Dragon’s Den guru backs ForWhereiAm venture

From left, Shaf Rasul, forWhereiAm creator Nazish Aslam and Athif Sarwar. Picture: Ian Jacobs
From left, Shaf Rasul, forWhereiAm creator Nazish Aslam and Athif Sarwar. Picture: Ian Jacobs
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AN ELECTRONICS engineer has secured financial backing along with the mentoring support of an online Dragons’ Den guru for her “groundbreaking” marketing tool.

ForWhereiAm is the brainchild of Nazish Aslam, a graduate of Heriot-Watt University, who went on to work for FTSE-100 chip developer ARM.

She has developed tech­nology that creates a real-time message broadcast network, connecting businesses and ­organisations with consumers. It allows interaction with ­individuals based on where they are, down to their postcode.

The venture is being backed by tech start-up specialist Peerless Investments, chaired by Athif Sarwar, the son of former MP and cash-and-carry tycoon Mohammad Sarwar.

The Peerless board includes Shaf Rasul, one of the “dragons” in the online version of the popular BBC business show. It also benefits from the know-how of entrepreneur Andrew Gordon, who founded Advanced MP3 Players in 2001 and went on to establish Digital Audio Distribution (DAD) five years ago.

Aslam, who left ARM to start her own business, said: “Often you don’t know what you are searching for in the local area but would appreciate knowing about, say, any particularly great offers or transport service disruptions.

“There’s so much information noise out there – sometimes you just want to cut that out and source the filtered, localised information that you really need by getting it sent straight to you.

“With forWhereiAm, you can now see all of the announcements or offers that are of relevance to you on your own doorstep. It brings the best parts of the high street directly to you and places it in the palm of your hand, encouraging local business and greater footfall.”

Sarwar said that the so-called “hyper-local” marketing tool also had potentially huge applications across the public sector.

He said: “I have been absolutely blown away by Nazish’s level of ingenuity in developing and patenting this incredible technology that, among its many potential applications, could radically change retail behaviour.

“We’re very excited to be part of it, and will now help to fully realise the project by giving Nazish the full depth of our extensive experience.”

Gordon, whose DAD venture distributes digital audio products throughout the UK, said forWhereiAm had global ­potential.

“This technology’s breadth and scope for both commercial and government applications is tremendously exciting. Indeed, we believe it could be the missing link that bridges the gap between current ecommerce and high street retailing challenges.” He said that Peerless Investments was on the lookout for “other hi-tech opportunities”.

Rasul, whose core business interests include E-Net Computers, which he set up in 2000, added: “Nazish is an extremely talented individual and the Peerless team are delighted to have teamed up with her in the joint hope of realising her ambitions.”