NearSt, the Google-backed British retail technology start-up aimed at driving more people into physical shops, has raised a further £2 million in funding.
Grosvenor Group, one of the UK’s largest retail property owners, has awarded NearSt £2 million in seed funding “at a time of seismic shifts in how we shop and what it means to be a retailer”.
This brings the total funding throughout 2020 to £5 million, after securing a further £2 million from investors in February, bringing together investments from True Global, YYX Capital and Moscar Capital.
NearSt’s technology links items being listed online on Google Shopping to items stocked in nearby shops, thus encouraging shoppers to visit stores in person.
According to the tech start-up, demand for its services has tripled during lockdown as users flocked online to find out what was in nearby shops before venturing out.
The company, founded in 2015, says it will use the latest round of funding to accelerate uptake by retailers in the UK with a wave of new hires and launch its services internationally.
It has also started working with Facebook in order to help drive the social network’s local shopping capabilities.
“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,” NearSt’s co-founder Nick Brackenbury said.
“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 per cent 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.”