35 companies driving the London proptech boom

London is home to some of the leading innovators in the property technology world, and we’re proud to have these exciting companies driving the capital’s new proptech boom. Here’s our list of the top 35:

Acasa

Helps housemates live together in harmony by providing an app that manages and splits bills.

Brikcoin

An asset-backed token proposed to solve the UK’s housing crisis.

Built ID

A tool that makes it easy for locals to express their views on planning decisions.

Coyote Software

Commercial property software which helps investors to buy and manage assets.

Demand Logic

Data intelligence on how a building operates.

District Technologies

Delivers world class building experiences.

Habito

Free online mortgage broker.

Harness Property Intelligence

Offering ground-breaking new data science-backed products for the commercial real estate sector.

Home Views

Dubbed ‘the TripAdvisor for property’, Home Views gives potential residents an idea of what it is really like to live in a building.

Houzen

Designed to instantly match tenants with landlords, Houzen uses an algorithm to find premium tenants fast.

Igloo Crowd

Democratised property investment and property crowdfunding

Infabode

Provides content to members about the real estate industry

Landmark Information Group

Legal products and data – from monitoring to environmental risk analysis.

Landtech

Tech that helps with property development – sourcing, planning and managing.

Lavanda

SaaS platform that helps building owners get access to short term tenants; student housing etc.

Love to Rent

Exclusively lists BTR properties. Love to Rent will also bank data to identify the specific features that BTR customers value most, so that better schemes can be built in future.

Molo Finance

Online mortgage provider offering quick decisions with no fees.

MoveBubble

The app to help renters find their next home.

No White Walls

House sharers’ network.

One Dome

Everything you need to complete your move.

Plentific

Property management platform that connects landlords and property managers with maintenance services providers.

Proportunity

Loans to boost your deposit so you can get a bigger mortgage.

Qflow

Uses on-site data to help the construction industry be greener and more efficient.

Ready Property

Online estate agent.

Rentify

Give them the keys and receive a fixed yield on your rental property – they handle all the admin and all the maintenance.

Rentprofile

A trusted network of verified renters, landlords and agents.

Settled

One simple service that makes buying and selling homes easy and quick.

Staykeepers

Generate passive income for building owners and buy to rent operators by offering short stays to manage voids.

The Depositary

Automate the end of the tenancy process for happier landlords, tenants and agents.

The Future Fox

Helps developers and local authorities to consult effectively on proposals for new homes.

Thirdfort

Automates identity and source of funds checks for lawyers, conveyancers and their clients.

Trussle

Free online mortgage broker.

Vu City

Interactive, 3D smart city platform.

Yourkeys

Platform that lets buyers purchase their new homes online, from start to finish, from anywhere in the world.

At TopLine Film, we have plenty of experience producing high-quality videos and animations for leading proptech companies. If you’re in the proptech business and you want to find out  what video can do for you, reach out to our MD, Jamie today.

Meet Jamie Field, our managing director
How did you get into video production?

I studied television production at university, and during my degree I volunteered as a runner for MTV, which gave me excellent grounding, a real taste for the industry and something solid to put on my CV. I also found a part time job between studying as an autocue operator for a local studio.

After graduating I formed a small production company with other alumni, and we managed to win some work, but we soon realised that we needed more experience to be able to offer a top quality service. So I bought a camera and edit suite and went freelance offering video production to local tourism boards, built up 2 years of experience freelancing as a camera operator and editor, until I got my first job in a production company. I got some great experience in that role, working with clients such as the World Health Organization and the NHS, and one of my videos won an award, which was great.

What’s been your biggest professional success?

I’m really proud of having turned a freelance career into a successful video production agency that has recently been ranked the top video production company in the UK by Clutch.com! We’ve worked with some amazing clients, filmed celebrities, beauty pageants, sheep, dogs and cars, and we’ve won a bunch of awards along the way.

And what’s been your biggest professional mistake / regret?

Purchasing equipment like cameras, lenses and lights – as we started producing bigger videos, we tended to rent in equipment that was suitable for each specific brief so we wasted a lot on equipment that we didn’t use to its fullest.

What is some of the most important advice you can offer a CMO looking to commission a video?

It’s really important to be clear on your objectives, develop a detailed brief and keep the number of decision makers to a minimum. If you get too many people involved in the approvals process, you tend to take fewer risks and make an all-round unremarkable video.

