Caper, which makes smart shopping carts to facilitate cashierless checkout in grocery stores, announced today that it has raised a $10 million Series A round of funding. Lux Capital led the round with participation from existing investors First Round Capital, Y Combinator, Hardware Club, Sidekick Fund, FundersClub and New York-based grocery chain Red Apple. This brings the total amount of funding raised by Caper to $13.5 million.
Caper is unique among the cashierless checkout startups: instead of installing all kinds of high-tech cameras and sensors in ceilings and on shelves, all of that purchasing automation is moved to the grocery cart itself. The advantage for the retailer is that it doesn’t have to spend all that money retrofitting a store and can simply purchase new carts.
The version of the Caper cart currently deployed requires the user to scan an item’s barcode before placing in in the basket. As this promotional video shows, the next iteration of the Caper cart will use a combination of computer vision and sensors to automatically detect and keep track of what is being purchased. The Caper cart also has a built in touchscreen which will be able to recommend recipes, specials on products and even act as a GPS to help a shopper find an item in the store.
This has been a transformational year for the cashierless checkout space as startups have received more funding and come out of stealth with retail partnerships. Last month, Zippin announced an investment from Brazillian retailer Lojas Americanas and plans to automate a series of Ame Go convenience stores. In July, Grabango announced it was working with the Giant Eagle grocery chain here in the U.S. And Trigo Vision is working with Israeli chain Shufersal as well as reportedly powering Tesco cashierless checkout.
For its part, Caper says it has processed 10,000 transactions, and plans to deploy 1,000 Caper carts in the coming year.
Given all that news, look for 2020 to be a year where cashierless checkout goes from transformational to more mainstream.