In this week’s Meet the Team we talk to Sean and Eryk, our Data Science team. They’ve created our Buy-to-Let Index, and are responsible for collecting and analysing company data.
Hi guys, welcome to the interview! Let’s start by hearing about your experience prior to joining the LendInvest team?
E: Prior to joining LendInvest I worked as a Data Analyst for a social media company, but I mostly focused on academic research (studying neural pathways of speech).
S: I was working as a Financial Services Analyst at Mintel, a UK market intelligence company. Prior to that, I was working at a Business Intelligence company operating from Shanghai.
Tell us a little bit about your job role, what do you do all day?
E: I collect data, clean, analyse, and present it in a useful form. It involves a fair amount of geekery.
S: As the resident data team, we help people communicate with the company data in a smooth and engaging way. Much of my role also aims to maintain and improve the data integrity of the company.
What’s your favourite thing about working at LendInvest?
E: Incredible growth, friendly atmosphere, and possibility to work on diverse projects.
S: Mainly it’s the friendly people in the office. After that it is hard to choose between the decent coffee in the office, the well stocked food and drinks cupboard, the nerf guns, the Xbox, and the recent edition of the ping pong table.
E: Checking emails, tea, and checking data science news.
S: Coffee, e-mail, brainstorming with the team, and a bit of DataCamp.
Top 3 desktop apps you can’t live without?
E: RStudio, Tableau, and AutoHotKey.
S: Tableau, Excel, and SQLPro.
What tabs do you have open on your browser right now?
E: Gmail, GoogleDocs, R-bloggers, and GitHub.
S: Gmail, Flaticon, Slack, and DataCamp.
You’ve created a BTL Index, what was involved in creating that?
E: The first step was gathering data from various sources (Zoopla and Land Registry), then cleaning, merging the files, averaging, and plotting discoveries. A lot of data munging was involved because the files were pretty large and had to be turned into something useful.
What areas do you see as best for Buy-to-Let?
S: Despite the promises of high and stable rental yields from “Inside the M-25” investments, a high initial capital investment also means it won’t appeal to the first time landlord. Instead, areas which don’t require such a hefty initial capital payment may offer an attractive alternative, so it wouldn’t surprise me if cities such as Manchester or Southampton see a lot of BTL activity in the near future.
What will the next big thing on the Internet be?
E: Internet of Things seem to be promising. The amount of data it will generate will be incredible.
S: Blockchain, the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, has great disruptive potential, particularly in the financial services industry where trust, or lack of it, is a big inhibitor when scaling out new technologies. As it is a essentially a unified ledger system, it has the potential to systemise trust.
Uber, black cab, cycle or walk?
E: Motorcycle, but only when the weather is nice.
S: Walking on the weekdays, driving on the weekends.
What’s your favourite drink of choice from our Friday Happy Hour drinks fridge?
Favourite hotspot in London?
E: That would be Southbank at night.
S: Paternoster Square around St.Paul’s is a cool hangout.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
E: “Take notes and name your files clearly” – by some random guy on the Internet.
S: “Always remember what you’re solving for.”