Welsh app revitalising UK high street to pitch at Buckingham Palace

An app that’s helping to revitalise the ailing British high street has been shortlisted for the people’s choice award at the Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace event.

Developed in South Wales, NearMeNow is one of the innovative technology start-ups chosen to pitch at Buckingham Palace on November 8th. The event will bring together entrepreneurs, investors and technologists from across the country.

The app recently launched in Cardiff as part of the Join the High Street Revolution campaign and gives the city’s independent traders a means to promote, advertise and connect with customers.

Founded by former risk analyst turned maths teacher Victoria Mann, she’s planning to roll out the app to other parts of the UK next year. Her aim is to help counter the alarming rate of high street closures and slow rate of new stores.

“The app will unite and upskill independent retailers in the high street with the tools to fight back. Think of it as a WhatsApp for traders,” said Victoria.

“As well as being my capital city, Cardiff is ideal because it’s renowned for its bustling arcades and independent traders, and hot on its heels we’ll be introducing NearMeNow to cities around the UK in 2019.”

With the app, traders can choose between pay-as-you-go and annual subscriptions. It allows them to schedule, edit and duplicate adverts online for maximum exposure – and notifies users of offers and deals available  locally. 

Victoria came up with the idea in a hairdressing salon on a weekday morning, surrounded by four hairdressers and three empty chairs. She said: “I thought there must be a way to fill those chairs and attract new customers at the same time.

“An app that would push out current shop front advertising into the palms of the hands of each smart phone user nearby. I knew it would benefit so many other businesses on the high street who need to get the word out to the local community and communicate with them on a responsive and immediate basis.”