NearSt backed by Grosvenor Group

Tech start-up NearSt has secured £2m seed funding from Grosvenor Group to drive footfall boosting technology.

British retail technology business, NearSt, has raised £2m in seed funding from international property company, Grosvenor Group, to continue to grow the business.

The London-based start-up saw a tripling in demand from shoppers looking for local product availability in 2020 as the pandemic changed the way and where people shopped.

Founded in 2015 by Max Kreijn and Nick Brackenbury, the duo developed technology that makes products on physical store shelves visible to shoppers searching online nearby. Businesses like Google use the technology to show real-time local product availability directly in search results.

As millions more people turned their attention online during Covid, NearSt’s technology helped redirect them back to the nation’s high streets – locating items they were searching for online in nearby bricks-and-mortar stores. NearSt also recently started working with Facebook to help drive the social network’s local shopping capabilities forward. The tech is helping shoppers realise that buying local is often faster and easier than ordering on Amazon and providing a welcome boost for many high street retailers.

Marking Grosvenor Group’s first direct investment into the tech sector, the international property company is already using NearSt’s technology across it’s Mayfair and Belgravia estate, with plans to expand internationally. 

The British retail tech start-up has seen a 3-fold increase in local product search demand throughout 2020, and 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 internationally.

“NearSt’s funding comes at a time of seismic shifts in how we shop and what it means to be a retailer.” said co-founder Nick Brackenbury. “We all know that the pandemic has driven shopping behaviours online; what’s often overlooked are the millions of people now going online to search for things locally on the high street. We’ve witnessed extraordinary growth in ‘local-availability’ searches throughout 2020. In the first lockdown customers searching for products nearby surged 620% compared to February levels, before levelling off at a 270% increase between July and September. While this most recent lockdown has driven another 500% surge, what’s clear is that shoppers are getting used to going online to find things in the local businesses they prefer to buy from. Online shopping is often positioned as the death knell for the high street – we think it’s far from this, and will rather be the foundation of a vibrant and healthy future for brick-and-mortar shops.”

With almost a third of all Google searches relating to locationand over 80% of all retail spending still taking place in physical shops, NearSt believes there is a lot to win in the high street’s fight against the online giants.

Ian Mair, Managing Director of Digital Innovation at Grosvenor Group, added“Digital technologies and the changing customer expectations will radically change the property industry over the next decade. Making it easier for customers to find items they are looking for in local shops will encourage them on to their local high street rather than ordering online. We have already seen the benefits of NearSt on Grosvenor’s London Estate and as part of our wider innovation agenda across the Grosvenor Group, we will look to roll this out to other retailers in the locations that we operate. This is a multi-billion dollar market that technology has barely touched, and NearSt has the potential to truly transform how we all interact with physical retail.” 

Retailers who are interested in joining should visit NearSt.

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