You’ve seen a lot of change in the video industry over the past decade. What do you think the future looks like?

I think there will be much more emphasis on social first content, with marketing and sales strategies massively relying on video advertising across digital platforms. Also with social targeting, creators will start producing content that is really niche for specific audiences.

Got a video project in the pipeline? Get in touch with Jamie for an informal chat.

We’ve moved

If you’re coming to a meeting at TopLine Film and you find yourself ringing the bell at 27 Rathbone St to no avail, don’t worry, we’re probably not avoiding you. We’re just hanging out at our swish new office round the corner on Stephen St, admiring the view all the way to Russell Square or lolling on our roof terrace drinking Caravan coffee.

You can find our new address on our contacts page.

And the award goes to…

We’re delighted to have received a bronze award for our personalised video brochure campaign at this year’s EVCOM London Film Awards. The award recognised the most effective consumer-focussed film in support of sales and business development.

Our campaign

At TopLine Film, our video production work is traditionally won through inbound enquiries. But we wanted to generate more leads, win different types of projects, and attract bigger clients, so we decided to pursue an outbound strategy targeting specific companies. We decided on a ‘video card’ campaign, where physical media players with a short personalised promotional film would be mailed out to the addresses of our targets. The intention was to get on their radar.

Getting personal

Our campaign was designed around physical video brochures that would be personalised to each viewer. Outbound marketing can easily be seen as invasive, impersonal, and annoying, so our job was to make sure this project wasn’t. It needed to feel less like a mass-produced mailer and more like a custom video designed for each specific recipient. Each video card had a unique opener filmed by Jamie, our Managing Director, where he addressed each target recipient by name.

Devil in the detail

But personalising video content is uniquely challenging: you can’t just use marketing automation software to change the prospect name. So we devoted the same time, attention, and internal resources to the video that we would assign to a client project. In total, Jamie recorded 200 individual opening lines mentioning each person by name, as well as six individual scenes mentioning the industry the intended recipient worked in.

Overall, our video card campaign showed that taking risks and investing in niche projects can seriously pay off. Projects like this one can be difficult to get off the ground and harder to keep in the air – but if the idea’s good enough, if the team is skilled enough, and if you understand your targets, the rewards are always worth it.

We’re thrilled that all the team’s hard work was recognised at this year’s EVCOM London Film awards.

How do you really use video for lead generation?

The corporate video production industry is buzzing with content about video marketing and how video is set to become the new driver of lead gen. And while there is no shortage of content and opinion on the subject, it’s hard to know how to get started. How do you actually use video for lead gen?

The answer is simple: you make a video, put it in your lead gen machine, and then catch the leads as they pop out the other end.

If only things were that easy!

Fear not though, here is the ultimate guide to using video for lead generation.

We’re assuming you’ve covered all your basics: you’ve set your objectives, defined a lead, done your audience research and now you’re putting together your video production brief (because you’re not going to try to retrofit a lead gen strategy to your existing videos, are you?) to create videos for lead gen. But how do you really use videos for lead gen? Here’s how:

YouTube Cards / End Screens

These are clickable icons that appear during (cards) or the end of (end screens) your YouTube video. They can take the viewer to:

  • One of your videos or a playlist
  • A button to subscribe to your channel or someone else’s
  • A link to your website (note you need to be a YouTube partner to do this)

It’s the link to your website that is your video lead gen mechanism – you create a compelling video that persuades viewers they want your product or service, and during or at the end of that video, you give them the opportunity to click right through to your landing page and find out more or make a purchase.

If you’re using cards and end screens, then you need to make sure your they make sense within your video: when composing your shots, make sure there is space for the clickable link to your landing pages and also ensure that it makes sense alongside your script.

Have a look at our lead gen video on YouTube for an example.

Increase landing page conversions with video

We’ve just launched our first Udemy course (The Ultimate Public Relations Masterclass) and we created a promo video for the course, because, according to Udemy, students who watch a well-made promo video are 5x more likely to enrol in your course. Yup, a good video can have a dramatic impact on landing page conversions – and Neil Patel agrees!

Here’s our example of a landing page with a video designed to increase conversions.

In-video lead forms

An alternative to using video to increase landing page conversions is to embed your lead gen form directly into the video. There are loads of ways to do this, with video players like Brightcove, Wistia and Vidyard all offering self-service tools that enable this.

