London-based start-up, Hero, which works with retailers to transform analogue retail space into “smart stores of the future”, has confirmed that it has secured 10 million US dollars in Series A funding to “accelerate” its reinvention of retail.
Led by S28 Capital in San Francisco, with participation from Vectr Ventures in Hong Kong and DIP Capital in London, the investment will be used to "fuel the creation of new innovation that accelerates this digital transformation,” while supporting the company’s strategic growth ambitions, the company said.
As part of the investment, Kent Ho, founder and general partner at S28 Capital, will join the Hero board of directors.
They join existing investors including Yasunobu Kyogoku, former chief investment officer of Fast Retailing and founding partner of Innovation Global Capital, Iain McDonald, non-executive director of Boohoo.com plc and The Hut Group, and the family office of Sir Dickson Poon, chairman of luxury department store Harvey Nichols and Dickson Concepts.
Launched in 2015, Hero aims to transform the role of the store for 21st century retail by creating a formidable advantage against pure-play online retailers, by allowing in-store sales staff to instantly connect with online shoppers via chat and live streaming.
The app has been used by retail staff in thousands of stores across 16 countries, including the UK, US, France, Germany, Japan and Korea, states Hero, within retailers such as Harvey Nichols, Nike, LVMH, Richemont, Levi’s and Gap Inc, along with start-ups like Credo Beauty, the fastest-growing clean beauty retailer in the US.
Innovative retail app closes 10 million Series A funding round
The concept doesn’t just allow retailers to create a hybrid shopping experience for customers by offering them in-store shopping via their smartphone, but also aims to empower retail associates to sell and earn digitally. In November 2018, the top cohort of retail associates made up to four times their monthly salary via Hero, added the tech start-up.
The new investment will help retailers accelerate their digital integration, Hero founder Adam Levene, explains in a blog post on the company’s website: “To find sustained growth, modern stores must be digitally-enabled; to sell online, to motivate staff with new compensation models, to locate and deliver stock faster, to build a 360 view of the customer, to enable effortless payment and seamless returns, to nurture client relationships through clienteling and to ensure that every single conversation — whether in-store or in-person — turns into a sale.
“This round of investment will fuel the creation of new innovation that accelerates this digital transformation, while marking our dedication to building a global company that enables our retail partners to thrive in the long-term — maximising what has always been the physical store’s most unique advantage; the ability to build human connections, now in new ways.”
Image: via Hero's website