ParkBee, co-founded by British entrepreneur Tom Buchmann, has raised €5m to scale its operations in the UK.

The company, founded in Amsterdam, already has a team in London but will look to expand its operations in the capital before embarking on a nationwide expansion.

It’s estimated that drivers spend up to 67 hours every year looking for parking spaces in London alone. ParkBee seeks to fix the problem of parking in urban areas by leveraging smart technology to make unused spaces available to the general public.

ParkBee has already partnered with firms including JLL and BT. It’s also integrated with RingGo and Parkmobile app, expanding its reach to more than 12 million users.

The investment round was led by German-based Statkraft Ventures, backed by the Statkraft Group, credited with being one of Europe’s largest generators of renewable energy.

Buchmann, the co-founder and managing director of ParkBee, went on to note: “‘It’s hard to believe that there are so many unused parking spaces in London, whilst parking in London is such a hassle.

“In the last two years in the Netherlands, and last months in the UK, we have proven we can open-up these hidden location, that are most of the time behind speed gates or barriers. By partnering with real-estate owners and our integrated solution in the Parkmobile and RingGo app you can now open-up the barrier or speedgate with a click of a button.”

ParkBee says its technology is fully compatible with any parking system. Once it installs its hardware at the chosen location, the location can be opened remotely via the Parkmobile and RingGo apps, enabling the owner of the unused parking space to manage its occupancy.

Stefan Hülsen, senior investment manager at Statkraft Ventures, explained why he decided to invest in the business: “ParkBee is a fantastic example of a company providing a solution to a problem witnessed in many cities and large towns.

“While populations in numerous cities are becoming more dense, the infrastructure isn’t necessarily in the right state to deal with an increased demand.

“By making optimal use of the parking spots that are already available ParkBee opens-up new opportunities to park. ParkBee is a prime example of a company enabling cities to become smarter and fairer, while empowering citizens and businesses to improve and solve a problem.”

ParkBee was set up in 2013 by Buchmann and Jian Jiang.