We find it easier with Wistia, because you start with the video itself. And the best practice is to integrate your forms with your CRM system (although most platforms charge more for this).

Here’s our example that we created on Vidyard:

Email gates

An email gate requires the viewer to input their email before being able to view your content. This can work well for mid-funnel content (if you speak marketing). But probably more helpfully, ask yourself what type of content would you be willing to exchange for your email address before you have watched the video? For us it would probably be:

  • A case study showing how one of our competitors achieved something we are jealous of (landed a big client, won an award, generated millions).
  • Inside information on a product, service or event.
  • The only place on the web could learn about generating leads through video.

We probably wouldn’t for:

  • A funny video.
  • A product announcement.
  • Your Christmas party video.

Here’s our example that we created on Vidyard:

Video cards

A video card is a small video player that you can upload your content to and send out to your prospects. We’ve used video cards in our own award-winning marketing campaigns in the past to great effect (a 20% conversion rate and £300k+ worth of new business generated off an investment of less than £10k).

Video cards currently work because they are surprising, memorable and shareable. However, there are some things to keep in mind if taking this approach:

  • They’re expensive (around £10-30 per card – add to that the postage cost and the cost of making the video) so should be reserved for high quality, qualified targets.
  • The companies that sell them are hard to work with. We ended up having to upload the videos to our cards ourselves because there were so many issues with the service provided by the video cards companies we used – the cards arrived with no sound, poor quality visuals, they weren’t charged – grrrrr.
  • They’re basically single-use electronic devices, which means they aren’t great for the environment. We probably wouldn’t use them again for that reason.

Personalised videos

There are two ways to use personalised video: batch and realtime (or technically it’s called Personalised Video API) and you can do these on Vidyard’s platform.

With a personalised batch campaign, you create a video with spaces for personalised graphical elements. Vidyard will provide technical specs and advice on this. You then give that video to Vidyard, along with a CSV of all your contacts and personalised data, and then they connect the master video to the CSV and then out comes 1000’s of links to the video with the relevant personalised bits. Remember you are not getting 1000’s of individual videos, you’re getting 1000’s of links. So you can’t use these videos in other forms like video cards or sharing on other channels like LinkedIn. It’s restricted to email marketing.

The emails are blasted out by Vidyard, but can be masked to appear like they come from you. You can have as many personalised elements as you like, however up to 4 is best and it requires investment.

A Realtime campaign, or Personalised Video API, is where your sales person uses the Vidyard GoVideo tool (Wistia has an equivalent called Sopabox) to create outbound emails instantly to prospects. For instance, our outbound sales pro has started sending out videos in her emails to prospects, and the thumbnail (either still or GIF) is her holding a whiteboard with the person’s name on it.

She does this manually by writing it on, but you can use a Realtime Personalised campaign to create some wizardry where she only needs to record a single GIF thumbnail of her holding a blank whiteboard, and then when it comes to her sending a new video, she just types in the name of her prospect and the thumbnail is generated.

Using video to drive traffic to stores

Then there’s the traditional old form of advertising that sends viewers to your bricks and mortar store. Except that now, these videos can be viewed online, in interactive advertising displays and personalised video cards.

Here’s our example of a video to drive traffic to our store office.

Contact the specialists in lead gen video production to make lead gen videos work for you.

EVCOM Awards

Videos CAN generate leads (and we have an award nomination to prove it)

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for an EVCOM London Video Award. The team at EVCOM have deemed our personalised video brochure campaign worthy of a shot at the gong in the Sales of Products and Services category. The award goes to the “most effective consumer-focussed film in support of sales and business development.”

Our campaign was designed around physical video brochures that would be personalised to each individual viewer – a complex undertaking which involved managing several moving parts. But it worked:

We sent out 200 cards to prospects, leading to:

  • 40 conversations, a conversion rate of 20% and the highest we’ve ever had in a campaign.
  • Nine of these conversations turned into clients (exceeding our target of five), and 14 of those conversations are still ongoing.
  • From these clients, we generated £300,000 of revenue: comfortably exceeding our target of £60k.

But the numbers only tell one part of the story. The other part is what people said when they received our cards:

“I’ve got to say that I’m hugely impressed by the card & the personalised msg – kudos!” 

“I was very impressed and assumed I had a high enough lead score to get a high impact piece of marketing.”

