Sheffield car tracking firm breaks into China

Sheffield car tracking company The Floow has signed an agreement with a Chinese software company - as it targets the world’s biggest market.

Monday, 19th October 2015, 5:29 pm
Rear from left: Vice minister Zhuang Rongwen, digital minister Ed Vaizey. Front: Zhang Chunhui, General Manager of Carsmart and Aldo Monteforte, The Floow co-founder

Co-founder Aldo Monteforte today signed a ‘letter of intent’ with the boss of CarSmart, surrounded by ministers at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in London.

It coincides with a state visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping to the UK and comes a month after The Floow announced a huge deal to fit its technology into millions of Renault and Nissan cars.

The firm’s tracking software produces data about the way cars are driven. It sells the information to insurance companies who use it to set premiums and give discounts for safe behaviour and reduced emissions.

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The signing is the first step towards a joint venture between The Floow and CarSmart, which specialises in car diagnostics software and has 3.2m customers.

The Floow founder Aldo Monteforte said: “It is a significant development and testament to the hard work that has gone in to developing relations between the UK and China – especially where technology is concerned.”

The partnership has been supported by UK Trade & Investment and follows The Floow’s recent involvement on a business tour of South East Asia led by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Digital economy Minister Ed Vaizey, said: “In the last five years our exports to China have almost doubled, jumping by around 10 per cent last year alone.

“We want this to continue, and are working closely with industry to ensure the right conditions are in place to foster this. Increasing exports will drive job creation and economic growth, and the Floow is a fantastic example of how the Northern Powerhouse is helping deliver this.”

Mark Robson, UKTI regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This pioneering partnership with CarSmart epitomises what can be achieved by Yorkshire companies when they seize the opportunity to trade overseas.

“The Floow is an exemplar of the technological expertise and specialist talent and skills based in Yorkshire and being made available to the benefit of markets abroad.”

The Floow - pronounced ‘flow’ - is based on Joiner Street on the Wicker, Sheffield, and has deals with insurers including Direct Line Group, RSA, AIG, and AAA.

It employs 50 scientists, engineers, designers and support staff and was established three years ago.