But Create is not just for real estate data nerds — it’s also a neatly designed tool. Heck, even their press release was a visually appealing post on Medium.

That’s not too common in the app’s target industry. “If you look at the landscape in real estate technology, it’s vastly underserved,” said Switzer.

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That’s where the company’s CTO, Ferguson, came in. She’d previously led a team that won the 2009 Peabody award for redesigning CNN’s election data management system — a program that subsequently fed the network’s “magic wall.”

With developers in D.C. and San Francisco, Create lived in 1776 for several months and moved into its own offices near Dupont Circle in December.

The company is planning to expand the application to reach 10 cities by the end of 2015, including Detroit, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.

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Lalita Clozel

Lalita Clozel was the former Technical.ly DC Lead Reporter. She has written for OpenSecrets.org, the Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia City Paper. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, she wrote for The Daily Pennsylvanian, covering legal affairs, city politics and labor unions.

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