Melbourne retail tech startup success Brauz has secured additional $1 million funding

Melbourne retail tech startup success Brauz has secured additional $1 million funding

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Lee Hardham

Brauz, a personalised retail app making waves in the industry, has announced an additional $1 million in funding from investors, as well as the rapid growth of its local team after just four months since its launch in the App Store.

The additional funding secured last week takes Brauz’s total funding to date to $2.25 million. Brauz is heading to the US in September for its Series A funding round. Founded in 2014, this retail tech start-up integrates digital experiences, like online shopping, into the physical shopping space, like retail stores.

Lee Hardham, Founder and CEO of Brauz said: “We have a one-of-a-kind offering, and people are recognising the potential impact our technology will have on the retail industry. We’re very excited about the next 6 months of growth.”

The second seed funding will be allocated to building Brauz’s technology through research and development, while the Series A funding will help with Brauz’s plans to expand globally.

What exactly does Brauz do?

Brauz’s predictive algorithms help products find shoppers before they even start to look. Based on customer preferences, the app consolidates numerous products, brands and offers into one location, and alerts shoppers on where to find them.

With the simple and affordable Google Cardboard, Brauz’s one-of-a-kind VR technology even allows shoppers to browse their favourite stores and products from the comfort of their own living room.

The Melbourne start-up has also been focusing on building its in-house development team with the best local talent. Brauz started its own development team in September 2016, and already have 7 staff on board.

Lee said: “We’re excited to be building and growing our platform with some of the best talent in the local industry. Having in-house developers has allowed us to innovate faster, meaning we can control our own growth.”

Brauz aims to partner with 2,000 stores by the end of FY18, and 20,000 by 2020. The Brauz app is currently available from the App Store in Beta mode.

The Brauz team
The Brauz team

What next for Brauz?

Anthill recently caught up with Lee for the brief interview below where he shared about where Brauz is headed and how it got to where it stands today.

How does Brauz plan to have 20,000 blended experience stores by 2020, compared to Amazon’s 2020 goal of 2000 stores globally?

“A major catalyst for our growth is the coming of Amazon into the Australian market, it has forced retailers to look for technology that will make their store a part of their customers shopping journey in the future.

“What’s really resonating with the stores and brands we’re talking to is the simplicity of integrating Brauz into their store experience and the affordability of our solution. Technology like ours is traditionally complicated and expensive but with Brauz, store locations are connected from $49/month and we invite brands to partner with Brauz, integrating branded content with stores for free.

“Our focus right now is on our September release, where we’re partnering with a number of big brands who see Brauz as a unique opportunity to support their stockists and physical stores. What retailers and shoppers can expect from Brauz in September is a marketplace that provides a truly personalised shopping experience that will bring customers back into their physical retail stores.

“With Amazon coming into our market we see the tides of retail changing and those who don’t adapt fall risk to being washed away, it just so happens we’ve built the right board to enjoy the ride.”

How Brauz intends to build a healthy marketplace for retailers through providing them with technology, including VR and beacons?

“Brauz helps create a blended marketplace for physical retailers to connect with their target customers in a digital environment by connecting shoppers to brands in local brick and mortar stores.

“Through technologies like VR and beacons, the Brauz app allows customers to discover brands based on the ones they already love, and enables them to follow a product independent of a store, and find it wherever they may be.

“Brauz’s predictive algorithms help products find customers before they even start to look. Based on customer preferences, the app consolidates numerous products, brands and offers into one location.

“Brauz’s beacon technology even notifies customers when they pass a store that sells their favourite brands or products, meaning retailers are drawing in their target customers who share a brand connection.”

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How Lee came to establish the start-up from a background in advertising, already raising $2.25 million in funding?

“In my previous position, I worked closely with some of Australia’s leading retailers, giving me insights into the challenges they faced in an increasingly digital world. I realised the global retail market was a long way behind where it could be in the digital space. This drove me to take a leap, and create Brauz.

“Retailers have always understood the value of building relationships and connecting effectively with customers. But I saw that they were unsure of how to use digital tools to improve what they do.

“I’ve worked over the past four years to make my vision a reality, and believe in using technology as a human resource, not a method of human redundancy. It’s important to me that the company’s products and services all match this vision. For me, it is vital to always stay true to your values.”

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