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Enterprise Hub Network - Case History

Solent Enterprise Hub
Arthur Monks

Path Intelligence


Company Background

The era of clip-board wielding researchers looking to survey passing shoppers could be a thing of the past as Path Intelligence brings market research into the 21st century with their unique tracking technology.

Their FootPath system automatically surveys the behaviour and preferences of large numbers of anonymous shoppers, quickly providing valuable information for the client.

Technology developed by the Portsmouth-based company detects mobile phone signals, enabling the user to track the virtual path that each phone takes as its owner shops, without invading their privacy.

Toby Oliver developed the prototype in Boston while his wife Sharon Biggar was doing a business degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the duo started the company in 2004.

The secure system, the first of its kind in Britain, can provide information on which retail outlets a shopper is visiting in a mall. Many shopping venues currently rely on annual surveys of a small subset of their customers to obtain this information, whereas Path Intelligence’s FootPath system works continuously, automatically and samples a much larger group of shoppers.

The information can be used to improve in-mall events, public transport links, day-to-day running of the venue and to tell the management which retailers are the most popular.

The company now has seven employees.

Work with Enterprise Hub

After unsuccessfully trying to get a trial with a shopping centre, Solent Enterprise Hub stepped in and linked Path Intelligence up with Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth Harbour. The breakthrough pilot led to the company becoming a client.

The Hub suggested they enter a SEEDA competition and mentored them for the presentation. They beat over 50 new start-ups to win the first prize of 25,000 pounds.

The Hub also played a pivotal role in connecting them with people who could help the business including Finance South East and IP lawyers as well as offering general business advice.

Commenting on help received by the Solent Enterprise Hub, Path Intelligence co-founder Sharon Biggar said:

“The biggest thing for me is they act as a sounding board. You have someone who is very familiar with what new companies are going through. Most start-ups are doing it for the first time and The Hub know who to speak to, such as the right lawyers and accountants. There is someone there in the early days to talk about strategy.”

Solent Enterprise Hub Director Arthur Monks says: “I was able to find Path Intelligence’s first customer by getting the attention of the chief executive and also suggest that they enter a SEEDA competition which they then won. The Hub was able to give business advice and connect them to various people – they are well on their way now.”

What’s next

Path Intelligence now has interest in its system from shopping centres, retailers and mass transport stations around the world. It hopes to capitalise on its current success with continued growth and future developments based on its unique technology.

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