You might have recently seen the news that we’ve made an important decision to expand SafeGraph’s footprint into our first international destination outside of North America.
We’re excited to say that this spring our Core Places and Geometry datasets will launch in England, Scotland, and Wales for the very first time. If you’d like to take a sneak peek, we’ve created a sample SafeGraph Places UK dashboard to give you a sense of what’s to come.
This isn’t the only news around international expansion efforts we’ve had to share lately. We’ve also been expanding our Canada Places dataset to include Patterns, and are currently offering a free version of our Canadian POI data to check out for yourself.
So, needless to say, our team has been quite busy lately. Not to mention, we moved our company headquarters to Denver in December, which was an exciting change, in and of itself.
But with all this incredible change happening, I thought there was no better time than now to give you a little insight into the strategy underlying these big decisions as well as the big bets we’re placing today to make SafeGraph the most trusted source of data worldwide tomorrow.
Our mission hasn’t changed one bit since SafeGraph was created. We still firmly believe that amazing things can happen—whether it be in the form of disruptive insights or new innovations changing the world for the better—when we make it possible for anyone or any organization to be able to access high-quality, reliable, and accurate data. In fact, as we actively chart the course towards our company’s future, it’s becoming even clearer to us just how important our mission of “democratizing access to data for all” truly is.
There’s no shortage of data today. It’s virtually everywhere. But just because it’s everywhere doesn’t mean all of it is good or provides meaningful or actionable value. That’s why, for us, we don’t look at data through the lens of ‘quantity versus quality’ but rather as a combination of quantity and quality.
But this is also one of the biggest reasons why we’ve been such a big proponent of setting essential data standards from day one. We know that data is powerful. We also know that it can add so much more value when it’s packaged up in a way that people can actually use without having to spend hours scrubbing and cleaning it just to join it to other data sources.
So, when thinking more “big picture” about our decision to expand our footprint into the UK, it’s merely just another opportunity for our team to put clean and useful data in the hands of more organizations and more people around the world. Plus, we know that many of our current customers and partners have international footprints of their own. Our goal is to continue doing whatever we can to scale our business in a way that adapts to our customers’ global data needs.
Whenever big changes happen or important decisions are made, people tend to have a lot of questions. So we’ve decided to take a stab at answering some of those questions that we think are probably top-of-mind. If there’s something else on your mind, just let us know.
As mentioned above, a lot of the decisions we make are based on what our customers tell us they need. In spite of COVID-19, the world is still more interconnected today than ever before. Our customers, many of whom have business operations in multiple countries, have big problems that they need to solve (with data) that stretch beyond the US market alone.
That’s one of the reasons why we first expanded our international footprint into our neighbor in the north. Knowing that Canadian businesses and consumers share a number of operational and cultural similarities to their American counterparts, bringing SafeGraph to Canada made complete sense as an extension of what we were already doing in the US. More importantly, it was an opportunity to create a holistic and insights-driven view of the many dynamics shaping a big portion of North America.
Similarly, when looking out across the pond, it goes without saying that a very large share of our American and Canadian customers have a presence in the UK as well. We feel that it’s an important stepping stone for eventually replicating what we do across the rest of the world.
The availability of underlying data sources is different in every country. This will undoubtedly have an impact on how we go about acquiring our data and, in all honesty, could also pose some unique challenges that we haven’t yet faced in the US or Canada. Our product management and engineering teams are working tirelessly to understand the ins and outs of the UK data market, so that we can scale our operations effectively while still providing our customers with the same clean, reliable, and accurate data that they’ve grown accustomed to by working with us thus far.
Our partnership with Placekey is a critical component for our expansion plans into the UK and eventually into other markets in the near future. Placekey’s recent expansion into the Netherlands is aligned with our own international aspirations, and we hope to continue to expand alongside Placekey in the future. Because of the different ways in which different countries collect data, we’re going to start working with datasets that we haven’t necessarily worked with before in the same capacity. So, we will most definitely rely heavily on Placekey, as a universal identifier for any physical place in the world, to unlock the power and potential of the new location-based datasets we’ll be working with. Here’s another way to look at it: Placekey will be the glue that makes it possible to join multiple datasets together in a universal way. It’s a true game-changer and something that will allow us to scale and grow our business more effectively in the future.
Expanding into another country doesn’t mean we suddenly throw our data standards out the window. The quality, reliability, and accuracy of SafeGraph data, as you know it today, will not change one bit. As mentioned above, we will have to overcome some new country-level challenges in order to provide a final product that meets—and hopefully, surpasses—your expectations. Quality is not negotiable for us. We take pride in our data because we know that it’s the best on the market. Our teams will continue to deliver the same level of quality in every market we expand into down the road, beginning with the UK. And we’ll work with our customers every step of the way to ensure that nothing has slipped through the cracks.
This is an exciting chapter in SafeGraph’s history, one that is poised to shape our business for years to come by setting an important foundation for extending the same quality, reliability, and accuracy of SafeGraph data to businesses, non-profits, governments, academic institutions, and other organizations around the world. We believe in the democratization of access to good, clean data—and we will work tirelessly to see that mission through in everything we do. This is just the beginning of many more exciting things to come.
That's it – that's all we do. We want to understand the physical world and power innovation through open access to geospatial data. We believe data should be an open platform, not a trade secret. Information should not be hoarded so that only a few can innovate.