Dutch tech start-up ParkBee has closed a €5 million (£4.4m) funding round to scale its parking business in the UK.

The firm’s tech opens up private car parks to bring affordable and accessible parking at premium spots to the public.

With 60-plus locations in the Netherlands and 20-plus locations in the UK, ParkBee uses smart technology to enable users to open up barriers and doors from RingGo and Parkmobile apps.

The investment, led by German-based Statkraft Ventures, will help the company scale in London and pave the way for expansion around the UK in the near future.

The UK team will grow from ten full-time employees to 25 in the coming months.

“It’s hard to believe that there are so many unused parking spaces in London, whilst parking in London is such a hassle,” said Tom Buchmann, co-founder and managing director of ParkBee.

“In the last two years in the Netherlands, and last months in the UK, we have proven we can open up these hidden locations which are most of the time behind speed gates or barriers.

“By partnering with real-estate owners and our integrated solution in the Parkmobile and RingGo app you can now open-up the barrier or speedgate with a click of a button.”

According to a study published by INRIX, UK drivers spend an average of 44 hours a year searching for parking – in London, the time drivers spend looking for a spot is around 67 hours each year – costing the UK economy more than £23 billion annually in wasted time, fuel and emissions.

Stefan Hulsen, senior investment manager at Statkraft Ventures, said: “ParkBee is a fantastic example of a company providing a solution to a problem witnessed in many cities and large towns.

“While populations in numerous cities are becoming more dense, the infrastructure isn’t necessarily in the right state to deal with an increased demand. By making optimal use of the parking spots that are already available ParkBee opens-up new opportunities to park.

“ParkBee is a prime example of a company enabling cities to become smarter and fairer, while empowering citizens and businesses to improve and solve a problem.”