HERO® raises $10m as it accelerates digital transformation of retail
HERO®, the London-based tech start-up whose app connects physical retail stores with the digital realm, has competed a $10m Series A funding round.
Led by S28 Capital in San Francisco, with participation from Vectr Ventures in Hong Kong and DIP Capital in London, the round also included investment from prominent strategic investors across retail and technology. As part of the investment, Kent Ho, Founder and General Partner at S28 Capital, joins the company's board of directors.
They will 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 and The Hut Group; and the family office of Sir Dickson Poon, chairman of Harvey Nichols and Dickson Concepts.
HERO co-founder explained: "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 — maximizing what has always been the physical store’s most unique advantage; the ability to build human connections, now in new ways."
HERO enables retailers to connect their online customers with sales associates in physical stores to offer and advice and insight and to close the sale. Levene reports that some retailers who use the app are flexing their opening times around peak online shopping hours, to ensure online shoppers can benefit from the personal interactions with sales associates. Also sales associates can vastly improve their commission earnings by being tapped into the online selling process.
"During quieter trading hours in-store, retail associates use the HERO app and instead of waiting for customers to come in-store, they instantly connect with the millions of online shoppers looking for guidance and inspiration while browsing the retailer’s website," added Levene.
As well as investing in the company, Harvey Nichols was one of the first retailers to adopt HERO for its online "Live Shopping" service, and others include Nike, LVMH, Richemont, Levi’s and Gap, as well as US beauty start-up Credo Beauty. Recently HERO teamed up with footwear retailer Size? and Nike to launch the "size? Experts" initiative to help consumers connect with in-store experts to find the perfect pair of sneakers.