“Thank you so much for sending the intriguing video DM!”

“Very impressive, I like it.”

“I did receive your video card and I have to say I was very impressed.”

Jamie Field, TopLine’s managing director, said: “Overall, our video card campaign showed that taking risks and investing in niche projects can seriously pay off. Projects like this one can be difficult to get off the ground and harder to keep in the air – but if the idea’s good enough, if the team is skilled enough, and if you understand your targets, the rewards are always worth it.”

 

We can help with all kinds of lead gen video production requirements – just in case you’re interested.

How to land a job in video production

Looking to land a video production job? Here’s how to stand out

Want a video production agency job but don’t know where to start? If you have the work experience and you’ve been searching for months and haven’t gotten the results you want, then maybe it’s time to think about what you could do differently.

Working in video production is great. You regularly meet new people, work on different sets, different projects, with fun gadgets and equipment – among other things. But the competition is fierce. A lot of people starting out create showreels with university or arthouse projects. Here’s the thing. No one wants to see it.

As a video production company, we get approached by a lot of people wanting to work in this industry, which is great! If you want to get noticed by us or companies alike, here’s what you should do.

Get your foot in the door – the right way

One of the hardest things in video production is getting your foot in the door. Grab your prospective employer’s attention by writing a bespoke email to show that you researched the company and that you have a general interest in working for them.

You can do this by referencing a project they have worked on or a blog post they have written. Access to this kind of information should not be that hard. Trawl their website, check out their social media or ask around about the company. Do your homework!

When you’re getting started, you should be trying to build your network in the industry. Therefore start with small goals rather than asking for a job outright. That could mean aiming to get advice, a mentoring opportunity, joining a shoot or coming along for free to get some experience. You’ve got to offer something and get someone to give you the opportunity to impress them.

Network and be nice!

Your first job, you’re not necessarily going to be chosen because of your skillset because you’re not doing much on a shoot. You’re simply helping out. So, you have to build rapport. That’s why you’re there! Whether in office or on a shoot, the best thing to do is to ask what the person in charge wants from you. Don’t go in thinking you know what you are doing. “Just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” That kind of social intelligence on a shoot is what we’re after.

And for the love of God, be on time. In this industry, no amount of skill, creativity or hard work can undo the damage done by arriving late. The best video professionals we know leave absolutely nothing to chance. They arrive at least 30 minutes early and grab a coffee while they wait.

You never know when a job can come up – it pays to be nice. People can leave jobs at any time and your name might come up. We asked our MD, Jamie about this and he said: “When a job opens up at TopLine, if we already know someone who might be right for the role, and they’ve impressed us on a shoot, we will go straight to them and invite them to apply. This saves us a huge amount of time and reduces the risk of hiring the wrong person – after all, we have already seen them in action.”

Mentors help

Getting a mentor is great. Especially if they can expose you to the right people. We use lots of freelance crew that ask to bring along an assistant, just for the experience – your skills will help you succeed in the role, but a mentor will serve as a character reference before you get it. And you will find most freelancers are amenable.

Is there still a place for the showreel?

This is tricky because timing is everything. If you’re trying to get your first job in video – as soon as you say “here’s my showreel” – chances are the content isn’t going to be relevant to the company.

However, if you’ve been in the industry a year or two and you’ve worked on relevant or relatable content, that’s a different story. We work with many freelancers and every now and then we get an email from them to show what they’ve been up to, almost like a newsletter. Because it’s someone we’re already in contact with, we nearly always watch their video content.

Ask yourself: does your showreel represent some industry work that would be noticed by the recipient? If you’re contacting a production company that solely produces animated explainer videos, your camera work showreel is not applicable.

Being a jack of all trades isn’t necessarily the best approach

Video production used to be more specialised. In the past, you needed formal qualifications, training and exposure to expensive equipment and software to start producing content.

With new tech advancements, cameras and software are cheaper and entry to the industry is easier. Accordingly, a lot more opportunities exist for self-taught individuals. So how do you compete when today, everyone can do almost everything because it’s so accessible?

Having a diverse skill set can be advantageous but specialism shouldn’t put people off from applying for a position. If we have someone apply for an editor position who can’t do anything else but edit vs someone with the ability to also do sound, direct shoots – among other things, we would always hire whoever was the best editor.

