It was the ‘hardest thing I’ve had to do in business’, but a Morpeth resident was smiling after taking part in a well-known BBC business pitch show.
And Chris Reed has made a lot of progress with his location-specific loyalty app that benefits high street shops and customers since securing an offer on Dragons’ Den.
Seeking £80,000 of investment for his ParkingPerx product, he was the last entrepreneur to appear on Sunday’s episode.
After taking questions from the five multi-millionaires, he accepted the offer from banking expert Jenny Campbell – the full amount for a 45.5 per cent stake in the company he founded, ProxiSmart Ltd.
ParkingPerx has already been described as ‘potentially transformational for town centres’ by Liam Maxwell in his role as National Tech Advisor to the Government and the concept won Chris some prestigious awards, including him being one of the 2016 winners in Tech North’s Northern Stars competition and ProxiSmart being named one of the 50 most innovative tech companies in England.
However, he spent several months prior to the filming date for the Dragons’ Den episode trying, but failing, to secure the investment he needed to take ParkingPerx forward.
Chris said: “I was at a pretty low point and almost ready to give up, when the opportunity to appear on Dragons’ Den arose.
“I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about appearing, but thought I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do in business and I came away feeling a bit punch drunk. However, I learned so much from each of the Dragons, even though not all of them offered investment.
“I’ve used their feedback since the show to adapt my strategy and the result has been some significant traction that will accelerate market penetration.
“I was delighted to get an offer from Jenny Campbell, who was incredibly impressive in the Den.
“She really understood what I was trying to achieve and following the filming, she has proven to be a hugely valuable resource, helping me complete important milestones and shape my plans for growth.
“Jenny also introduced me to parking technology leader RingGo.”
ProxiSmart Ltd has successfully secured additional offers of investment and is now working exclusively in partnership with RingGo, the UK’s largest cashless parking solutions provider.
ParkingPerx will hit several pilot town centres over the coming months.
Chris said: “It’s a simple idea – when you spend money in offline, high street businesses, you earn credit that can be accumulated and used to pay for your parking on this or your next visit.
“Merchants can base your reward on how much you spend or even link it to a specific product, range or service.
“There’s no need for ticket machines, no worries about rushing back to your car and no threat of parking tickets.”