Our Mission:

LandLink catalyzes efficient decision making in urban development through data analytics and consulting services that are innovative, affordable, and personal.

Our Vision:

LandLink seeks to make data analytics accessible for urban development organizations of all sizes by creating a low-cost model of economic impact consultation.

Our Values:

LandLink believes that providing key changemakers with better data helps build stronger communities. We strive to offer high quality analytics at an affordable rate, to ensure that the right insights are available to everyone.


Founders

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Economics Director

Aaron Scherf

Aaron's mission is to empower local changemakers with innovative technology and data solutions. His interest in urban development and economics began in Macon, Georgia, where he led a research project on the city's transportation infrastructure. Since then he's developed data solutions for a microfinance company in South Africa, explored the property markets of favelas in Brazil, and conducted research on refugee housing strategies in Germany. Now his dream is to make cutting edge analytics available to everyone working to build stronger communities. Beyond his role as lead economist at LandLink, Aaron studies development and urban economics at the Universität Heidelberg in Germany.

 

Education

MERCER UNIVERSITY
B.B.A. International Business, Finance, and Economics, Summa Cum Laude '17

 

Activities & Affiliations

  • USAID Payne International Development Fellow
  • Fulbright Scholar - Research in Heidelberg, Germany
  • Humanity in Action Fellow - Amsterdam Program
  • Stamps Foundation Leadership Scholar
 

Technology Director

Brandon Hancock

Brandon has a passion for solving complex problems with creative technology. A Georgia native, Brandon came to Mercer University as a Presidential Scholar to study electrical engineering, but soon fell in love with coding. He has served as captain for the Binary Bears, Mercer's coding team, and won multiple programming competitions. Brandon is proficient in Python, Java, C#, R, and web design, and plans on applying all of his coding skills to create innovative solutions at LandLink, including machine learning, big data, and visualization technologies.  While serving as director of technology at LandLink, Brandon is also finishing his senior year at Mercer University, and plans to stay in Macon to undertake a Master of Engineering degree next year.

 

Education

MERCER UNIVERSITY
B.S.E. Electrical Specialization, '18

 

Activities & Affiliations

  • Junior Programming Competition Champion
  • Georgia Tech Research Institute Intern
  • Mercer University Engineering Honors
 

Operations Director

Andrew Eck

Andrew is a serial entrepreneur focused on bringing communities together through music and technology. After founding 3 businesses and 2 nonprofits before graduating from Mercer in 2016, Andrew knows a few things about directing nimble startup teams. Andrew's background in electrical engineering gives him a strong foundation in software design and project management, while his entrepreneurial drive makes Andrew a constant source of energy and advice on the LandLink team. Andrew is excited to apply his business skills as director of operations to keep LandLink focused on delivering high quality analytics services.

 

Activities & Affiliations

  • President of Georgia Artisan & Macon Productions
  • Managing Director of the 5/4 Music Space
  • Board Member of SparkMacon & Friends of Macon Music

Education

MERCER UNIVERSITY
B.S.E. Electrical Specialization, '16


Our Story

Like all innovative ideas, LandLink began with a problem. Property is the foundation to our cities and our lives, but understanding the forces that shape urban communities is becoming increasingly more difficult in the digital economy. Technology is making more data available to community advocates, but interpreting that data is often difficult, expensive, or time consuming. Urban development professionals are busy building their communities, meeting with partners and residents, and planning new initiatives. Volunteers often lack the training to conduct complex analyses, but outside consultants are too expensive to hire for anything but big projects or strategic plans. The inaccessibility of rigorous data analysis means that many key decisions are made with obsolete or incomplete information, reducing the effectiveness of development initiatives and limiting the efficiency of program budgets. The studies and assessments which are available rely on complex jargon, leaving it up to development professionals to translate the academic terminology into understandable terms for residents and stakeholders. All of these factors prevent citizens from effectively taking part in their development of their own communities. The result is all too often a concentration of planning in a small circle of authority, creating divisions in our cities when there should be unified progress.

We created LandLink to change that model. Our vision is to make urban data analysis more available and understandable for all. We believe that the champions in our communities should have access to the most advanced analytics technology available, at a rate that even the smallest nonprofits and local government agencies can afford. We aspire to become a long-lasting partner in each of our communities, gaining an understanding of the unique culture of every city and client so that we can offer personalized insights for every project. Urban development is about more than spreadsheets and zoning regulations; it's people that drive our cities. Here at LandLink we want to become the connection between your organization's work and your city's data, to deliver insights that everyone can understand.

Our passion for community development and data analysis began in the heart of Macon, Georgia. Aaron Scherf, one of the company's co-founders, arrived in Macon just as the city's revitalization efforts gained steam. The downtown business district was attracting more shops and restaurants, resulting in the perennial urban problem, a lack of convenient parking spaces. During his first summer in the city Aaron became an intern for NewTown Macon, the development organization responsible for powering downtown's revival, and conducted a research study on parking availability. The data became an important component in the city's transportation strategy, but it was the time Aaron spent exploring the alleyways and parking decks of the city that inspired his commitment to urban development. That same summer Aaron met Andrew Eck, another future LandLink cofounder, and together the two launched their first company, a pop-up concert business called Corner Concerts. The venue for the first show was none other than the top of the parking deck Aaron had spent so many hours recording license plates. The research Aaron conducted that summer showed him how development worked behind the scenes, but the community that gathered on that parking deck to listen to local bands is what drove him and Andrew to dedicate their lives to urban revitalization.

In the three years that followed both Aaron and Andrew took on many new roles and responsibilities, but they maintained their commitment to community development. Aaron went on to conduct more advanced research on microfinance lenders in South Africa, property markets in the favelas of Brazil, and refugee housing conditions in Germany. Andrew expanded Corner Concerts from an events business into a sound equipment rental company, now called Macon Productions, then launched an independent recording studio and band incubator, all while running a reclaimed furniture startup called Georgia Artisan. Both had a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and urban development, but it wasn't until Aaron returned from his second summer in South Africa that they realized the tremendous need for a new type of economic consulting service in cities like Macon.

In January of 2017 Aaron met Brandon Hancock, a fellow student at Mercer University and talented software engineer, and together the two founded LandLink Systems. The original purpose of the company was to develop a new method of securing property title information in developing countries like South Africa, where Aaron had witnessed the instability and fear felt by those without secure ownership of their homes. After pitching their idea at the Social Enterprise Conference Pitch Competition at Harvard University and then winning startup funding at The Next Big Idea at the Mercer Innovation Center, Aaron and Brandon decided they needed more experience in property markets and big data technology before they could develop a full property registry solution. With Andrew's help as their third founder, the team shifted the focus of LandLink from parcel security to data analytics. The team's vision of helping create more secure, equitable urban communities hasn't changed, but we at LandLink realized that we need to focus on our own hometowns before traveling halfway across the world.

Since then LandLink has begun offering our comprehensive data analytics services to urban development firms. In our first four months we have conducted two impact analyses for the Historic Macon Foundation and NewTown Macon. The first project measured the impact of the historic preservation organization's housing investments in the residential neighborhood of Beall's Hill, while the second project assessed the value added to Macon by loft apartment developments in the downtown business district. Our team was very excited to work with such renowned partners for our first consulting projects and look forward to partnering with more of Macon's champions to help bring data analytics to the soul of the south. As we develop more sophisticated machine learning algorithms and automated data techniques we expect to expand quickly across Georgia and the southeastern United States, partnering with nonprofits and local governments in cities from Savannah to Washington, D.C. Our vision is to one day make powerful data analytics an accessible tool for urban organisations of every size, to help drive more informed, efficient development in America and beyond.