SA’s ProximityID changes how venues engage with customers

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South African startup ProximityID was conceptualised on a balcony in Sandton, Johannesburg in December 2014, with the goal of eliminating the need for larger and larger wallets.

Co-founders Wayne Gluckmann and Dov Halpern were frustrated by the continued need for larger wallets arising from the increasing number of cards in the market.

“We came to the realisation that since we lived in such an advanced era this was unnecessary, and alternative means of consumer engagement and identification could be used through existing and new technologies giving greater insight into consumers, staff and assets,” Gluckman told Disrupt Africa.

Their solution was ProximityID, which brings a digital intelligence experience to real world surroundings, connecting locations and brands with information about their users. By placing Proximity receivers and beacons throughout any physical location, the startup identifies people and places while providing unique insights into trends.

“Our services extend from staff and asset monitoring, mall and customer analytics, all the way to indoor navigation for public facilities to assist all types of users as well as to empower the visually impaired,” Gluckman said.

“We are seeing an increase in companies starting to use their own infrastructure to gather additional insights into their environments. Whilst Proximity is able to provide its own infrastructure we are also able to partner with third parties, who have existing infrastructure, in order to gather this micro-location information, and Proximity is able to facilitate the aggregation of these additional data sources and generate unparalleled solutions to our business partners, giving them detailed insights and exception reports.”

The company was funded at the prototype phase by Synthesis Software Technologies, and raised funding from Tritech Media in 2016 to grow the business into new customer and market segments.

Gluckman said at first uptake was slow.

“This was a result of the technology being “new” and “untested”. We convinced our first few sites through the successful implementation of Proof of Concepts, and our growth has largely been a result of word of mouth – which has resulted in a dramatic increase in uptake in recent months,” he said.

ProximityID is currently focusing on South Africa, in order to hone its skills, technology and analytics for multiple market segments and make everything replicable and robust enough to implement into new markets.

Gluckman said it had immediate plans for international expansion, with the startup targeting one or two African markets, primarily in the retail precinct sector, with some of its South African business partners. It also has intentions of launching in one sector in the United States (US).

“ProximityID makes money through our Platform as a Service (PaaS), and our revenues are generated based on the solutions and amounts of information required by our various customers,” said Gluckman.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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