Zappstore London

The strategy chief for rapid grocer Zapp has launched a new communications business, and taken the brand’s comms team with him. 

Ex-TechCrunch journalist and Zapp’s SVP of strategy, Steve O’Hear, has co-founded O’Hear & Co (OHC) with Rachael Brown, who was senior communications manager at the quick commerce player.

“Alongside founding this new venture together with Rachael, who is an amazing and proven comms operator, I remain SVP of strategy at Zapp and an integral part of the leadership team,” O’Hear said.

“Zapp continues to go from strength to strength as London’s leading 24/7 premium convenience service and I’m as bullish as ever on the company’s future, which, in addition to my continuing at Zapp individually, is also why we’re delighted to have Zapp as a long-term anchor client for OHC and Zapp’s co-founder on our board,” he added.

The Grocer understands that as part of his role as SVP at Zapp, O’Hear will continue to earn share options at the company.

While O’Hear will continue in his role at the rapid grocer, Brown and three other former Zapp communications team members now at OHC will not.

Zapp will be a debut client of the new company, along with gen Z-focused fintech Cleo, and seed-stage venture capital firm Hoxton Ventures, an early backer of Deliveroo.

“As SVP of strategy at Zapp, a company that scaled faster than any I reported on in my 15 years as a journalist, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the know-how and backing to build an incredibly effective in-house comms team,” said O’Hear. “However, for most fast-growing companies it can be challenging to do so. 

“Instead, scale-ups are left solely relying on traditional PR agencies that lack startup experience and are too far removed from the industries they serve. At OHC, we aim to bridge that gap with our ‘outside-in’ approach to strategic communications and a team that has seen and done it many times before,” he added.

Depending on client company’s stage and sector, OHC will operate on a paid monthly retainer or advice for equity basis, “ensuring that it is aligned at all times as a true partner to the clients it supports”.

“OHC will advise on strategic positioning, corporate communications, internal communications, comms talent acquisition and development, restructuring comms, and crisis prevention,” the company said.

OHC said it planned to double its headcount within the next 18 months and was currently hiring for junior, mid-level and senior comms roles.