Praetura Ventures has led a £1.5m investment into Manchester tech company Sticky.

Sticky customers use creative branded stickers – known as ‘stickies’ – which house NFC based technology.

The no-code low-code self service platform is already used and trusted by large customers in the leisure sector.

The stickies can be placed anywhere within customer sites, stores, the home and other physical spaces to increase efficiency and let customers get things done quickly.

The company’s operating system lets their customers create ‘flows’ – solutions to problems in physical spaces – in minutes, including taking a payment with one simple tap of a phone. Every flow takes a consumer 10 seconds or less.

Sticky won the Northern Star Innovation Award at April’s 2023 Northern Tech Awards in Edinburgh.

Sticky has already generated more than one million consumer ‘taps’.

Technology entrepreneurs James Garner and Priscilla Israel are the co-founders of Sticky.

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Priscilla Israel says: “Sticky offers a no-code low-code solution that helps businesses innovate at speed. We help our customers see their physical space as an asset and as a way to make more money. The future of physical spaces is well debated but at Sticky there is no debate about their future or value – they are where we all live and work.

“Tapping a sticky is as easy as a contactless payment so there is no need to open a camera, have high connectivity or enter any data, things which cause friction for businesses when relying on QR codes, apps and card machines.

“With one tap of a sticky an interaction or payment is complete in less than 10 seconds. By applying this technology to their payments stack or replacing it entirely, our customers can turn anything into a point of sale, increasing revenue, speed of service and customer satisfaction.”

The fundraise was led by Praetura Ventures with backing from Cornerstone VC and follow on funding from SFC Capital as well as new angel investors.

It will enable Sticky to become the de facto solution for leisure and retail businesses, helping them increase revenue across their physical locations without increasing spend – something that’s vital to the future of both sectors after several challenging years of trading.

Sticky will also use the investment to continue to build its strong partner ecosystem which has already given the company customers in charity, fitness, access to work and live events.

Sticky’s solution bridges the current online-offline divide and makes physical spaces engaging and profitable.

Sticky is used to up-sell and cross-sell without the friction associated with conventional in-store technology.

Using stickies a shop could be shut and still take a payment through the window, redefining the commercial possibilities of window shopping.

Every sticky is also unique, meaning businesses can track performance and return on investment more accurately and consumers never have to choose a location, store, table or collection point.

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James Garner added: “Just like online, there are no geographical limits to Sticky and consumers can even choose their language meaning everywhere they go their experience on Sticky is localised. All without an app or sign up. It’s a kind of magic and universal communication; as easy as a hello or a smile.

“Every sticky is environmentally-friendly and designed to last for 10 years, replacing a significant amount of hardware that is expensive and goes out-of-date. Our seed funding will help us reach more leisure and retail businesses and help the world build software for physical spaces 10x quicker than before. We won’t stop until every interaction in a physical space can be 10 seconds or less.”

David Foreman, managing partner at Praetura Ventures which has led the funding round, said: “Sticky has taken a visionary approach to the problem of unused retail space and online engagement in offline environments, and that is what attracted us to invest in the business.

“Given the growing tech expertise we have at Praetura, including our operational partners and Praetura Ventures partner Andy Barrow, who was the former CTO at cloud giant ANS, we are looking forward to joining Sticky’s growth journey and playing our part in helping the company scale and break into new industries and verticals.”