Retail technology startup NearSt raises £2m

NearSt, a British retail technology startup that Google is backing to drive more people into the high street, has raised £2m in seed funding to drive more footfall into bricks and mortar stores at a critical time for the high street.

Founded in 2015 by Max Kreijn and Nick Brackenbury, the duo developed a powerful 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.

The round was led by consumer tech specialists, YYX Capital.

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.

“Most of the products we buy online are stocked in a store nearby” says 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. 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.

James Cox, Founding Partner at YYX Capital, added: “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.

Google already see the impact live in-store inventory data can have, and we’re just scratching the surface with the potential this can have for other technology companies. NearSt epitomises the type of next generation business that YYX Capital aim to back; those developing genuine innovations that will transform the way we interact with commerce on a daily basis.”