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Entrepreneurship Act. 22 Aug 2017

Proximus — the Spanish 'startup' that analyzes your shopping in the supermarket

startup shopping application innovation techology spain creativity bbva

Proximus is a startup from the Business Incubator of the Science Park of the University Carlos III of Madrid, which provides valuable information to supermarkets, from promotions that attract customers to the route followed inside the store and what products they stop at.

All this is possible thanks to a chip that is installed on shopping trolleys and shopping baskets, which emits a shortwave signal via Bluetooth to a set of receivers placed on the roof of the establishment that send information to the cloud. This makes it possible to know the position and dwell time of each customer, so it can be ascertained in real time in what section of the store there are more customers or how fast they are charging at the tills.

Furthermore, all the information is stored directly on a website where the user can find flow maps or  heat maps of the supermarketProximus was created in 2013 by 3 young Spaniards, Alex Martin, PhD in Artificial Intelligence, Marco Doncel, computer engineer and Jorge Bueno, PhD in Robotics and also CEO of the company.

The platform was the first Spanish startup to go through the Techstars accelerator (leading entrepreneurial accelerator in the US) and was awarded 300,000 euros of funding to expand its business plan. Jorge Bueno explains that "The business model and product fits perfectly with the needs of our customers. It took many hours to understand how we could make the most of an emerging technology and apply it in such a specific sector like offine retail. Of course the technical part is extremely complex, but that was the only thing we knew for sure when we started."

In terms of the utility of the startup, Jorge Bueno notes that "At Proximus we have created a platform that is sufficiently versatile to be used by retail chains as well as by brands. We acquire a great deal of information daily about what happens inside the store and we show it to each party so that they can increase sales, reach their customers better or simply assess what it costs to have a product on a particular shelf. All this can be alerted as rules so that Proximus helps you monitor what happens".

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Proximus is a startup from the Business Incubator of the Science Park of the University Carlos III of Madrid.

Bueno added that "For example, if we have too much traffic in a specific area of the store, we can alert the store manager to send more staff to the area with the intention that customers are served correctly. In the case of brands we can provide them with precise information on the behavior patterns of customers that show interest in their products regardless of whether they end up buying them or not."

The tool has been operational for over a year and has multinationals and big brands as customers. It is certainly true that the startup has been well received in the market and in this regard the CEO of the company states that "So far this year we have estimated that our turnover will be five times the figure from last year." He also adds that “The US is a huge market where business figures in the physical retail sector are much larger than in Europe and therefore encourage us to move part of the commercial activity there. We're not in a hurry to open an office there, but we're aware that it's necessary".

The CEO of Proximus sums up his business by saying, "We make a great effort to complete our analytics with new features that make the response to a question: What's happening in my stores?” even more understandable.