Digital Festival shining spotlight on Leeds's technical prowess

AN AUTOMOTIVE data company which added nearly 100 staff last year is expanding overseas.

Leeds-based CAP HPI is launching a new operation in France where it will continue to supply vehicle valuation and provenance data.

The company, based at Bond Court in the city centre has operated in Leeds for more than 30 years and has grown quickly in recent year, having recruited 90 people between July 2016 and Jan 2017.

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It now employees over 260 staff and has appointed Guillaume Heron as France forecast editor to oversee the beginnings of its international expansion.

Mr Heron will work with an international team of editors to lead analysis of one of the largest car markets in Europe.

He has previously held senior roles with Blue Chip firms, most recently with Volkswagen Group as used car and residual value pricing manager.

Dylan Setterfield, International Forecast Manager at CAP HPI said: “Guillaume has great insights into the sector and brings a passion for data to this important role”

The success has been driven in the main by increasing volumes and complexity of data in the automotive industry.

Initially used car values were delivered in a printed ‘Black Book’, today they are served in real-time by apps, APIs and the web.

To facilitate the work the company has become home to a team of data scientists, product designers and developers to provide solutions, with bosses saying they chose to remain in Leeds owing to the availability of data and digital skills in the city and surrounding region.

The company aims to work with companies across automotive manufacturing, retailing, finance, insurance and fleet sectors to use the code to develop applications that help them work more efficiently and profitably.

Martin Verrelli, global business development director at CAP HPI, said: “At CAP HPI, we work with a wide range of digitally enabled businesses that use our data to drive their products.

“As we expand globally, it has unlocked their businesses in a way that was impossible only a few years ago.

“We believe data is the new fuel for the motor industry and a single global code will help the industry drive innovation and growth throughout the vehicle life cycle. Data led businesses will be able to scale internationally in a fraction of the time and with much less cost.

“Leeds has a rich digital talent pool, and the local universities and colleges also provide excellent access to the next generation of skills and thinking. Anyone thinking of growing a digitally focused business should get involved with the local tech and data communities.”

CAP launched in 1979 in Skipton, while HPI’s history can be traced back to 1938. HPI provides provenance details on a car such as mileage and accident history, while CAP deals with technical specifications and also past, present and future valuations of a vehicle.

The group was formed in the Autumn of 2015 following a merger of CAP and HPI.

CAP Automotive was acquired by Solera, provider of risk and asset management software and services to the automotive industry, in November 2014. Solera had previously bought HPI in 2008 and, due to the similarity of the customers that both businesses target, the decision was taken to merge both.

The recent emissions scandal at VW has had a positive impact on CAP HPI as motorists pay more attention to vehicle details

Solera is active in over 75 countries across six continents.

In a recent study, Leeds outperformed Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh as a base for growing businesses.

It found that central Leeds has 81 fast-growing firms with a combined turnover of £2.3bn.