Soho start-up puts British technology on the map in Thailand

Pointr has secured a six-figure contract to supply its technology for smart indoors to six major airports in Thailand, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Pointr, headquartered in Soho, was founded by a team of computer scientists in 2014 after they spotted a gap in the market for guiding people around large public areas such as hospitals, shopping centres and airports.

The patented technology works by leveraging Bluetooth sensors around a venue which can be used by smartphones to navigate in places where GPS is unreliable. In the UK it is already used in locations such as Harrods and Gatwick Airport.

The company’s most recent supply to Airports in Thailand will see Pointr’s technology installed at six major airports across the country including Bangkok and Phuket International Airports. The technology aims to enhance the passenger experience at each airport by reducing wait time for travellers and directing people to the correct queue and gate.

DIT commercial officers based in Thailand helped Pointr break into the Southeast Asian market by conducting in-depth market research, facilitating introductions to local contacts and accompanying the business to meetings with potential clients.

The six-figure deal is the tech company’s first contract in Thailand and will see its technology installed at the airports for 10 years. The deal is set to increase Pointr’s presence in Asia, with the firm set to hire an additional 10 staff internationally to meet the increase in demand.

Pointr currently employs 40 people across its offices in London, Istanbul and Dubai. The business exports to 14 countries across Europe, Asia and North America and is setting up a local presence in the US to service its growing global customer base the country.

Trevayne O’Brien, Commercial Manager at Pointr, said: “Building a rapport through face-to-face meetings is an important aspect of Southeast Asian business culture. We are a small team, so this was challenging for us at first as we were regularly required to travel half-way across the world.

“Working alongside the advisers at DIT has been hugely helpful in this respect. They’ve introduced us to local contacts in the country who can accompany us to meetings and even attend on our behalf when necessary.

“Exporting has been transformational for us as a business and, strengthened by support of DIT, we’ve secured major international contract during 2018. We’d recommend any business interested in exporting get in touch with DIT to see what possibilities are out there – simply put, there’s no reason why other British start-ups can’t tap similar benefits.”

Parveen Thornhill, Head of London Region at DIT, said: “Innovative British brands like Pointr are at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence and augmented reality, a technology with growing international demand. Just last year the UK government announced a multibillion-pound investment in the technology sector, part of which will support businesses find export success through trade missions. That’s why now is the right time for businesses like Pointr to consider international opportunities.

“I’d encourage any London businesses interested in taking their business global to get in touch. We have a network of expert International Trade Advisers who can offer a range of support including practical advice, training sessions and introductions to valuable business contacts overseas.”

Firms looking for support should call 020 7234 3000 or email export@tradelondon.org.uk. They can also visit great.gov.uk, which has information on live export opportunities and includes general information on exporting and events.