Focus on mastering one thing, and once you’re really good at it then by all means, get the other skills and use them to your advantage.

 

We hope you found these tips useful and informative!

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or keep an eye on our recruitment page for more opportunities at TopLine Film.

 

Why we are a cashless business – and how it benefits our suppliers

Managing cash is a major admin headache. Reconciling a petty cash box, chasing receipts, filing invoices, and just generally keeping an eye on all the admin requires dedicated time and resources that we’d rather spend elsewhere – say, on our clients, for example. And if the office manager pops out to lunch or off on holiday and forgets to leave the key for the petty cash box behind, well then, personal receipts pile up and everyone gets a bit snarky.

Honestly, we think managing cash is a waste of time and money, which is why in early 2019 we made the decision to become a fully cashless business.

The truth is, we don’t need cash anymore: even the smallest payments at the newsagent can now be done on card – so why keep it in the office? Our cashless business is enabled by Soldo which provides centralised control of card payments for employee and company purchases.

TopLine is a process-driven business, and we have always looked for ways to be more efficient.  Our clients can attest to the fact that when they work with us, they are working with an organised bunch of people, who have processes and policies in place for everything.

By eliminating cash, we are saving time that can be spent on other important business – and ensuring more efficient payment processes.

When it comes to paying our suppliers and staff, we never drop the ball. In fact, we don’t drop the ball at anything really. But we know the importance of getting paid on time and respect the people we work with too much to allow late or messy payment processes to creep in. And relying on cash can get messy!

So, for all our amazing suppliers and freelancers who work with us, bear in mind that we don’t have the facilities to handle cash in any way. Our accounting system is fully centralised and digitised. What this means though, is that you can expect to be paid on time every time – just not in cash.

Thanks to these video freelancers

No production company is an island. At TopLine Film, we have a considerable amount of talent in-house, but we rely on freelancers for many projects – sometimes for a bit of support while someone’s away on annual leave, sometimes to bring a level of expertise that we don’t necessarily have to hand.

This National Freelancer Day, we wanted to celebrate the people who’ve helped us make some of our best videos. Here are just a few!

Freelance Directors

Grant Fulton

Grant is an energetic, experienced, and charismatic director, one who’s a joy to watch on set. Perfect for creative shoots.

Freelance Camera Operators

Ivan Wood

Ivan is a very experienced camera op who’s always up-to-date with the latest camera tech. Whether it’s for work or for pleasure, he can usually be found shooting something. Lately he’s focused on drama and commercial work, but he’s still available for corporate projects.

Fun fact: his dad was the brains behind that famous slow-motion scene in The Matrix. You know, the one where Neo does the freaky back-bend thing.

Paul Murray

Another great camera op, Paul has a keen eye for composition and is very passionate about how sets and scenes are lit.

Alex Gooch

A calm and collected presence on location, Alex gets great shots and is a pleasure to work with. He has collaborated with broadcasters such as Reuters and ITN Productions, as well as global organisations like Microsoft, Amcor and Abbvie.

Josh Bamford

Josh is creative, fun to work with, and a recent-award-winner – check out his documentary film!

Freelance Sound Recordists

Alex Purkiss

A force of unbridled positivity, Alex is as skilled as he is nice (very, on both accounts). Because of this, he can be quite hard to pin down. If Alex has a window open, grab him while you can.

Anthony Arghyrou

Another sound recordist we use regularly, Anthony is super friendly, super talented, and always a pleasure to have on a shoot.

Julian Willson

You might have seen Julian’s work already: his recent sound projects include shows such as One Born Every Minute & Gogglebox, to name just a couple. He’s frequently found cracking jokes on location.

Freelance Editors

David L. E. Davis

Super organised and super fast, David is a superb editor with a keen attention to detail. He also has a great sense of humour, and is definitely not the former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Andy Cardy

A highly experienced, personable, flexible and collaborative editor and motion graphics designer, Andy has worked with a variety of clients in the corporate and broadcast industries – including Barclays, Bentley, HSBC, KPMG, LV=, Network Rail, North One TV, Shell and Sky.

 

Freelance Visual Effects & Motion Graphics

Chris Chalken

A super talented visual effects and motion graphics designer, Chris can add a little pop, oomph, or whatever other comic-book noises you favour to your production.

Are you looking for a video production company to help with your next project? Get in touch with our MD, Jamie.