Cashierless checkout startup Standard Cognition announced today that it has raised a $150 million Series C round of funding. The round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from existing investors CRV, EQT Ventures and TI Platform Management, along with new investors SK Networks and others. This brings the total amount of funding raised by Standard to $236 million.
Standard Cognition creates cashierless checkout experiences for retailers using a system of cameras, computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI). Once installed and integrated with a payment system, customers can walk in, grab what they want, and leave without needing to scan items or wait in a checkout line.
This round of funding is far and away the largest we’ve seen for a cashierless checkout startup. Similar startups that retrofit stores with cameras and AI include Grabango ($32 million), Trigo ($89 million), and Zippin ($12 million). Also worth mentioning is Accel Robotics, which raised $30 million from SoftBank the company, not SoftBank Vision Fund.
In its press announcement, Standard said this new funding will help the company scale up its solution. Standard said it has already been working with customers including Alimentation Couche-Tard, Inc. (parent company of global convenience store brand “Circle K”) and Compass Group. Standard said it will outfit “hundreds” of checkout-free stores this year and has a goal of more than 50,000 stores over the next five years.
It is an understatement to say that it’s been a busy year so far for cashierless checkout. Just today, cashierless startup AiFi announced a partnership with Dutch convenience store chain Wundermart that includes plans to open up 1,000 checkout-free stores. Previously, New Zealand-based IMAGR partnered with Japanese retailer H2O, Berlin-based Nomitri came out of stealth, and Zippin launched a checkout-free store in a hotel in Japan.
A big reason for all this activity (and investment) is the ongoing global pandemic. Retailers are looking for ways to alter the shopping experience in a COVID world, which includes reducing the amount of human-to-human interaction the happen at the store. Removing the cashier removes one vector of transmission, and removing the checkout line altogether means that fewer people congregate inside a store.
In other words, expect to see more cashierless checkout announcements (and investments) in the coming months.