Retail tech startup NearSt secures £2m to help drive more people to high street shops

David Prior's picture

A London-based retail tech start-up that is aiming to drive more people to the high street has secured £2m in seed funding.

Founded five years ago by Max Kreijn and Nick Brackenbury, NearSt's technology links products on shop shelves to nearby customers searching in Google.

Shops install a piece of software that automatically connects to any type of shop till or inventory management system, and shortly after their products will start to appear in local search results.

The latest round, which takes NearSt's total funding to £3.2m, has involved investment from angel investors Will Hobhouse (Heal’s, Jack Wills, Whittard of Chelsea) and Ben Laurie (Google Research & Machine Intelligence) alongside senior engineers from AI firm DeepMind. The round was led by YYX Capital.

Co-founder Nick Brackenbury said: “Most of the products we buy online are stocked in a store nearby. Until today though, they were invisible to your smartphone, so online was the easy option. We’re solving that problem for retailers by making it effortless to get their product seen by the millions of local searches happening everyday near their stores.”

James Cox, founding partner at YYX Capita, added: “Many people presume ecommerce signals the death knell for the high street, but over 90% of all purchases still happen in-store globally. This is a multi-trillion dollar market that technology has barely touched, and NearSt has the potential to truly transform how we all interact with physical retail."