Sensei, a Lisbon, Portugal-based cashierless checkout startup, announced today that it has raised a $6.5 million Seed round of funding. TechCrunch was first to report the news, writing that the round was led by Seaya Ventures and Iberis Capital, with participation from 200M Fund.
Sensei’s approach to cashierless checkout retrofits existing stores with a combination of cameras, computer vision, AI and sensors to keep track of what shoppers pick out. Shoppers are then automatically charged upon leaving the store.
Sensei’s technology sounds similar to the way Zippin and Amazon handle cashierless checkout as all three use a combination of cameras and sensors. Other solutions on the market like Grabango rely solely on cameras, or Supersmart, which combines computer vision with a scale that weighs the cart at checkout.
Cashierless checkout has been on a tear so far in 2021. The sector has seen new players like Imagr and Nomitri emerge around the world, continued funding such as Standard Cognition’s $150 million fundraise, and big partnerships like the one between AiFi and Wundermart to build out 1,000 autonomous stores.
The big driving force behind all this activity is, of course, the pandemic, as cashierless checkout is a pretty good solution for these COVID times. With no cashiers, it reduces the amount of human-to-human interaction and potential vectors of viral transmission. No checkout lines means that customers are not congregating together as they wait to pay, and customers spend less time inside the store, keeping fewer people inside a store at any given time
Cashierless checkout can also be beneficial to retailers as it provides insight into how customers shop and move about the store, what they pick up (and put back), and real-time inventory management.
Europe in particular is turning into a hotbed of cashierless checkout. Sensei, AiFi, Nomitri, Imagr, Trigo and Supersmart are all operating on the continent. For its part, Sensei told TechCrunch that it will use the new funds to scale up its R&D and launch in new stores.
If you want to learn more about the future of autonomous checkout, be sure to attend ArticulATE, our food automation virtual summit on May 18th! We’ll have speakers from both Zippin and Nomitri talking about the state of industry and cashierless checkout technology. Get your ticket today!