Scots 'Tinder retail platform' nets six-figure boost

An online platform described as Tinder for retail buyers and product suppliers – whose high-street customers include John Lewis, Tesco and TK Maxx – has secured a six-figure investment.

Coyle says the firm helps retailers find new trends and products. Picture: Studio Cee Photography.
Coyle says the firm helps retailers find new trends and products. Picture: Studio Cee Photography.

Glasgow-based Product Guru has netted the £300,000 boost from Asia-based retail technology investor Belmond Capital, Scottish retailer Scotmid and Scottish Enterprise.

The technology platform allows retailers’ buyers to find new products for their shelves, and was launched by Simon Coyle in September after ­spotting a gap in the market.

It operates a “freemium” business model, with basic features free for suppliers and retailers with a subscription service available to brands providing sales analytics, product engagement statistics, trends and other rich-data analytics.

Coyle said: “After running my own companies for nearly 20 years, I have first-hand experience of how difficult it can be for emerging brands to get their products in front of retail buyers.

“From the retailers’ point of view, they may have lots of ­customer-facing modern technologies in their stores – such as automated checkouts or digital ads – but Product Guru is the first technology platform to shake up their back-office product discovery operations and make it easier for them to discover the latest trends and find exciting new products for their customers.

“Buyers are pushed for time, so Product Guru makes it quicker, easier and – ultimately – cheaper for them to connect with potential suppliers.”

Coyle added that the £300,000 investment will enable further development of the platform for buyers and suppliers with analytics and intelligent recommendations, while marketing its services to a much wider audience.

Patricia Poon, managing partner and founder of Belmond Capital, and a former head of retailer at WH Smith’s business in Asia, said: “Product Guru is solving problems on both sides of the fence – it allows both local and international emerging brands to get their products in front of buyers and it allows retailers to stay on trend and choose from a wide selection of options cost effectively at the click of a button. Product Guru’s intelligent platform digitises retailers’ product discovery workflows, and greatly improves the productivity of retail buyers.

“Belmond Capital invests in companies that are disrupting their markets, across retail, financial services, communications and industrial sectors.

“Product Guru fits perfectly into our portfolio and I’m looking forward to working with Simon to add more intelligent functionalities, and to scale the platform both in the UK and internationally.”

Paul Cross at Scottish Enterprise said backing such firms was key to the organisation’s mission. He said: “What’s most exciting about Product Guru is that it helps brands and distributors get their products under the noses of influential buyers.

“Simon is not only growing his own business, but is also helping other emerging brands and smaller companies – in Scotland and elsewhere – to grow as well.

“Technology has revolutionised so many parts of our working lives, and it looks like Product Guru is now set to change the way that buyers and suppliers do business.”