The pandemic gave rise to both an e-commerce boom and greater public interest in supporting vulnerable local businesses. For the team at Nearby, the goal is twofold: to create an e-commerce one-stop shop solely for neighborhood businesses, and to address climate change by reducing the transportation of goods from store to shopper. The company launched in Oakland, then expanded to the greater Bay Area; it’s now also serving Austin, with plans to expand soon to Charleston, S.C.
When building a new online shopping space for a community, Nearby provides considerable tech support for local stores: Store owners get a spot in their town’s marketplace, and profiles of themselves and their store next to their products. Nearby helps with marketing and social media, order fulfillment, and shipping logistics, too. CEO April Underwood noted in a blog that many customers felt guilty for supporting bigger corporations, but they had no simple way to give back to their community, especially during lockdowns. Nearby, with the support of GV and Obvious Ventures as co-lead investors, hopes to change that.
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GV, Obvious Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Sound Ventures, Moxxie Ventures, Tina Sharkey, Annie Kadavy at Redpoint Ventures