Meet the Northern Stars finalists: ProxiSmart takes the pain out of paying for parking

Martin Bryant, October 28, 2016 2 min read

This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.

On 17th November 2016, our Northern Stars final will take place in Manchester. Among the 20 companies pitching will be six from the recent regional heats. As the final approaches, we’re highlighting the winners of those events.

ProxiSmart was one of the two winners in Newcastle, so we spoke to founder Chris Reed to find out more.

Hello ProxiSmart, what’s your elevator pitch?

Our flagship solution ParkingPerx is an innovative solution that removes the barrier to retail car parking. City centres have seen harder times recently. The app lets you get free parking by making qualified purchases in nearby shops. This increases footfall and spending.

We use smart beacons in car parks and merchant stores to automatically log car parking and purchases once you have the app installed. That way we can automatically link your car to what you buy.

ProxiSmart ParkingPerx

What’s it like to be a startup from Newcastle?

There’s quite an innovative scene that I’m just starting to tap into. It’s a good area to be in and around, and there’s lots of support and networking available. Funds available from the North East LEP, like the North East Business Finance Fund. In addition to funding this opens up networking opportunities so you can get introduced to experts in different fields that can help you.

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Universities in Newcastle and Sunderland are turning out talented adults to work in technology, and Sunderland Software Centre is doing a lot of good work in the region.

Previous businesses I’ve been involved with have been based in different places around the UK. I’m proud to be doing this company in Newcastle and employing people here.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re want to deploy our solution in any situation where there’s a relationship between parking and retail spend. Shopping centres, airports and city centres can all benefit.

We’ll grow by rolling out to multiple locations both nationally and internationally. We’ve had interest from UK and Europe.

Why did you enter Northern Stars?

It was a last-minute thing after a colleague made me aware of it. I saw the impact it had on previous winners in terms of lifting their profile. That would be an excellent asset for me at the current stage of the company. It was also a good test of my pitching skills.

What was it like to pitch?

It was nerve-wracking but enjoyable. The audience was a mix of everyone from students through to investors, and the positive feedback gave me a boost. I’ve had lots of congratulatory emails and social media messages too.

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Northern Stars, Newcastle, North East, App & Software Development, Rising Stars, Early Stage