This week we caught up with another of the three winners from our Pitch@Palace event here at The Wrexham Enterprise Hub. NearMeNow have been based over with our friends at Welsh Ice and were one of two businesses from Ice who came home crowned (royal pun intended) as winners.
1.Can you describe what it is that your business does and what inspired the idea?
NearMeNow is an app that brings all local independent, high street businesses together in one place online. Pushing shop front advertising beyond traditional boundaries into the palms of the hands of smartphone users in the local community, whether they’re at home, in the office or in a coffee shop nearby. Helping customers make the decision on where to shop before leaving home and ensuring that those already on the high street take advantage of every opportunity before leaving, keeping people shopping local for longer.
With a messaging feature that has been dubbed as ‘the WhatsApp for business’, customers can send messages by simply touching the business’ icon on a map, removing the need to search for the business’ telephone number or their social media account. To complete the digital toolkit, a transactional feature is included to enable customers to remotely secure high street goods or services.
Once on the high street the NearMeNow app transforms into a truly interactive digital experience through augmented reality.
Advertising appears as tiles overlaid on the real-world camera view, allowing customers to interact with their surroundings. NearMeNow’s location-based functionality allows the same app to be used from town to town, allowing users to find and support independent businesses wherever they visit, nationwide or globally.
2. Obviously you’re fresh off of a victory at Pitch@Palace, why did you choose to enter that specific competition?
Following the launch of a pilot version of the NearMeNow app in Cowbridge in May 2018, we received early success with 500 downloads within a fortnight and became the Welsh Government’s App of the Week within a week of launching.
Whilst the benefits for one high street are vast, the impact of multiple high streets collaborating and coordinating their efforts in one space would have a significant economic impact. Whilst many other awards and competitions would help get the messages out to high streets about the collaborative town to town element of our digital high street app, the additional opportunities that Pitch@Palace offer through introductions, connections and mentorship made this competition an obvious choice.
3. Looking back now, what was the most nerve racking part of the day, the actual pitch or waiting for the results?
Definitely the pitch! I’ve had a phobia of public speaking since secondary school, so I always try to look for opportunities to do it; it’s meant to then get easier over time, but I’m yet to see any results! When you include some dignitaries, key influencers, some trumpets and HRH The Duke of York, the notes that I took as a comfort blanket became essential. I knew the pitch like the back of my hand but at that moment you’re left on stage and the room falls silent your mind goes blank.
4. Now that your official winners with a royal seal of approval what advice would you give to anyone planning to enter Pitch@Palace in the futures?
Write out your pitch word for word. When you’ve learnt it, make simple hand sized, written notes. Don’t rely on technology for notes and address the room as you speak.
5. I know that you’ve already seen benefits from your time at Pitch@Palace, what’s life been like since the win?
We didn’t have time to stop. We tried to fit in some interviews and articles where possible, but we were straight back to work the next day. We were thrilled to be offered the exact introduction that I’d requested during my ask from someone following the live feed on Facebook, as well as making some unexpected connections and opportunities on the day.
6. Now for the final question, it’s the one we’ve all been dying to ask. What did you do to celebrate the victory?
I’m a single mum to wonderful 12 year old, and whilst I work tirelessly to build a future for us, I try to include her in the journey and share successes and challenges. I celebrated by video-calling her first before calling anyone else and sharing the news. When she returned from my parent’s house, they’d given her a bottle of fizz which she proudly presented to me, but best of all was a great big ‘cwtch’ as we say in Wales. Family is everything.
That extends to the NearMeNow family too, we’re extremely close. On the day we had to video-call our 3rd musketeer and senior team member, Sara who had been following on social media from NearMeNow HQ. We haven’t planned anything as yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves raising a glass together!
If you’re inspired, want to work with or simply say congratulations to the team at NearMeNow then you can check out their various ports of contact at them at NearMeNowApp across various social media platforms.
Thanks for reading and check back in next week for more inspiring & innovative stories from here at The Wrexham Enterprise Hub.