A start-up company from the University of Ulster at Coleraine that has developed an innovative system for valuing property has secured a lucrative deal with a United States company to market the product in North America.

With the help of Invest NI's Northern Ireland International Partnership Programme (NIIPP), Causeway Data Communications (CDC) has formed a strategic alliance with Patriot Properties Inc, a specialist software and service provider based in Lynn, Massachusetts. The American company will market and distribute CDC's spatialest™ appraisal software, the first software to include location as a key part of the property valuation modelling process using novel Geographic Information Systems technology.

The contract was announced by Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of Invest NI, during a visit to the Northern Ireland Technology and Development Centre in Boston. He said: "This is another example of how innovative Northern Ireland companies can achieve international success through taking a strategic approach to marketing. Business-to-business collaboration such as this makes good business sense for Northern Ireland companies and NIIPP has proved to be a highly effective way of marrying local businesses with complementary businesses in North America. The partnership will allow the company to penetrate this new export market quickly, cost-effectively and with the minimum of risk.

“It’s appropriate that we should be announcing this new alliance here today in the Technology and Development Centre as there is a real synergy between the Partnership programme and the Centre, which provides a gateway for innovative Northern Ireland businesses seeking to enter the huge US technology marketplace.”

Adrian Moore, CDC's managing director said: "We're delighted at the outcome of taking part in Invest NI's partnership programme. We developed spatialest ™ after identifying a weakness in the computerised methodologies currently used in the North American property valuation and taxation assessment industry. There was no system on the market that allowed location to be the key factor in the modelling process. Our software, developed over the last two years, addresses that. Moreover, it presents the data in a format that makes it easy to visualise and understand trends and patterns. The software can also be integrated with existing back-office property management systems.

"Hooking up with a United States distributor is a major boost to the company and will allow us to establish ourselves as the leaders in this area of application software development in the lucrative North American property market. This contract gives us a solid foundation for rapid company expansion into other global markets, particularly Europe and South East Asia."

Patriot Properties were impressed with CDC's spatialest™ when they saw it demonstrated at an international conference in Miami last year. The partnership with CDC gives them a competitive edge when bidding for key contracts in the highly competitive Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) market.

CDC became a technology transfer incubator company within the University of Ulster in December 1999. The company focuses on products and service based contract work in the fields of geographic information systems (GIS), telecommunications and internet technologies. It has recently become one of the first tenants of the University of Ulster's Innovation Centre in the Science Research Park at the Coleraine campus. The company regularly uses the facilities of the Northern Ireland Technology and Development Centre in Boston.