Case Study - AccuCities
In conversation with Michal Konicek
My name is Michal Konicek and I'm one of the directors of AccuCities, and before we formed the company, I was managing a 3D city modelling company.
AccuCities is a 3D city modelling company that serves mainly architectural and urban planning industries, and I have been doing this throughout my whole life. We saw there is a big demand for accurate and detailed 3D models, especially of London, but also other UK cities as well. There are already other companies that build 3D city models, but we saw that there was a huge demand for detailed, accurate and up to date 3D city models, so not just creating it once, but taking care it of it, managing the data set and supplying it to customers in a way they can rely on it.
3D city models, although they are very niche, are very useful to many industries. We work mainly with architects and urban planners, but also with high-tech companies and machine learning companies and so on. There is a real need for these kind of models and that's why we have over 230 customers and serve 10 to 12 industries.
We incorporated AccuCities in 2017 and we've been lucky enough to make it into a profitable company since year 1, so it was really positive that we actually managed to do that; but obviously there are challenges, as with every business. When we started, the company had about 7 or 8 customers and we were doing 8 to 10 projects a month.
Currently we are doing about 60 to 80 projects a month and we have hundreds of customers. We were lucky enough to get quite a lot of big customers at the beginning, who are now returning customers, so that's how we can build a business from there.
The growth curve
The company started to grow pretty rapidly after we started it, and we keep on growing fairly fast. The thing is, we signed up quite a lot of customers as our subscribers, so they keep on working with us year after year, and that way we can just sort of snowball the business upwards.
At the beginning, the biggest challenge was to get new customers. We had quite a lot of people we worked with and companies we worked with who knew us and were happy to work with us, but to get the new customers on board was always the challenge. That obviously changed once we had a lot of customers that we worked with already; then the challenge was how to keep them. So constant customer service and delivering 100% product was something that we had to do, and luckily we've managed it.
I'm really proud of my business today, because we have actually managed to get those new customers and get big customers, but also keep them for many years afterwards. We work with companies with a small architectural studios all the way to big tech companies like Microsoft, and we always keep them for more than the initial period.
The best bit about my job is I get to work with a really small team, but on really big projects. We work on most of the skyscraper projects in London and we know most of the buildings that will go up in the years to come which are in the pre-planning stage, and it's really fascinating to watch them grow and to watch the city grow; so that's a really cool part of our job.
The future for AccuCities is really interesting. On the one hand, we get to work on our standard projects, which would be skyscrapers and new big developments in London. But also we work with lots of high tech, machine learning and artificial intelligence companies, where we don't necessarily know what will happen, but we are very excited to be there.
The advice I would give to somebody starting their own business would be two-fold. First of all, try to find a partner that you can rely on and you can discuss the way of how to run the company together – it's much easier than trying to do it on your own. The second one would be to outsource everything you are not good at.
So, if you're not good at advertising or accounting, don't think about it too much, outsource it to somebody who knows what they're doing. Most of the time they are really good, and you can get really good deals. You cannot do everything on your own, so try to do as much outsourcing as you can.
Using 1st Formations
We found 1st Formations online through Google. We read some reviews, everything looked really good, but obviously it is a bit of pot luck at that stage. It's easy to sell something to everybody once, but we've stayed with 1st Formations for 6 years now, so obviously we are very happy with the service. We incorporated the company in 2017 with me as a director, but then it was really easy to take another founder in, later on in about a month, and 1st Formations is also taking care of our mail forwarding, so we are very happy with the service.
Our company formation process
The process of forming the company with 1st Formations was super easy. We have established our presence in Europe with our Spanish office, and there the process was much more complicated. So, I can actually compare, and there is no comparison, it was super easy.
1st Formations today
After we established the business, we stayed with 1st Formations to do mail forwarding and Companies House admin, so we find it really easy, and it's not only the mail forwarding, but it's also the scanning of mail. We get it straight away, there is no waiting time. Also, doing any Companies House admin is really easy to do through the 1st Formations platform.