NearSt has raised £2m in seed funding to drive more footfall into bricks and mortar stores.
Founded in 2015 by Max Kreijn and Nick Brackenbury, the duo developed a technology that links products on shop shelves in real-time to nearby customers searching in Google.
The latest funding takes the total raised by NearSt to £3.2m, and brings in finance from notable angel investors Will Hobhouse (Heal’s, Jack Wills, Whittard of Chelsea) and Ben Laurie (Google Research & Machine Intelligence), alongside senior engineers from pioneering AI firm DeepMind.
NearSt will use the cash injection to accelerate uptake by retailers in the UK with a wave of new hires, and launch the start-up’s offering in the US.
Currently sending 5,000 extra customers per month into UK high street stores via its technology, who would have otherwise shopped online, NearSt will also use the new cash injection to grow this to over 100,000 a month by year end, providing a welcome boost for the high street.
“Most of the products we buy online are stocked in a store nearby,” said Nick Brackenbury, co-founder of NearSt. “Until today though, they were invisible to your smartphone, so online was the only easy option. We’re solving that problem for retailers by making it effortless to get their products seen by the millions of local searches happening everyday near their stores.
“The magic of NearSt is how simple it is for a retailer to take advantage of this cutting edge technology. A few minutes and a few clicks is all it takes to get their inventory management system hooked up.”
Shops install a piece of software that automatically connects to any type of shop till or inventory management system. Shortly after, they will start seeing their products appear in local search results, sending nearby shoppers in-store who might otherwise have ordered online.
The technology has seen widespread uptake by British retailers as a low-effort but powerful tool to fight back against the likes of Amazon, with over 30% of independent retailers in some sectors already using the service.