University know-how enables specialist motorbike site to gear up for growth
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Entrepreneur Gary Cheetham has launched an online tool aimed at the second-hand motorbike market, with the assistance of the University of Manchester.
The 21-year-old founded SystemPioneer, which creates innovative content management systems and websites for a range of businesses, in 2016.
Gary and his team of software developers have now created a website – MotorbikeValuations.com – which aims to help users to accurately predict the price of second-hand motorcycles they may be looking to sell or buy.
He needed specialist support to help bring the website to market as it would rely on machine learning – a field of artificial intelligence that uses data and statistical techniques to ‘learn’ and improve performance around a task – to ensure the site’s price predictions were accurate.
Karen Dudley, an innovation advisor at GC Business Growth Hub, introduced Gary to the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester.
This led to a six-month collaboration with university student Anna Komodromou to create the algorithm that would allow the website to accurately predict the prices of motorcycles.
Anna, who was able to use the research as part of her dissertation, was working towards an MSc in Business Analytics and was put forward by her tutors because of her expertise in the area.
Gary said: “Being able to access the expertise and knowledge of someone of Anna’s calibre goes to show that Manchester is a great place to do business – and somewhere where a world-class university can work with a small local business on a real-world business problem, and together create the technology that powers MotorbikeValuations.
“Now we have finally perfected our algorithm, thanks to the help of the university, the sky’s the limit. No other company in this industry has a system like this.”
He believes the unique system devised by Anna will add 20% to his turnover this year.
Anna said: “It was good to be given a chance to apply what I have learned at Manchester Business School as part of my dissertation and create a useful algorithm for a real company.
“It was very challenging for me to work and find an algorithm for accurately forecasting the price of used vehicles.
“The help of Gary and, of course, the guidance of my lecturers, was invaluable in completing this innovative project.”
Karen Dudley of GC Business Growth Hub, added: “This is the start of an ongoing relationship between Gary and the university.
“As an organisation that continually innovates, keeping ahead of competitors by harnessing academic input into future projects will be key to business growth and maintaining a competitive advantage.”
As well as continuing to work on enhancing the new valuation software, Gary is also looking to now start working with graduates from the university’s Computer Science faculty, as well as exploring the possibility of using a similar model in the car industry.
Businesses that are interested in exploring new ways of growing through innovation and collaboration can access specialist fully-funded support at www.businessgrowthhub.com