Created by retail and systems experts Richard Hammond and Rocky Howard, Uncrowd is a cutting-edge platform that allows global retailers and brands to measure customer experience through innovative methods of data collection. It was recognised as one of Silicon Valley’s best retail tech start-ups at this year’s Plug and Play Fall Summit and has earnt a place on the Plug and Play accelerator programme.
Unlike traditional customer analytics, Uncrowd works by collecting objective data and observations to generate an unbiased view of how a company is performing against its competition, whilst detecting any key areas of improvement. The platform identifies why a customer chooses one company over another, providing businesses with deeper insights to allow them to make key decisions that will help them to increase their market share.
Co-founder Richard Hammond has over 30 years’ experience in the retail sector and is the author of Friction/reward: Be your Customer’s First Choice. This then became the framework for the Uncrowd business model, following a collaboration of ideas with fellow co-founder and friend of 21 years, Rocky Howard.
The company was named as Microsoft’s Global Start-Up Partner of the Year in 2020 and is currently working with a number of high-profile global brands in the UK and the US. The deal with Arete will enable Uncrowd to further develop the platform and help facilitate the expansion of the team.
“The traditional customer analytics industry has historically focussed on a two-dimensional understanding of the customer and their motivation, which is great, but there was a real gap in the market that needed to be filled in terms of what is going on elsewhere in the space.
“Uncrowd works by looking at the wider picture, using relative attractiveness to measure a retailer’s performance – because that is the key to developing your business. When you know your relative attractiveness versus your competitors, then you have the full 3D picture.
“We have chosen to partner with Arete because the team really understand what we are about as a business and they offer a real partnership when it comes to investment, which was a huge priority for us. We had a number of options, but with Arete we saw a genuine sharing of expertise and we respected them as bringers of extra value right from our first conversation. We’re looking forward to embarking on a long and successful relationship, leaning on Arete’s extensive knowledge of the tech and digital sectors to really help drive our business to its next stage of growth.”
The deal will see Liverpool headquartered Arete add to its growing portfolio of tech-led businesses and scale-ups, in a year that has seen the firm make a number of investments into companies such as Manchester-based Peak AI and global multi-channel tech business, Tactus Group.
“We're really excited to be partnering with Uncrowd. The business is already operating at a global level, which is down to the hard work and expertise of the senior management team which has come together to create a stand-out proposition.
“In just four years, Uncrowd has managed to achieve recognition from tech giants Microsoft and Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play, the largest early-stage accelerator platform in the world. These are huge achievements for a company so young, which makes this a fantastic opportunity for Arete. We're looking forward to working together with Richard, Rocky and the wider team to drive Uncrowd to the next level.”
The transaction was led by Ben Hatton and Jamie Newall at Arete. Matt Noon and Elan Iorwerth of Hill Dickinson (legal), David Crout and Jill-Marit Lerum Cornes of PMSI (commercial), Phil Cox of Iafeya (technical) also advised on the deal. Begin and Matrix Capital also invested as part of the round.