NearSt raises £2 million in new funding, Grosvenor becomes backer
UK retail technology start-up NearSt has raised a further £2m in funding that includes new backing from property giant Grosvenor.
The latest funding, which will be used "to fuel footfall into bricks and mortar stores at a critical time for physical retailers” takes the total raised by the Google-backed business to £5m.
Lasted investors include Grosvenor Group, retail specialist True Global and consumer tech specialists YYX Capital and Moscar Capital.
NearSt said it has seen a tripling in demand from shoppers seeking out local product availability in 2020 “as the pandemic shifts traditional shopping behaviours online, including the way people shop with local stores”.
It claims the tech is helping shoppers realise that buying local is often faster and easier than ordering online and providing a welcome boost for luxury boutiques such as Creed, Christopher Kane and Hirsh.
Grosvenor said it is supporting the retail technology business in driving more people onto the high street, marking its "first direct investment into the tech sector". The company said it is already using NearSt’s technology across its Mayfair and Belgravia estate, "with plans to expand internationally".
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.
“We are putting the customer at the heart of our thinking and are creating innovative ways to make the physical shopping experience more efficient and enjoyable. 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".
NearSt co-founder Nick Brackenbury said: “NearSt’s funding comes at a time of seismic shifts in how we shop and what it means to be a retailer. 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".
He added: “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”.
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