Dutch martech startup Embrosa bags 450K to encourage consumers to shop locally



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Netherlands-based Embrosa, a company that enables (global) brands to publish hyper-local social ads around brick-and-mortar stores that sell their brand, announced on Monday, May 8, that it has secured €450K in a Seed round of funding.

The Dutch startup says it will use the funds to further develop its technical platform and scale up the sales and marketing teams.

Investors in this round

The lead investor was the LIOF investment fund, which is responsible for regional development in the Dutch province of Limburg. Along with them were five Angels and the Limburg Technology Investment Fund (LTIF).

L-R: Melanie van Norden (CEO), Ralf Hendriks (Investment Manager LIOF), Ralph Hunnekens (Investment Manager LIOF), Rogier van den Berg (CTO) | Image credit: Embrosa

Ralf Hendriks, investment manager at LIOF investment fund, says, “What we find extremely appealing is Embrosa’s mission to save the high street. After all, it’s the local entrepreneurs who sponsor the football club, hockey club, and rotary. Local entrepreneurs are the foundation of every community, and if we are not careful, we will lose them due to our own online shopping behavior.”

“Consumers want to shop locally, but they need to know what is for sale. Embrosa brings the shops in the high street digitally up-to-speed in the field of marketing, by working closely together with their suppliers: the brands.”

Fostering the growth of local businesses

According to Embrosa, independent store owners miss out on clients, sales, and money as they are not engaged on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

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The companies whose products are distributed through these outlets are also aware of the issue and desire to help businesses in interacting with customers on social media.

Simply put, the suppliers pay to improve local merchants’ online visibility and footfall traffic at their physical locations. And this is where Embrosa looks to make a difference.

Founded in 2016 by Rogier van den Berg and Melanie Van Norden, Embrosa’s software allows businesses to post social media adverts in, for instance, 10 different languages, 13 different countries, and hyper-locally focused around 300+ stores.

All ads are hyper-locally tailored in terms of the language used, the content, and the images. Additionally, each ad is aimed towards the precise local audience who should view it. Through online marketing, Embrosa encourages customers to support local businesses. 

Currently, the company operates globally in the food, beverage, and optical industries and has plans for expansion into further industries and nations.

“A smart marketing machine”

Rogier van den Berg, says, “Embrosa’s software is, in fact, a smart marketing machine that is, among others, connected to Facebook and Instagram. From our Embrosa library, which is filled by brands, our machine automatically publishes advertisements on many different platforms for each individual retailer.”

“Each store gets its own advertisement, with its own photo and name, and the targeting is tailored to the local customers. We also take care of translations, so an international brand, when using Embrosa, can publish hyper-local personalised advertisements for hundreds of independent stores that are located throughout Europe.”

Embrosa is currently doing this for wine brands, whisky brands, and optical/eyewear brands.

Co-founder Melanie van Norden explains the ads strategy through an example of a kids’ eyewear brand Milo & Me. She says, “Milo & Me is a children’s eyewear brand, and this brand is sold in hundreds of optical stores in Europe. These kids’ glasses are still mainly sold in-store, by the trusted local optician.”

“Kids’ eyewear is not sold through webshops. It, therefore, makes no sense for the Milo & Me brand to set up an international advertising campaign, because the potential buyers of this children’s eyewear brand live or work within a radius of 15 KMs around each and every store.”

“Moreover, the buyers are mainly parents with children. So you just want to publish ads hyper-locally in a radius around every store that sells Milo & Me and show these Milo & Me ads to young parents.”

“And you do want to highlight the independent optician in the ads too. Because it is precisely his or her advice that we, as end consumers, trust the most. We have automated this process of personalisation and hyper-local publishing.”


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Vishal Singh

Vishal Singh is a News Reporter and Social Media Marketing Lead at Silicon Canals. He covers developments in the European startup ecosystem and oversees the publication's social media presence. Before joining Silicon Canals, Vishal gained experience at the Indian digital media outlet Inc42, contributing to its growth with insightful content. Despite being a college dropout, his passion for writing has driven his career in journalism.

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