A North East entrepreneur has raised £325,000 for his parking app.

Chris Reed secured the investment from the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia, and TV ‘dragon’ Jenny Campbell.

Reed’s firm ProxiSmart, has introduced the ParkingPerx loyalty app which rewards consumers who spend on the high street with reduced cost parking.

It uses what it calls ‘smart beacons’ in car parks which recognise customers as they approach, removing the need to use ticket machines or enter location codes.

The new funding will be used by the Morpeth-based firm to roll out the system and create six new jobs in the coming year.

ProxiSmart has been named one of the 50 most innovative tech companies in England and Reed was shortlisted for NatWest’s Great British ‘High Street Entrepreneur’ of the Year.

The secured funding after Reed appeared on Dragons’ Den and approached Mercia and the North East Venture Fund.

He explained: “I’d struggled to find the right investors and was ready to give up on the idea, but Mercia showed strong support and then the opportunity to go on Dragons’ Den came up. The reaction from the programme has been brilliant and demonstrated that there was a real appetite for the solution across the UK.”

ProxiSmart is now working in partnership with RingGo, the UK’s largest cashless parking solution providers, and has signed up over 150 national high street brands

James Allsopp, Investment Manager with Mercia, added: “It is great to be able to support Chris with the roll-out of ParkingPerx. Chris has developed a great product that could not only help high streets but also have much wider applications.

“As the business can harvest meaningful information on the movements and habits of people in urban areas, it fits nicely into the current Smart City agenda.”