Accel Robotics, a San Diego-based startup that creates cashierless checkout technology, announced yesterday that it has raised a $30 million Series A round of funding led by SoftBank. This brings the total amount raised by the company to $37 million.
Accel is among a host of companies looking to create so-called frictionless shopping experiences, where shoppers enter a store, grab what they want and then exit, getting charged automatically for what they take.
We don’t know much about Accel’s technology or how it differentiates from others in the space. According to the funding press announcement, Accel uses a camera-based system along with AI to determine what people pick up (and put back). So it sounds more like Trigo and Grabango than Zippin, or even Amazon Go, both of which augment computer vision with shelf sensors.
Accel says that its technology is already being used by grocery stores, restaurants, and convenience stores in both Japan and North America. Unlike other companies in this cashierless cohort, however, Accel isn’t publicly naming those partners.
This year has been a transformational one for cashierless startups as many have announced many of their clientele: Trigo is working with Shufersal and Tesco, Grabango with Giant Eagle, Zippin with Lojas Americanas and Caper with Sobeys.
To be sure, competition is fierce in this space. Even Amazon, which kicked off the whole cashierless craze, is reportedly in talks to license out its technology to third parties, which could alter the competitive landscape even further. But there are a lot of grocery and convenience stores around the world, so there is plenty of opportunity to go around.
Accel says that it plans to use its new funding to expand worldwide by “growing operations, increasing manufacturing capacity, and streamlining its expanding deployment pipeline.”