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Haru - e-commerce for charities made easy

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by Startacus Admin

haru screen

The lowdown on Haru, the Belfast-based startup that is on a mission to help charities and sustainable brands sell online

6093d5673e6f0a25e82acc05_noun_Box_1082720Charity shops are great places for people to get good quality second-hand products and support a charity at the same time. They are good places to take things that you no longer want or need, but are in too good condition to throw away, reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfills. 

The problem is that most charity shops don’t have the ability, the money, or perhaps the knowledge to create an online presence for people to be able to purchase online when they can’t go in person. 

But this is a fairly big undertaking for any small business. Most will use drop-shipping to sell to online customers, meaning that their wholesalers send the product directly to the customer, because selling the physical products in their shop means a lot of extra work packing and mailing, but this option is obviously not open to charity shops. So perhaps there is an easier way for a charity shop to gain an online presence.

5fea58f2d586270bd1887778_Phone Mock UpBelfast-based e-commerce startup Haru thinks so. We first wrote about Haru in 2019, when they were the winner of the Ulster University Students’ Union Shark Tank competition, where they won £2,500 in start-up capital and a fully-funded trip to attend the Start-Up World Cup Grand Final. 

The startup allows charity shops and sustainable brands to reach customers that they otherwise could not, all without the shop itself doing very much at all. Haru will pick up the products, process them, list them on a variety of shop fronts, store them, market them, and deliver them once they are purchased. Much of what a charity shop sells is severely underpriced, because it relies often on the guesswork of whoever is putting on the price tag, and so the app also helps to ensure that products are listed at a reasonable price.

In June, Haru announced that they had raised £450,000 in funding from Invest Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 Equity Investment Fund - part of the Access to Finance initiative to support pandemic recovery - and Co Fund NI and Halo Business Angel Network’s Ulster network.

With an annual revenue of £1.2 billion in the UK and Ireland alone, only 1.5% of which comes from online sales, the charity retail sector stands to gain enormously from a startup like Haru.


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Published on: 13th July 2021

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