Shopic, and Israel-based startup that creates cashierless checkout solutions for medium to large grocery stores, announced today that it has raised a $7.6 million Series A round of funding. The round was led by IBI Tech Fund, with participation from existing investor Entrée Capital, and brings the company’s total funding so far to $11 million.
Cashierless checkout systems use computer vision, shelf sensors and artificial intelligence to allow shoppers to walk in to a store, grab what they want and leave, getting charged automatically as they exit.
We weren’t familiar with Shopic before the company emailed us their announcement this morning. Based on Shopic’s website, it appears that unlike other cashierless checkout startups, Shopic’s system does not rely on retrofitting a store with banks of computer vision cameras to monitor what shoppers purchase. Instead, it looks like Shopic uses a shopper’s mobile phone, which they use to scan items as they shop, and there is a component that monitors the shopping cart itself to ensure that there is no shoplifting.
Shopic also allows stores to communicate back to the customer as they shop. So, based on what someone is buying, the store could offer enhanced product information or push customized sales and promotions in real time. Shopic also says its system can also help stores optimize shelf stocking and in-store behavior.
With its fresh round of capital, Shopic says that it will expand deployments of is platform to existing and new customers across Europe and North America, though it will be facing plenty of competition.
Amazon is big pioneer of cashierless checkout with its Go and Go Grocery stores. A host of startups also offer solutions to supermarkets around the world. Trigo, Grabango and Zippin all use Amazon-like systems of cameras and computer vision to keep track of what people are buying. But Shopic seems to be more of a blend between the mobile phone aspect of Swiftly and the cart monitoring of Caper.
Shopic’s fundraise has also come at a unique time. The COVID-19 global pandemic is re-shaping the grocery store experience as retailers attempt to reduce human-to-human contact. As such, preventative measures like facemasks are being worn by store employees and plexiglass shields are going up in front of cashiers.
But at some point, for the people who aren’t too scared to go into the grocery stores themselves, a contactless cashierless checkout might be the best option. You don’t have to interact with a cashier or touch a credit card terminal that potentially hundreds of other people have touched that day.
For sure, there are still questions around equity and jobs that go along with widescale adoption of cashierless checkout. But as the virus continues its rampage and even resurges in some areas, grocery retailers could accelerate more contactless options like cashierless checkout to keep shoppers and workers safe.
An earlier version of this story said Shopic had raised a total of $8.45 million, based on data in Crunchbase. Shopic got in touch with us and provided the accurate dollar figure.